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At the age of 33 and as one of the youngest Principals in New South Wales, Jihad Dib was appointed to lead Punchbowl Boys' High School; a school on the verge of closure due to falling enrolments, student violence and community disengagement.
Under his leadership, the school has made highly significant improvements in educational and social outcomes for students and the school community through a systematic and practical approach to school reform. As a result, the school has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including a Director-General's Award and many others, including a number of community engagement awards. The school's positive turnaround has also received public acknowledgement from former Prime Ministers Gillard and Rudd. In the past 8 years, Punchbowl Boys' High School has almost doubled in student numbers, improved educational outcomes and is considered one of the great educational innovators in the nation. In this time, the school has become synonymous with educational reform and an example of the positive impact a transformational school can have on a whole community.
At Punchbowl Boys', Jihad has opened the school for high level community involvement and has developed strong relationships with a range of organisations and government agencies to assist the students in becoming great citizens. The school is heavily involved in community work with a variety of groups in a cross sectorial engagement process. Jihad is regularly called upon to assist in the development of a range of community and government based initiatives in his capacity as an educational and organisational change expert.
Jihad is a high profile educational and community leader and regularly provides commentary on education, the youth and community issues in television, radio and the print media. He also talks of the power of a collective approach to any organisation's success in lectures and conference presentations.
As part of his wider roles within the community, Jihad is a past board member of the Together for Humanity Foundation as well as a being a former Commissioner on the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW. He has been featured in 'The Australian Journey- Muslim communities' publication and the nationally respected Griffith Review, recognised as the P&C NSW Secondary Principal of the Year and was heavily featured in the four part television series, 'Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl'.
Jihad's work in building more harmonious communities and building bridges has resulted in him trekking the Kokoda Track, The Sandakan Death March and The Black Cat Track with young leaders from various cultural and socially economic backgrounds to further develop their potential in becoming great leaders of the future.
In 2013, Jihad was awarded the NSW Pride of Australia Medal in the inspiration category. He has also been an Australia Day Ambassador since 2012 and was conferred an honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of NSW in June of this year. He is currently a board member of the Australia Day Council of NSW, the NSW Police Commissioner's Advisory Panel and the SBS Community Advisory Committee. Jihad was selected by the United States government to participate in the highly sought after International Visitors Leadership Program and in April of 2014, he received a standing ovation for his TEDx talk on school transformation.
Jihad is a prime example of the difference an individual can make when they believe in the purpose of their vocation and they lead with conviction.