THE STRONG sense of community among teachers and students has created quite the first impression on Queanbeyan High School's newest face, deputy principal Safija Bristina.
Ms Bristina believes it's this camaraderie that helps students to excel and it's an environment she hopes will continue to grow.
"My first impressions [of the school is] I can't believe my luck, I think this is a wonderful school with wonderful people," she said.
"There's a genuine sense of goodwill from staff and students that I've encountered. There are passionate teachers here and with that it creates opportunities for our students. I feel very privileged to be here."
Ms Bristina recently took over the deputy principal position following the retirement of long serving former deputy principal Peter Shellard.
She has moved from Sydney where she worked in a number of schools including Campbelltown Performing Arts School, Kogarah High School, Sydney Secondary College and Eagle Vale High School.
Ms Bristina said was very impressed by the success of many of the "dynamic and unique" programs at Queanbeyan High School.
In particular, the College 3 + 3 program where the HSC is spread across two years and the SRC leadership program where each and every student belongs to the organisation.
"There are schools around the state that look to Queanbeyan to observe the [College 3+3] program and to take that program into their school," she said.
"[With the SRC leadership] program there's a genuine sense of inclusion which is what public education is all about. They breed leadership in all students, leadership isn't about being a boss, it's leading by example."
Ms Bristina said the highlight of her job is providing the tools and groundwork for students to achieve success and not necessarily academic success.
"The one great leveler in life is education. It's the one thing that will make the difference to anybody's life," she said.
"What I think is superior about public education to any other system is that we are inclusive. We don't give up on anybody, we're determined to work with everybody and create that pathway that leads to success.
"If you created the right deposition, you've created this person that will persevere, be persistent to achieve their goals."