Educational leader Sarah shares her story
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > Educational leader Sarah Gardiner shares her career story from retail to ECEC

Educational leader Sarah Gardiner shares her career story from retail to ECEC

by Freya Lucas

April 25, 2023

Sarah Gardiner moved into the world of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in 2015 with an educational placement with Gowrie Victoria’s Clare Court service, moving on from 15 years of working in retail and being a successful professional musician. 


Sarah recently spoke out about her career trajectory in the hopes of inspiring others to make a change and to consider enriching their lives by working with children. 


For the first 15 years of her career, she said, she “couldn’t imagine a future where she would be working with children.” In 2013, however, she was working as a manager and buyer for an educational toy store, and realised how much she loved engaging with children. 


“I was getting very burnt out with everything I was doing and I knew I needed a change,” she said. “The funny thing is that I thought I was putting away that former part of me, but it turns out my work now is the perfect match, bringing all my skills together.”


She began at Clare Court as a diploma student on placement, before taking on a casual position and then moving into leadership support, before studying her Bachelor degree and working as an early childhood teacher. 


Her latest career move has been working as the educational leader, a position she began just this year. 


“It’s very much a many-hats kind of role,” she said of the educational leader position. “It involves coaching and mentoring all the staff and providing pedagogical support. But it really varies. It could be providing resources, on-the-fly problem solving, guiding frameworks, contributing to the Quality Improvement Plan, or collaborating on larger projects.”


As a teacher with a musical background, Sarah’s core passion involves music and movement-based pedagogy. 


“My leadership and management experience means I’m also focused on how I can get the best out of teams and lean into individual strengths,” she said. “Of course, I ‘m still learning what my passion may look like in this new role, which I’ve only been doing for six weeks.”


The variety of the role is something which keeps Sarah engaged. 


“Each day is different,” she said. 


“There are a lot of meetings with teachers and other services, and off-site training sessions. I try to spend as much time in the programs to see what is happening and how I can best support our teams. There are also some bigger projects I have in the pipeline. At the moment, I’m working on an audit of all the children’s literature at the service, weeding out some of the more dated texts and looking at what we need to add to our collection, as well as cataloguing all the books for a trial library interface. Like everything else, it’s a work in progress.”


For more information about the educational leader role please see here. Information about Gowrie Victoria Clare Court may be found on the website, here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button