Women of Warren Shire - Taryn Stephens

22 June 2023

Women of Warren Shire - Taryn Stephens - Post Image

A 13 year resident of Warren Shire, Taryn Stephens has been known to support local and surrounding communities, including fundraising for flood victims from Eugowra and Forbes.

Taryn’s career in education has seen her change the lives of students for the better, both in our Shire and internationally. As the Principal of St. Mary’s Parish School, she is a voice for local youth and a passionate advocate for quality rural education.

A selfless woman devoted to nurturing the next generation, we celebrate Taryn’s contributions as this month’s Woman of Warren Shire.


Quickfire questions…


A usual morning looks like…  

Stepping into a wacky Australian movie! Imagine sipping your coffee in front of a crackling fire while your boys give you snuggles that feel like a wild wrestling match. 

Then, it's a mad dash to pack school lunches and clean the house before we all fly out the door. It's a whirlwind of chaos that keeps me laughing and wondering what funny surprises await me each day.

I’m most proud of… 

My work at St. Mary's Parish School, which fills my heart with joy.

Working with the amazing children, families, and staff there feels like being part of one large close-knit and supportive family. Together, we create a nurturing atmosphere where laughter abounds, learning becomes an enriching journey, and friendships flourish. 

St. Mary's Parish School is where my professional and personal worlds intertwine, and I am grateful for the positive impact it has on both aspects of my life.

It sounds cliche, but I’m also filled with immense pride when I think of my wonderful family… two energetic country boys and my supportive husband. 

They bring a sense of adventure, warmth, and laughter to my life every day, whether it's exploring the great Macquarie River for fishing lures, engaging in playful mischief on a motorbike, or simply sharing moments around our firepit. 


On the weekend you can find me… 

Supporting my children from the sidelines during their footy games. I cheer them on with great gusto (probably to their embarrassment), along with their personal cheer squad of family and friends. 

After the games, we usually head to the river for a fishing expedition or ‘lure hunting’, as the boys like to put it. However, I must admit that I haven't had much luck in that department, as my fishing endeavours rarely yield any bites! 

Nonetheless, I enjoy the peaceful ambience of the river and the thrill of casting my line. I like to take it easy with my family in the evenings around a cosy campfire.  

I also often spend time at school on the weekends preparing for the upcoming week and making sure everything is in order for a successful week of teaching. 


A quote or piece of advice you live by… 

“Never see a need without doing something about it” by Mary MacKillop – I try to live by this. 

Or my other favourite, to quote a great friend, Shauna Brigden, “Give it two weeks!” 


How long have you lived in Warren Shire?

I’ve lived in Warren now for 13 years. I came out originally for nine months as an opportunity to further my teaching career, and as all good love stories start… along came a boy! 

13 years later, I can’t see us living anywhere else.


What is your favourite place in Warren Shire? 

My favourite place in Warren would be our place, “Carramar”. It’s right on the banks of the mighty Macquarie River, giving us ample space to do what we want and providing the quiet serenity to enjoy it all.


Some more about you…


What do you love most about Warren Shire? 

It sounds like a typical response, but my love of Warren Shire is all because of the people here.  

I love that everyone bands together in hard times, that there is such pastoral care for each other, and that there is a real sense of ‘it takes a village’ approach to raising children. 

As a community, we genuinely go out of our way to help others. What more could I ask for?


Can you tell us a bit about your journey, including some of your most significant achievements? 

I taught overseas in London and the US, which was a transformative experience that allowed me to embrace different educational systems and cultures.  

By immersing myself in these diverse environments, I gained valuable insights into various teaching methodologies, developed a global perspective, and enhanced my ability to adapt to different classroom settings. This international teaching experience enriched my professional journey and broadened my understanding of education. It also gave me the opportunity to travel broadly – something I still love to do! 

Throughout my career, I have held several other roles such as Assistant Principal, Religious Education Coordinator, and Principal. 

I am privileged and honoured to be able to do something I love each and every day. As Principal at St Mary’s Parish School, I am able to lead our school, set academic goals and manage resources while maintaining strong relationships with staff, students, parents, and the community. 


You were instrumental in the execution of the local Flood Relief Concert, which raised funds to support families from Eugowra and Forbes. Why do you think it’s so important to support other communities through times of hardship?  

Helping other communities during difficult times is crucial. When we lend a hand, we show kindness and care for others. It brings people closer and makes our society stronger. 

Moreover, our actions inspire others to help as well, creating a positive chain of support. By joining forces, we can make a real difference for everyone.


You’re also known for your role as the Principal of St Mary’s Parish School. What do you find most rewarding about facilitating a positive environment for children to learn and grow? 

I love the kids – it really is that simple! 

Everything I do runs through the filter of “Is this best for the children?”… if my answer is yes, we do it. Whether it’s about providing wellbeing support, a new initiative or curriculum, or just a fun day, if it ultimately benefits the children, we’re in. Their successes are our successes.

Mind you, working with staff who are quirky, funny, always on the lookout for opportunities, and have such dedication to our school and community is also a bonus. I work with my mates every day. 


As an advocate for quality rural education, what would you say are the unique benefits of going to school in the country? 

“You know Baxter, my dog? Well, you wouldn’t believe what Spirit did to him” or “Aunty Jess knows, ring her” and even “Guess how many goals I scored at Netball on Saturday!”… 

When we say we know your kids, we really do. 

We can usually tell you what you’re having for dinner that night, how your car broke down on the weekend, and even some naughty stories – don’t worry, we don’t repeat these! 

My favourite thing about rural education is that we all know each other, and through that knowledge, we’re able to make real connections with the children and their families to make a positive impact. 

We’re privileged in our roles as teachers to be able to inspire and guide people every day. What an honour that is. A big job, yes, but an honour.


What advice would you give to other women living in rural communities? 

Say yes! Take every opportunity given to you and see where it leads, because you usually get more out than what you put in.


To nominate a Warren Shire woman to be featured in this series, email media@warren.nsw.gov.au 


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