The death of an “inspirational” headteacher has left parents and students at several well-known Queensland private schools in mourning.
Maria Woods, who held the top job at three schools in Brisbane and Sunshine Coast between 2008 and 2023, recently died. Parents were notified this week.
Ms Woods was most recently principal of Hillbrook Anglican School in Enoggera, north-west of Brisbane, earning $15,660 a year, after taking on the role early last year.
She was principal of Cannon Hill Anglican College from 2008 to 2012 before moving to Sunshine Coast Grammar School from 2012 to 2019.
Nambour Christian College paid tribute to Ms Woods on Wednesday, saying the respected principal died after a battle with a “short illness”.
Maria Woods, who held the top job at three Queensland schools between 2008 and 2023, recently died. The school community was notified via email this week
“The NCC community stands together in support of the Sunshine Coast Grammar School community as it mourns the death of its former principal, Ms Maria Woods,” a statement on Facebook said.
“Ms Woods was a highly respected educational leader who made a major contribution to independent schooling on the Sunshine Coast and most recently served as principal of Hillbrook Anglican School in Brisbane.”
“Ms Woods passed away after a short illness. Our condolences and prayers go out to her family and many friends.”
Members of the school community paid tribute to Ms. Woods in the comments.
“She was an inspiring leader and a pleasure to work for.” She will be greatly missed. May she rest in peace in our Father’s embrace,” one woman wrote.
‘What a shock. She was such an inspiring person. “Greetings and thoughts to her family, friends and communities that knew her,” said another.
A third shared: “She will be missed and she was a great person and headteacher when she was there. “Our condolences go out to her children and the rest of the family at this very, very difficult time.”
Sunshine Coast Grammar School principal Anna Owen paid tribute to her predecessor’s “esteemed career” in an email sent to parents this week.
“Ms Woods has had a significant impact on the lives of so many young people throughout her distinguished career during her 10 years of service to Sunshine Coast Grammar School and the wider Sunshine Coast and Brisbane regions,” she said.
“We understand that it may be difficult to process this news and we want to reassure you that we are here to support each other during this time of grief.”
Ms Woods was most recently principal of Hillbrook Anglican School (pictured) in Enoggera, in Brisbane’s northwest, having taken on the role early last year
Ms Owen said staff, students and family members could seek support from psychologists and the school pastor and leadership team.
She confirmed that the school chapel would be open from 8am for those who would like to say a prayer or leave a message of support for the Woods family.
“This is an extremely difficult time for our Grammar family, but as I have said in the past, the hallmark of a community is not where it stands in good times, but where it stands in times of challenge and strife stands,” she continued in her email.
“We are a strong, caring community and will navigate this difficult time with prayer, support and love for one another.”
When Ms Woods accepted her role at Hillbrook Anglican School, she had said she and her family were looking forward to joining the close-knit community.
“A strong culture that values learning and places student well-being and development at the center of its mission is consistent with my professional and personal commitment to quality education,” she wrote in a statement in June 2021.
“I am thrilled to accept the opportunity to join Hillbrook and work with all members of an engaged and collaborative community.
“I acknowledge Geoff Newton’s leadership and thank Geoff for his support.” “My family and I look forward to being an active participant in the life of Hillbrook.”
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Hillbrook Anglican School for comment.