Kalamunda Christian School’s new Principal for 2023 is Mr Craig Hunter, a man who has spent as much of his life in Christian mission as he has in education. He may be known to some of you as a Rehoboth teacher, a member of Myaree’s Nations Church or as an on-air presenter for 98.5 Sonshine FM!
How did 98.5 Sonshine FM come about?
“I had joined a new church [Nations Church in Myaree] and I met Mike Crichton, who was the Business Manager for the church,” says Craig.
“He was from Adelaide, I am from Adelaide – so we went for coffee. We were talking about parenting and education and all manner of things. He told me he was about to join Sonshine FM as an on-air presenter and that he and I should continue our chats about life and schooling ‘on-air’ and he invited me to come in and chat and take some calls from listeners. That was eight years ago, and they keep inviting me in!”
“When it began, it was largely about education and the role that Christians can play in this part of family life. It is now focusing more on encouraging people because being a parent can be quite challenging. Text messages flood the radio station when a ‘hot-button’ issue arises. I do my best to answer from my experience as a teacher and from referencing current research around those areas that continue to crop up around NAPLAN, 21st-century learning and the role of parents in this new age of education.”
Craig was raised in Adelaide and spent many years working with Adelaide’s underprivileged and marginalized communities to spread the hope and love of Jesus. The resistance to the gospel message at times meant that Craig had to work harder, understand people’s situations more deeply and ultimately learn about the world around him to speak into a person’s life.
“Homeless people don’t go for clichés. There needs to be a genuine desire and the sense of a shared journey to see a positive change in their life.”
How does this help as you enter Kalamunda Christian School as the Principal where 80% of school families may not be church attendees?
“It excites me to be missional!”
“There is a desire from the world we are in to demonstrate love and encouragement in our Christian schools. There will be challenges in a missional environment, but I believe that most of our SCEA parents have enrolled their children in our schools to see the values of a Christian school and ask the question: what do these values look like?”
“We get the chance to influence them and show them the kindness of God. We don’t know how many of them will commit to Christ, but we do know that we can show them the love of God.”
Craig spent several years as a missionary in Pakistan and India with Operation Mobilisation (OM). He came back to work at Tyndale Christian School in Adelaide before moving to Perth and teaching at Rehoboth Christian College.
“At Rehoboth, I really enjoyed the opportunity of discipling kids for Christ. I understand that Kalamunda Christian School has a more missional outlook, and how we interact with families will also change in this context. My whole life has simply been about seeking to make a difference in people’s lives. I actually thought that this would be through pastoring a church, but instead, Christian education has given me another doorway to speak into the lives of young people.”
How would you describe yourself to the KCS staff?
“I’m a team player who listens and learns. I like to think of myself as an encourager. In the first six months of my time at KCS, it needs to be all about relationships, listening, and developing trust. I am very, very thankful to Dr Gregg Weaver for the foundation he has built over the past few years at KCS and I see him as a person I will be working closely with and learning from.”
Tell us about your family…
“I have a wonderful wife and five sons. My eldest son is 22 and studying drumming at WAAPA [West Australian Academy of Performing Arts], the next is studying teaching but joining the Australian Army for a period of time, my third son is in Year 12 and studying for his ATAR exams and finally, we have a set of twins who are completely different to one another. One is more of a thinker and the other loves to serve and play guitar – the variety is enjoyable, but it can sometimes be hectic in our house!”
Craig has completed a Master of Education and sees this postgraduate study as the door that opened up to him what leadership in a Christian school could look like. As part of the course, he met a figure that he respected on one school visit – Dr Gregg Weaver!
“When I studied at Alphacrucis University to complete my Masters, I was instructed to find a school to observe its methods and models – and that school was Kalamunda Christian School! I met Dr Gregg Weaver and thought – this is a wonderful man, and I’d love to work with him one day! Lo and behold, here I am a couple of years later! It’s just fantastic and hilarious at the same time..!”
The journey to applying for the position at Kalamunda Christian School was also quite something…
“Recently, I had reached a point of surrender in which I felt comfortable with the notion of serving exactly where I was at [Rehoboth]. A colleague came and spoke to me about applying for the position, and I gave it some thought and prayed about it. Then I drove across on the weekend to see the campus and coincidentally, a number of the school families were there for an event, and I met a parent who really took some time to talk to me about the school and encourage me. Then a SCEA teacher from one of the schools spoke to me briefly at an event and encouraged me to apply. I saw it as a bit of a Gideon’s fleece moment and so I took the plunge!”
“I’m excited for the new year and for what can be achieved through God at Kalamunda Christian School!”