Mrs Angela Toppin was Principal at Cairns State High School from 2011 to 2016 and was elected as Councillor of Mareeba Shire Council in March 2016. She is a transparent and honest lady who led by example, always presented well and had high expectations of both herself and others. Angela found it difficult to make the decision to resign from Cairns High however her passion for education continues to burn brightly in her current role as Councillor and she continues to be closely associated with the school.
Previous to Cairns State High she was a Business Teacher for 14 years at Mareeba State High School and was appointed Head of Department Business and Technology at Smithfield State High School in 1990. During this time she drove many innovations in Business Education. In 1993 she developed a regional plan for women aspiring to leadership for the Women in Management Project for the Peninsula Region. In 1994 she guided the way for VET in Schools as Deputy Principal at Mareeba State High School. Following this she acted as Principal for both Dimbulah P – 10 School and Atherton State High School before being appointed as Principal at Malanda State High School in 2000 and then at Mareeba State High School in 2003.
After 7 years as Principal for Mareeba State High School, she was the first female principal at Cairns State High and conducted herself as a mentor and inspiration to many young women. Mrs Toppin was appointed soon after the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) commenced. Cairns State High is the only school to offer this prestigious alternative senior school pathway in conjunction with the traditional curriculum and vocational opportunities.
During her tenure she focussed on continuing to develop the school’s reputable Centre of Excellence programs as well as learning with technology.
Angela Toppin’s well established and maintained community connections and role as Chair of the Business Liaison Association Inc. (BLA) were of high benefit to the regional Queensland state schools. The opportunities for Cairns State High students and teachers through the BLA events and activities each year are invaluable and offer engaging learning experiences. The BLA was founded by Angela back in 1993 and over 10,000 students from Tully to the Cape were involved in BLA programs throughout 2016.
Her deserved accolades are attributed to her dedication to education, business and community. In 1993 she was awarded the Business Women’s Club Corporate Woman of the Year and in 1995 The Paul Harris Fellow, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, for her work with the Business Liaison Association and Association of Women Educators. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious Leadership in Profession Award, and also made a Fellow of the Business Educators Association of Queensland. This year she also received a Rotary International Pride of Workmanship Award. In 2010 she was listed by The Cairns Post as one of the Most Influential Women in FNQ and in 2016 received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Queensland Secondary Principal’s Association.
Angela Toppin strives to make a difference in young people’s lives and continues to mentor young people for leadership roles. She is also very passionate about expanding opportunities for students in regional areas.