After nearly 20 years, the College farewelled Lindy Braithwaite

Posted 08 Dec, 2022

After nearly 20 years at Radford, Lindy Braithwaithe has farewelled the College.

Sharing the words by Lousie Wallace-Richards (Acting Deputy Principal Head of Secondary School). 

It is my honour to farewell Lindy Braithwaite this afternoon. I want to start the farewell tribute with a poem I think reflects Lindy’s career and leadership in the Secondary School over this past nearly 20 years. It is a poem you have probably heard of by Robert Frost and it is called “The Road Not Taken”.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

This poem talks about making choices, analysing and evaluating to make the best choice possible, taking a calculated, well researched risk, not taking the easy path and after making a choice of what to do, what path to go down, following that path with passion and believing in what you are doing. This is what Lindy has done as a leader at Radford. She led the Secondary School down the path of being and IB DP school, she led us to rethink how we report on learning through the Approaches to Learning and learning summaries and she enabled us all to finally be able to look at the data of our students’ learning so we can make sense of it and plan for how we can better support them in the classroom.

During her time at Radford from arriving in Term 2 2002 as a SoSE teacher, Lindy has held many leadership roles working backwards from now including Assistant Principal Curriculum, Dean of Senior Studies and IB DP Coordinator, Head of the SoSE Department, Admin Coordinator and Assistant Head of Humanities (History and SoSE). She had a stint from 2006 – 2008 in the Philippines and upon returning to Australia and Canberra, Radford was keen for her to come back to teaching at the College in 2009 because she was well known as a teacher who not only knew her Commerce, Economics, Legal Studies and Business Studies “stuff” but also knew how to engage the students in their learning by making the learning relevant to them.

During her time at Radford Lindy has engaged with students and their learning outside the classroom too, organising overseas trips such as to the US including New York City and Wall Street in 2017 and 2019, only to have her Peru planned student trip scuttled by COVID for 2020. Ali Steven recalled this comment about Lindy and the US trips:

My highlights with Lindy would be the two USA SOSE tours we took (2017 & 2019). Lindy was a fabulous travel companion (happily accommodating my requests for extra shopping time!), great company and a lot of fun. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to work with Lindy.

Lindy has always taken the road less travelled because of her strong desire to expand her own and our student’s horizons and to assist them gain personal and meaningful global experiences.

Lindy also has assisted with Language tours including the French and China overseas trips, has attended Gamilaraay trips and also led cocurricular activities including Young Achievers Australia, Equestrian and Mock Trial. Netball coaching has been a passion of Lindy’s as a coach of Radford teams and also as a player. Rachelle Hayward played with Lindy on the staff netball team and when asked for some memories of Lindy recalls how Lindy was in the team when they defeated the Radford Gold in Division 1 at Lyneham in 2009 or 2010. That must have been crushing to the Radford senior students to be defeated by some late 30 year olds!!

When I asked Lindy’s long standing colleagues in the SoSE Department about their remembrances of working with Lindy the themes that shone through were:

Excellent team member, generous with her time, expertise and resources

Well organised, supported by an anecdote from Suzanne Rentsch, former HoD of SoSE

It was so good to work with someone whom you can depend on to just get on with it. She was amazingly well organised which brings to mind little story that says it all). A SoSE teacher was putting together his Legal Studies Moderation Portfolios and I needed him to get clean copies of his assessment tasks.  He admitted that he didn’t have any copies, hard or electronic! I was a bit taken aback but he then proceeded to tell me the Lindy had them as he could rely on her to keep them safe as he was sure he’d misplace/lose them and he knew that Lindy would file them and if he ever needed them he could go to her to get them. And yes, Lindy had them filed and had electronic copies ready to hand over . As I said she was just so well organised that Scott used her as his “living filing cabinet”.

A strong leader with a willingness to support all staff to grow their skills and capacities, “exuding and abounding with ch’i, and that energy has translated to great progress and development of each individual subject comprising our SOSE Faculty.”

Calm and steady. Even in times of extreme stress she appears calm and positive. Advice has always been measured and encourages viewing an issue from various perspectives. Always seems to know how to handle a situation, in a measured and fair way.

When she puts her mind to something nothing can stop her!

 I will miss Lindy’s positivity, her team approach and respect for others and their views. She has been a pleasure to work with over the past 2 years as a member of the SS EX team and co leading with me of the Academic Executive. Heads of Department and all members of SS EX and SN EX will miss Lindy for all the reasons her faculty will. She is an exceptional leader, teacher and colleague.

Lindy has not made this decision to move to CGGS lightly. It has been another of those choosing the path carefully experiences for her again like in Frost’s poem. For most of us it is hard to leave Radford after so long here. Lindy like the person in the poem has chosen to take the road less travelled and we wish her well on her next journey. In the words of her longest standing colleague Boyd Gibson:

We have in the past secured some of Girls Grammar’s best and finest teachers. It is only right and befitting that we are repaying some of that debt by having Lindy move across to the Girls School.

Where are you now?