RETIRING: Ian Bielenberg and Rowena Arthur in 2012.
RETIRING: Ian Bielenberg and Rowena Arthur in 2012.

Long-time principal farewells classroom

WHEN he was young, long before becoming the Capricornia School of Distance Education principal, Ian Bielenberg struggled to read and write.

“I had some absolutely terrible teachers when I was at school,” he said.

“Schools were very violent places when I was there. And I was a poor student.”

But all it took to inspire him was a few passionate teachers.

“I had two or three teachers that stood out. They were my champions.

“They showed that you need to be kind to people; you need to be caring. So I decided in year 11 or 12 that I’d like to be a teacher.”

Mr Bielenberg began his career in Mt Isa in the 80s and worked at multiple Central Queensland schools. He was in the distance education field for 28 years, and principal at the Capricornia school for 11.

“I’ve done the bag drag across Central Queensland for 40 years,” Mr Bielenberg said.

“It was very family-oriented at Emerald. It really was a community. And the campus was just beautiful.

Principal Ian Bielenberg with house captains last year.
Principal Ian Bielenberg with house captains last year.

This year, after four decades in education, Mr Bielenberg is retiring. He said the decision was bittersweet.

“It was an absolute privilege to be able to work there. It never felt like work. Part of me will always be with the school.

“We had a happy school community and I did everything I possibly could to make it that way.

“Time will be my judge.”

The most valuable aspect of the school was the mutual support “built on trust and integrity” between the school and the parents, he said. It was contact with the students that Mr Bielenberg would miss the most, and he encouraged the school to uphold that philosophy.

“Never give up,” he said.

“Deliberately and intentionally collaborate. It’s the glue that holds the school community together. That’s what drives success and excellence.

“It takes a village to raise a child. Never give up.”

The much-loved educator expects to spend his future travelling.