‘Farce’: Brisbane Boys’ College rocked by new scandal
In a fresh scandal to rock the beleaguered Brisbane Boys' College, the recruitment process to appoint its new principal has been slammed as "a farce".
The elite college's governing body, the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, has been accused of taking a "highly irregular approach" and letting a small number of rich and powerful old boys decide who will replace Paul Brown.
Leading Brisbane recruitment agencies say they have been blindsided by the appointment of a psychologist to publicly field applications for the top job.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Rebecca Williams set up her Raw Business Psychology venture, which touts itself as "specialists in recruitment, assessment, leadership development, facilitation and coaching", in March this year. According to her Linkedin profile, Ms Williams has spent most of her career in consultant psychologist roles.
Mr Brown quit as headmaster in February, amid claims by angry members of the BBC community that he was unfairly pressured by the PMSA following an alleged sexting and subsequent gang-bashing scandal involving Year 9 boys.
On March 6 the PMSA advertised for his replacement in newspapers, calling for applications to be sent to a gmail address belonging to Ms Williams' new company, which does not have a website.
The BBC role is the only vacancy it has listed on its books, and it is the only recruiter appointed to seek applicants for the job.
While no one has cast any doubt on Ms Williams' professional skills, BBC insiders are concerned the fact that no other recruiters have been appointed may be a "smokescreen" to allow influential alumni to lobby for Mr Brown's replacement behind the scenes.
"It's a farce," said one source.
"The PMSA is not (being) transparent about this."
A leading Brisbane recruiter said the city's best agencies had been overlooked in canvassing for the role.
"The PMSA is taking a highly irregular approach, that's the kindest way to put it," one CBD-based headhunter said.
"You have to wonder why they haven't cast the net wider."
On Monday, March 15, the PMSA and BBC council sent the school community a one-minute survey to go towards the recruitment process.
The survey, obtained by The Courier-Mail, asked them to rank from 1 to 5 the most important attributes for the role: academic qualifications; business skills; Christian faith; leadership persona; and prior principal experience.
Secondly, they were asked to tick their preferred title for the role: the "more traditional" headmaster/headmistress or "more gender-neutral" principal.
Participants then had to identify themselves as staff, parent, old collegian or other.
One BBC insider described the survey as "nonsense" and an attempt by the PMSA to appear "collaborative and progressive".
Defending the recruitment process, PMSA group CEO Sharon Callister said the PMSA "adopts a competency-based approach to procurement of all our advisers and has taken this same approach to recruit the next leader at Brisbane Boys' College".
"Our new governance and management model highly values transparency, collaboration and community engagement," Ms Callister said in a statement.
"This is reflected in our recruitment process where we are drawing on the expertise of our governance officers and executive and actively seeking feedback from our broader BBC community including parents, staff, and old collegians.
"As expected for such a high-profile school, we've had strong interest in the position.
"The selection process is in its early stages and we anticipate announcing the new leader of Brisbane Boys' College before Mr Brown's tenure concludes at the end of 2021."
The Courier-Mail also contacted Ms Williams for comment but did not receive a reply.
Brisbane Boys' College is one of the most prestigious schools in the state.
On the weekend, it won the coveted Head of the River GPS rowing title, making Mr Brown the only principal in the school's 119-year history to have presided over both rugby and rowing championships.
Under Mr Brown's leadership, the college's academic results have also improved.
Originally published as 'Farce': Brisbane Boys' College rocked by new scandal