Professionally, it was the most courageous move that I have made in over 30 years in teaching. In 2009, I left a very good school in Brisbane, where I was Deputy Principal, and where I felt I knew everyone and everyone knew me. I moved interstate to the ACT to another very good school as Principal, and where I was totally unknown. Given that I believe that relationships are at the heart of good Catholic schools and that effective leadership is built upon relationships across a school community this change was not without some anxiety.Learning a new school culture and schooling system, while also leading that school, was both challenging and immensely rewarding. I continue to benefit from what what I learnt about a different schooling system but also from what I experienced as being similar and common between students, schools, systems and states. I sense deeply that my leadership capacity has grown considerably from this experience.
Personally, these six years were tough. For complicated family reasons my wife and children remained in Brisbane. I also left behind a large and close network of family and friends. I was something of a FIFO - fly in and fly out principal, husband and father. I learnt that three weeks was my limit. I also remain grateful for regular school holidays, a trusted Deputy, upon whom I relied immensely, and an understanding wife. Looking back, as I did recently with my wife, our relationship was strengthened and deepened by this period of time.In 2015, I returned to Brisbane at St Joseph's Nudgee College. I remain profoundly appreciative of this interstate opportunity to have lead the St Edmund's College Canberra community and to have learnt invaluable lessons in life, in school leadership and within myself.
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