Murat Dizdar was appointed Regional Director, South Western Sydney, Department of Education and Communities in March 2012.
He graduated the Dux of Fort Street High School in his HSC year and started a Bachelor of Economics/Law at the University of Sydney. However, when he realised that his desire to become a teacher was greater than his interest in the law he enrolled in a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Humanities) and graduated honours with majors in Economics and Geography.
Murat's career with the NSW Department of Education and Communities began as a secondary Social Sciences teacher at Ashcroft High School in 1997. Following promotion to Head Teacher, Social Sciences at Belmore Boys’ High School in 2001, he was merit-selected to the role of Priority Action Schools Deputy Principal in 2003. In 2005, he was appointed Principal of Punchbowl Boys’ High School and under his leadership a residualised school was rejuvenated and recognised with the 2007 Director-General`s School Achievement Award for school cultural change.
Following a period as Acting Senior Principal at Punchbowl and Belmore Boys’ High Schools in 2007 he was merit-selected to be Principal at Yuzyil Isil International High School in Istanbul, Turkey. His key roles included raising the profile of the International Baccalaureate as well as introducing the International General Certificate of School Education, Cambridge for the junior years. After two years, he returned to Australia as the successful candidate for the School Education Director, Granville in South-Western Sydney.
In his current role as Regional Director, he oversees a schooling region that is the largest in NSW in terms of student enrolment and comprises 276 primary, secondary and special schools located geographically between Concord through to Yanderra south of Sydney.
He is responsible for the education of more than 132,000 students and for the work of over 12,000 teachers and 3,000 support staff. This educational precinct has 64% of its students that have a background in a language other than English. In addition, the area has the highest number of refugee students in Australia and 26% of the State's enrolment of students with special needs.
Dizdar’s leadership is focused on the diversity of voices in the south-western region. He has been a key contributor to the development of vibrant, sustainable and inclusive school communities through his work, given the magnitude of complexities that this particular part of Sydney encounters.
1. When were you in ESW?
2. What degree/s did you complete?
Initially I commenced a Bachelor of Economics/Law degree which I left part completed at the end of 1992. I then commenced a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Humanities) degree with majors in Economics and Geography, which I successfully completed in 1996. Best move I ever made!
3. Was there something in particular that attracted you to this course of study?
After graduating Dux from Fort Street High School in 1990 I followed my head instead of my heart and started an undergraduate Economics/Law degree. I really wanted to be a teacher and I wondered if I could be as good as some of the outstanding teachers I had at Fort Street High School and Summer Hill Public School. I had teachers who gave me something to think about besides just homework – they challenged and extended my thinking and they were the masters of simplifying the complex. I wanted to see if I could have the same educational engagement impact on young people and loved the vibrancy of the school environment.
Living only a few minutes away in Housing Commission in Glebe with my parents made the University of Sydney the first preference for studying to be a teacher. I took what many considered the brave switch from Economics/Law to a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Humanities) in 1993 – my only regret is I wish I made the switch earlier!
4. In what way did you use your ESW degree?
I used my degree in Education to become a NSW Public Education teacher. My first appointment was as a Social Science teacher to Ashcroft High School. Ashcroft High School was a wonderful school which allowed me to grow as a teacher and provided me with great opportunity for leadership development. My Head Teacher and Senior Executive at the school were fantastic facilitators and developers of teachers and people. They were great mentors with high expectations which I have maintained as important traits that I try to pass on to others within my NSW public education career.
5. What's your current role?
I have the great honour, privilege and access to all areas right across 276 diverse and dedicated NSW public schools as Regional Director South Western Sydney. The region I lead has 132,000 students, 12,000 teaching staff, 3,000 support staff and the richness of cultural diversity afforded by 64% of the students coming from a non-English speaking background. We are known for our innovation, high performance, support and development of all staff at all levels, strong community partnerships and optimal educational attainment for students. Leading such a learning culture is a great responsibility that I thrive on.
6. How did your studies in the Faculty inform your current position?
I most enjoyed the practicum placements in schools within my studies. Being able to make mistakes and have successes however small in classes and to reflect on them grows you as a future teacher. I am of the opinion that practicum placements should be for longer durations and optimally as an undergraduate student you should have an ongoing association with a different school each year for the full length of the year in your studies. The immersion benefit that this offers is ideal I believe for future teachers as well as the exposure to different settings. Lectures and tutorials could be accessed from the school by the undergraduate students given the technology we now have in our schools.
7. Do you have fond memories of your time on campus at ESW?
I regret not being fully involved in university life and having to be mechanical between work and study to fit everything in. My fondest memories are of tutorials which allowed for discussion and debate as I was always passionate about the effective work of good teachers.
8. Were you involved in extra-curricular activities either within or outside the Faculty?
Working in a number of casual jobs throughout my studies did not leave much time to get involved in extra-curricular activities on campus. It was a combination of work and study with not much time for full university life involvement. I love sport and I wish I had taken up some of the opportunities for involvement in this area.
9. How significant is it to you to be part of the Faculty's alumni & friends group?
I am excited by the opportunity to give back to the growth and development that the Faculty offered me as a teacher and a person. It is also great to be formally reconnected with the faculty and the university.
10. And finally, any words of wisdom you'd like to pass on to the ESW alumni & friends?
Chase what you are committed to and want to be part of. Education is such a powerful leveler and the impact of outstanding teachers on young people – especially those who do not come from strong, healthy functioning families – is immeasurable. The intrinsic warmth and energy such an impact creates in a teacher cannot be replicated. Enjoy the excitement of teaching!
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