Community & Business

17 January, 2024

Principal hangs up his school hat

WHEN students flood through the gates of Malanda State High School on Monday, a well-known face will not be greeting them after former principal Gary Toshach announced his retirement last year.

Gary Toshach has retired after more than 40 years.
Gary Toshach has retired after more than 40 years.

For more than four decades, Mr Toshach has dedicated his life to helping grow the region's youngest minds, leaving behind a legacy of commitment and passion for learning.

Kickstarting his career in 1980 at Kingston State High School, south of Brisbane, Mr Toshach found his love for teaching while playing professional cricket. 

After moving around to several schools in the Brisbane area, he then moved to the Tablelands, where he started working at Atherton State High School – one of his favourite schools in his entire career. 

“I did 18 years at Atherton, and it was one of the best experiences I had ever had,” he said. 

“I did everything there, from starting out as a subject master to becoming a head of department, and then I went from that to eight years as an (acting deputy principal), which is what I was when I left.”

During his time at Atherton, the then-small country school saw significant growth, with the state-of-the-art multipurpose hall being built under his reign and many school sports trips overseas taking place. 

“I love cricket, and we held various cricket programs for kids, where we did tours to England and France, and we toured New Zealand on a number of occasions playing various sports.

“A lot of these students who are now heading into their 40s remember their trips to New Zealand and England.”

Mr Toshach has also had his fair share of time overseas, teaching in England for a portion of his career. 

Working at Brown Hill School, Mr Toshach taught four students with intellectual disabilities – a moment in his career that he believes was the most rewarding. 

“These kids were in special education and were often victims of abuse or prostitution and were delivered to the school daily by police,” he said. 

“A lot of them were homeless, and they had lunch programs at the school, so being a part of that was a very satisfying part of my career.”

Looking back on his long and successful career, Mr Toshach was proud of what he had achieved and was keen to see the next generation of educators come through. 

He believed young blood was what Malanda State High School needed to offer a fresh perspective in a field that he said was becoming harder to work in. 

“There are just brilliant teachers and leaders at Malanda and all schools and it’s not getting easier,” he said. 

“We have to make sure kids are coming to school, because life can’t be successful if they aren’t coming to school and that is becoming a big challenge for every school across Australia.”

In his retirement, Mr Toshach plans to travel Australia while continuing to coach at the Mareeba Cricket Club and through his own private coaching business. 


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