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Q&A with Education and Care Services Support Officer, former teacher and avid reader and traveller, Kerry Frances

Spotlight Q&A

Meet Kerry Frances from the Anglican Schools Commission and find out what projects she is currently working on, what person of faith she most admires, what book she gives away the most and why, her favourite childhood memory and her favourite place to travel

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Kerry Frances is a much-loved member of the Anglican Schools Commission team, based in Church House on the Cathedral Precinct. She is known and respected for her generous spirit, kindness, dedication and knowledge. She is a former secondary teacher who is passionate about serving the families and staff members of our Diocese’s Education and Care Services.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland and in what roles?

I was originally employed as an Executive Assistant five and a half years ago, but my role soon became dedicated to supporting our Anglican Education and Care Services or ECS (long day care centres, kindergartens, preschools and outside school hours care).

What is your current role and what does your role involve?

As Education and Care Services Support Officer, I provide support to and on behalf of the Approved Provider (the Diocese) in areas of compliance with legislation and quality improvement of our ECS to ensure quality care of children in the early years.

The Anglican School’s Commission’s Kerry Frances (Education and Care Services Support Officer) and Sharon Mehan (Education and Care Services Project Coordinator) in the Cathedral Precinct’s Darnell Room on a training day on 1 March 2021

What projects and activities are you currently working on?

Anglican ECS are the first experience many families have with the Anglican Church and I am currently working with Vanessa Gamack in the Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) to ensure inclusion of Anglican values and ethos in the early years’ syllabus in line with the Early Years Learning Framework national curriculum. Services currently including this in their practices have seen excellent engagement by children and greater interest and involvement of families, and we hope this will extend to the wider community.

What has been the highlight of your role so far?

The opportunity to work with Dr Kerry Howells from the University of Tasmania on a gratitude program, which involved educational leaders, was a wonderful experience. It was very gratifying to see and experience the positive effect this practice had on the participants in their daily work life.

What have been the key challenges of your role so far and how have you worked through these?

When I first started with the ASC, I knew nothing about early childhood, having been a secondary teacher. I had to hit the ground running and put strategies in place to quickly and effectively learn about relevant legislation and policies so I can best serve our children, services and the Diocesan community.

What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?

To continue laying the groundwork for a well-structured and well-supported group of services. Since commencing in this role, I have built strong relationships with the Directors and Coordinators of our services, and I plan to continue building rapport and trust in order to assist them to further develop and improve their services.

Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?

As a child I attended Sunday School at the local Methodist (now Uniting) Church. My mother was Methodist and attended church and my father was Church of England, although he didn’t pursue a faith journey. I think the lessons from Sunday School and then youth group helped me to consider the type of person I wanted to be and I have tried to live by those lessons throughout my life.

What is your favourite scripture and why?

I love ‘The Fruits of the Spirit’: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I only heard about these recently from Vanessa and they work so beautifully with the Early Years Learning Framework, so I am very excited to incorporate these into our future work.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

My mother was an amazing woman. She could cook anything, sew anything, knit and crochet beautifully, was active on school and sport committees, coordinated very successful fundraising activities, and most of all was a lovely and kind human being and an incredible mother. She only ever wanted to be a mother, and she was a cherished mother to myself and my brother and two sisters, teaching us very important values of love, respect and kindness.

“My mother was an amazing woman. She could cook anything, sew anything, knit and crochet beautifully, was active on school and sport committees, coordinated very successful fundraising activities, and most of all was a lovely and kind human being and an incredible mother” (Kerry and her mum, shortly before her mother passed away in 1992)

What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?

I think the primary strengths of the Anglican Church are inclusion and acceptance. These are values we teach and support in early childhood, which will help to make the world a much better and kinder place for all to live, regardless of religion, gender, sexual orientation, social status or cultural background.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?

A friend once told me never to react to anything straight away, but to take time to consider a response – that has been very good advice. I also love the wise phrase “This, too, shall pass”, which some traditions attribute to King Solomon.

What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?

I love to read a good book or go for a walk at the beach or in nature. I recently moved house and put a small bird bath in the front garden, and I love to watch all the local birds enjoying it!

What book have you given away most as a gift and why?

I recently gave a copy of Dark Emu to each of my siblings as we never received truthful, factual education about Australia’s colonial history and the history of our First Nations peoples in our schooling. I think it’s very important to understand the truth so we can understand how our country and our people have arrived at our current state, so we can start an authentic Reconciliation journey.

What’s your best childhood memory?

Playing in the awesome cubby house my dad built out of discarded pallets, and riding my pushbike (a cherry red dragster) around the neighbourhood with my friends to all hours of the day. I had a wonderfully happy childhood with lots of freedom.

“This is circa 1967, with me and my brother Tracy – before the cherry red dragster!”

If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

A glass of wine always helps at the end of a bad day! Seriously though, gratitude for all my blessings is something I try to do, and it reminds me how lucky I am.

What makes you nostalgic and why?

Sitting around a campfire. My parents owned some bush property in South Australia where my brother could ride his moto-cross bike, and we used to go there as a family and with our friends, sit around the campfire in the dark and quiet of the bush, and have a wonderful time yarning and enjoying each other’s company.

Where is your favourite place to travel to?

I fulfilled a life-long dream in 2017 to travel to Italy, and it was one thousand per cent better than I had ever expected. The history and culture were so different to our own – it was amazing, stunningly beautiful, and something I will never forget.

Kerry Frances in Vernazza (Cinque Terre), a village on Italy’s rugged Ligurian coast, in 2017

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