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Case Study - 20 plus years as Principal - John Cortese

Posted on 24 July 2017
Case Study - 20 plus years as Principal - John Cortese

Aroound 4% of CaSPA Principals manage to be in the role for 20 years or more. We have invited them to reflect on their experience in this series.  John Cortese of Notre Dame Shepparton, provides this reflection:

1. What I love about my job!!!
I have been in teacher training, teaching and in leadership roles for the past 40 years.
I cannot think of doing any other role.
I certainly feel fortunate and privileged to have been involved in education for so long.
My feelings and reasons around being fortunate and privileged in my leadership roles are:

  • Fortunate to have staff who go above and beyond the call
  • Fortunate to have magnificent communities that support my schools
  • Fortunate to have staff committed to great schools and the benefits of longevity in teaching
  • Fortunate I had great friendships with staff
    • don't believe it when they say leadership is lonely
  • Privileged to have students who are highly talented young men and women with great personalities and character
  • Privileged to have parents in school communities who love the school
  • Privileged to work with outstanding educational leaders such as DPs and others in leadership roles
  • Privileged to work with and be supported by brilliant, innovative and professional leading teachers.
  • Privileged to work with outstanding, supportive and encouraging Principals and other leaders from neighbouring schools.
  • Privileged to be supported by co-operative College Boards and Presidents/Chairpersons.
  • Privileged to have many passionate, engaging, knowledgeable and loyal staff (both teaching and non-teaching)
  • Fortunate to employ many magnificent graduate teachers and then in a small way play a part in helping to develop them into great educators working in many schools across Vic and the world.
  • Privileged to have shared the developmental years of many amazing students and proud that when lucky enough to cross their paths they are happy to chat regarding their lives post school

The fondest memories of educators and leaders are around the success had in developing great men and women who fit wonderfully into our society.

2. My Philosophical Statement
I believe the children are our future...
I believe each and every child has the potential to bring something unique and special to the world. I will help children to develop their potential by believing in them as capable individuals.
Teach them well and let them lead the way...
Every classroom presents a unique community of learners that varies not only in abilities, but also in learning styles. To accomplish this goal, I will teach to the needs of each child so that all learners can feel capable and successful.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride...
My classroom will be a caring, safe, and equitable environment where each child can blossom and grow. In showing children how to become responsible for themselves as well as their own learning, I am giving them the tools to become successful in life, to believe in themselves, and to love themselves.
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...
Teaching is a lifelong learning process of learning about new philosophies and new strategies, learning from the parents and community, learning from colleagues, and especially learning from the children and their laughter. Because of this, I will never forget how to smile with the new, cherish the old, and laugh with the children.
I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.
For myself, teaching and leadership provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instil a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them.
I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children.
In our competitive society, it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs.
I always strive to be the best educator that I can be.
My personal goal for my future classroom is to challenge students and watch them grow to their full potential. 
I want to teach students in a way that has some straightforward instruction, but that also gives students room to grow and expand on their own.  At the beginning of the year, it is understandable for the teacher to lead class discussions, but towards the end of the year, students will pose their own questions and try to answer them independently.
As an educator and leader, it is important not only to help the students that you are teaching, but also give them direction to help others. 
As an educator and leader, it is critical to remember to enjoy students and everything they have to offer.  Sometimes it can be a struggle, but if something goes wrong, there is always a way to fix the problem. 
One of our goals is to use preventive and supportive behaviour strategies more than corrective.  This can be achieved by engaging lessons and clear expectations.

Tags: CaSPA Case Study

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