Heathdale flower 04th February 2021

2020 & Out of a Job

It’s not often that people write themselves out of a job for the good of their organisation, but that’s exactly the kind of person Heathdale’s new Deputy Principal of Primary at Werribee, Daniel Lee, is.

Heathdale flower

Daniel Lee had been teaching and leading at St. Andrews Christian College in Wantirna for over a decade when his Principal tapped him on the shoulder with a task. To have a look at the whole organisation and present a vision for the future.

After a thorough investigation, Daniel presented a number of models, but there was really only one he felt was best for the College – a restructure that would mean his role would no longer be required. Over the four and half years he’d been in leadership, Daniel had strategically extracted his role from day-to-day operations by empowering and developing his staff’s own leadership capabilities. They were poised and ready to thrive. Instead of forcing his way into a position, Daniel decided to look for another opportunity. After much prayerful consideration, he applied for Heathdale’s Deputy Principal of Primary role and found his way out West.


You wouldn’t guess it now, but at the start of his career Daniel never really wanted to be a teacher. Sure, he was completing a Bachelor of Education, but he didn’t really like it or have any vision of a future in teaching. In his fourth year at university, he thought about becoming a Youth Pastor, then nearly ended up working at ANZ but dropped out of the final round when he got a sense that’s not what God wanted him to pursue. His next thought was to become a librarian, but the recruiting agency burst that bubble: he was well under-qualified, seeing as he didn’t hold a Masters in Librarianship. On the phone the recruiter pitched another opportunity his way, “‘We have this other role for a Christian School’,” Daniel recalled. “‘We can see you’re a teacher, involved in Church, it’s a Primary role and you’re Primary-qualified.’ It was December in the year I was graduating so I said, ‘Yeh, whatever.’ I interviewed there and got the job.”

“It was a rocky start,” confessed Daniel. “It was by God’s providence that I ended up in education.”

His burden for young people started in the Youth Ministry at his church. The question of ‘How do you help young people reach their potential in God?’ spurred him onto a journey of how to become a good leader.

“When I started at St. Andrews I was still really unsure and was looking for opportunities to leave,” he explained. “Eventually it clicked that God had opened up this door for me, so I decided I was going to serve with energy, passion and enthusiasm, and I discovered how powerful Christian schooling can be. That was the turning point and I got a lot of opportunities in a short amount of time.”

Daniel has a passion to see staff members grow into their potential. “That’s what I love doing. Developing leaders. Along the way, I’ve learnt that to be a good leader you have to be flexible, have curiosity and develop momentum. If you lead with questions, you’ll understand other people, their context and the challenges they face.”


Daniel was proud of the team he’d built at St. Andrews and was happy to leave it in a healthy position. When he finished up in June 2020 – a tough year to leave any job — this time he was eager to see what God had next for him. “It was a pretty big step because I’m all about security and having something in place,” said Daniel about the timing. “However, I felt like it was the right thing for the organisation and the right thing for me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back into education. Speaking to other school leaders, I didn’t feel like there were other schools out there that matched my philosophy of leadership.

“What stood out to me the most about Heathdale was a bold purpose statement that can rally people: developing people’s God-given potential. That’s my passion, too, so I was already aligned with the College. The school is growing, and I feel like there’s opportunity for me to grow, serve and add value here, too.”

A Little Extra about our new Deputy Principal of Primary at Werribee

Daniel Lee has been married to Charlene — who serves as the PA to the Senior Pastor at Bright Church, Wantirna — for almost 10 years. They have two children — Zara (4) and Josiah (2). Other than his fascination with leadership and education, Daniel reckons he’s fairly boring. He has a love for reading, walking trails and spending time with his family. He’s let his love for basketball slide in recent years, but he’s not too old to pick it back up.