Brett Knowles has kicked the biggest goal of his education career.
Mr Knowles – who has worked in teaching for almost two decades, 12 of those at Blackfriars – will become the school’s Deputy Principal (Secondary) from January 1, 2022.
The former AFL footballer takes over from David Ruggiero, who steps up to the Principal position following the retirement of Simon Cobiac.
Mr Knowles, Blackfriars’ current Assistant Deputy Principal (Wellbeing), was looking forward to helping to shape the future of the school.
“Ultimately, the reason I do the job I do now and why I applied for the (Deputy Principal) job is the boys,” said Mr Knowles, who spent five seasons with St Kilda.
“Anything that we do, whether we’re a teacher or involved in the school in any way, it should come back to what’s in the best interest of the boys.
“And I really value working with good people, not just having a good job, so that contributed significantly to my enthusiasm to want to do this role.”
Mr Knowles’ path to a career in education started in his mid-20s.
“The first year I left school, I didn’t get into uni,” said Mr Knowles, who, with wife Reegan, has three children, Cooper, 13, Leni, 10, and Jude, 7.
“I probably didn’t have a great Year 12 year academically, partly because I was so into my sport.”
He got a job as a labourer at a power station while he played football and “worked out what to do next”.
“Right through my time in the AFL, I knew it wasn’t going to last forever so I was always looking at different things,” he said.
His decision to study teaching came when he was delisted from St Kilda and came to Adelaide to play with North Adelaide in the SANFL.
“I lived with my best mate and he was just finishing his teaching degree, so we talked a lot at home and I thought, ‘yeah, that’s what I want to get into’,” he said.
As a 24-year-old, he started studying an education degree at the University of Canberra, while he worked as a player/coach/junior co-ordinator with Ainslie Football Club.
He then taught in the ACT, before moving to Blackfriars in 2009, teaching Learning Enrichment, Maths, Science, Integrated Studies and Nutrition.
In 2011, he was named a Head of House and, from 2013, became the school’s Assistant Deputy Principal, Director of Student Wellbeing and Administration and Student Wellbeing Coordinator.