Mosman’s leading lady
Growing up, Susan Wyatt says she was privileged to attend what was the "go-to school" on the North Shore, Hunters Hill High School. Perhaps it was the recognition that a good public school would provide the academic and social start to life that would propel her along her chosen career path. That was to be a highly-successful career in education.
"Many of the school's students became politicians and leading solicitors and, in those days, independent schools did not have such a strong hold in the education area" Mrs Wyatt tells North Shore Living.
"Most of my friends also attended the school. I loved the teachers there - they really inspired us." Mrs Wyatt, who has been principal at Mosman High School for the past decade, says she's "humbled to be given the award within a vibrant and amazing community".
Mosman councillor Simon Menzies says Mosman Council was one of the first to introduce the Citizen of the Year Awards in 1980. Following on, the Department of Local Government developed the awards in the late 1990s and they were used to build on the community-based celebrations of Australia Day.
"The award is considered highly prestigious - the winners have made a significant contribution to our community over the long term and not just in the year where they have been a recipient," Cr Menzies says.
"I know Susan as both a community leader and a neighbour and her passion stretches from the school - it's students and families and Mosman as a whole. She prides herself on understanding not just the school community but the broader Mosman community.
"She is keen to learn what makes Mosman tick and, in turn, what makes her students tick. From day one, she was out talking to the community, in the parks, local shops and local playing fields," the mayor adds.
Mrs Wyatt says it's been "an incredible honour' to be named Citizen of the Year. "The local community is a very close one, with so many organisations supporting each other, including the active Rotary and Lions clubs, Mosman Council and the local youth centre. There are many groups who expand our knowledge and preserve our heritage, providing sporting and cultural experiences," she confirms.
Mosman mayor Peter Abelson says, under Mrs Wyatt's leadership, both Mosman High and the community have been encouraged to have a community and global outlook, with opportunities for international student exchanges in sport, music and the arts.
"I think we are truly fortunate to have such a dedicated person leading our largest high school" he says.
Mrs Wyatt says one of her continuing passions is to develop global partnerships and strengthen relationships in the arts and cultural areas.
"Education certainly occurs in the classroom but in many ways beyond the boundaries of the school.
"I hope my students leave with the confidence to pursue their passions, embrace opportunities, and have the courage to accept change," the principal tells North Shore Living.