Some might wonder what it was that drew Jeff Grundy to his new role as Head of Secondary School for Northshore: the opportunity to work in a school that has grown by 180 students in the last twelve months, the chance to work with Principal Stuart Chisholm as he darts from classroom to classroom fueled solely on adrenaline and caffeine, or simply an escape from Australia’s east coast where COVID restrictions still hamper everyday life almost a year since the first outbreak in Australia.
“A little bit of all of those, I guess!” says Jeff wryly as he takes in the new surroundings on the Shorehaven campus.
“But I would also like to think that there is something special happening here. Something bigger than just me.”
There is a quiet but unshakeable faith behind the eyes of Northshore’s newest staffer, and he is not afraid of following the Lord’s direction in his life – however remote or peculiar that location may seem at the time.
After initially starting his teaching career at Swan, Jeff moved with his wife to the remote Wangkatjungka community in WA’s Kimberley region for two years, then to Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek. In total, seven years in remote indigenous communities across the state prepared Jeff and his young family for any situation that might arise in life, including a random phone call from one of Australia’s most prestigious schools: Scot’s College in Sydney.
Former Swan Christian College Principal Dr Ian Lambert was now in charge at Scot’s, and he was keen to get Jeff to make another move – all the way to Sydney to assist Mike Pitman (now at Ellenbrook Christian College) with the Glengarry campus: an outdoor education, boarding facility for Scot’s students.
The change from WA’s 40-degree, red-dirt schools to Sydney’s cultured elite must have been a stark contrast, but Jeff maintains that some things are constant amongst teenagers from all walks of life:
“As parents, we make errors in many areas. Sometimes we don’t give enough, sometimes we give too much. Ironically, for young adults, the problems of too little or too much of anything can seem very similar – regardless of your background and upbringing.”
It seems that all of us have issues, whether we are rich or poor or anywhere in-between. The absence of parents for any reason can make life difficult in every environment.
Thankfully, Jeff can identify with young people who struggle to find their calling in life. It was in 1998 at a Franklin Graham rally at Perth’s Burswood Dome that Jeff made a lifelong commitment to a life with Jesus Christ. Although he was only 14 years old at the time, Jeff still remembers how big that decision was for him and how it shaped his life forever.
“I remember it so clearly. It was not easy to be so public with a decision like that, but I really felt it was the time to make a decision.”
Six years working at Glengarry has now led Jeff to Northshore, where his family has purchased a house north of Shorehaven (via a Zoom call!) and his family are acclimatizing to not wearing COVID masks and connecting with family and relatives in person after living away for so long. “I am thankful to have had some great experiences in schools, and I’m sure that Northshore will teach me a lot of things, just as Scot’s did and my remote teaching did. I’ve heard great things about SCEA and I’m keen to get started and help serve the community here in Shorehaven.”