22 April 2024

Cooktown bids farewell to beloved childcare manager

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Terry Parsons and child

Lady Gowrie Barrier Reef Child Centre manager Terry Parsons has farewelled children, parents and staff as she prepares to embark on a new career challenge. Photo: Supplied.

Beloved by children, parents and staff, the outgoing Lady Gowrie Barrier Reef Child Centre service manager was showered with balloons, cards and gratitude at last week’s afternoon tea in her honour.

After almost five years of caring for Cooktown families in the role, Terry Parsons will be moving on to follow a new education support job opportunity.

“Bittersweet is one word I can say,” Ms Parsons said.

“I’m excited, but I’m also really sad to be leaving my children and my families and staff.”

Ms Parsons fostered a supportive and loving environment with staff and families, all of whom were extremely sad to lose her as service manager.

“Terry has been absolutely amazing to work with; she really creates a sense of community and family at the centre,” colleague Sharon Willmann said.

“She’s been in Cooktown for a very long time, so she has a great connection with the community; they feel comfortable with her, and it’ll be a big loss for the centre.”

Ms Parsons has been in the childcare and education sector for over 14 years and said she cared about every child as if they were her own.

She previously worked at Cooktown State School and found her passion there for working with younger children.

“Being a part of the children’s journey, and watching them grow and learn is one of the highlights of this job,” Ms Parsons explained.

“Being in a small community, I’m still able to follow their journey and education.

“I think when you live in a metro town, you can’t always see them blossom and grow, but here, you often bump into them at the local shops and can catch up.”

Colleague and single mother Mel Goethals said Ms Parson’s leadership approach meant she had felt supported from her first day on the job.

“You don’t often find bosses that are understanding of a full-time working mother with a family to take care of as well,” she said.

“I’m sad and worried to see her go, because she’s been so great and it’ll be big shoes to fill, but I also wish her the best of luck with her next role.”

For staff member Laura Wilkes, who started her career in childcare at Lady Gowrie, said it was sad to see her first mentor go.

“Everything I’ve learned in childcare, I’ve learned from her,” she said.

“She showed me how to be a leader, and how to be kind and caring with everyone.

“She also basically taught me how to become a part of the community.”

Farewell afternoon tea group photo

The extended Lady Gowrie Barrier Reef Child Centre family gathered to celebrate and farewell outgoing service manager Terry Parsons at a morning tea last week. Photo: Supplied.

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