Closing the Education Gap, Providing Skills for Life
Mitchell Drage is passionate about his role as an aboriginal leader in education. A principal at Nullagine Remote Community School (which is largely aboriginal), he has been recognized by the state government for his contributions to education.
Drage is a veteran of the educational system, first becoming involved in indigenous education in the 1980s, when he attended the National Aboriginal Education Conference. At the time of the National Aboriginal Education Conference’s conception, there were only four Aboriginal teachers in all of Australia. The idea behind the conference was to increase the number of Aboriginal educators in classrooms to a more representative number.
After attending this conference, Drage became one of these educators.
Especially in schools with a majority of Aboriginal students in attendance, it is important for there to be representation in Aboriginal faculty members. It is important for young Aboriginal students to see others like them in positive professions and positions of authority.
Drage’s goal as principal is to encourage a positive school community where education is valued. He pushes his teachers in order to provide the best possible education for his students so that they can “compete equally with all other children across the country.” Drage’s efforts to combat indigenous disadvantage has so far captured the attention of the state government, who nominated him for a state education award.
However, to Mitchell Drage, the true reward is for his students to finish school equipped for life.
“I have to be personally convinced that I have set them on the road to do something better for themselves,” he said.