At our National Conference in July in Cairns, we will have the opportunity to present Awards to those who have achieved the significant milestone of 25 years or more as a CASPA principal. Steve Todd - currently principal of MacKillop Catholic College Wanervale - will be one of the recipients of this significant milestone. Steve has generously accepted the invitation to reflect on his time in leadership:
Firstly, can say thank you to CaSPA for recognising the 25 years that I have been a Catholic Secondary School Principal. It is a humbling feeling to write a reflection that spans a quarter of a century, as it has been about the many, many wonderful people with whom I have shared that journey with students, colleagues staff members, parents, family, friends, fellow Principals and Catholic School system people. In particular, I recognise and thank the people for whom I have been on the same page with for these past 25 years in celebrating why Catholic Schools exist.
I am not going to labour any points across the span of years talking about achievements and challenges but, more realistically, I would like to recognise the spirit of each of the schools that I have had the privilege of being connected with as their Principal.For close to ten years, I was invited to be Principal of St. Joseph's Central School, Oberon (1993-2002). As a Kinder to Yr 10 Catholic School of 300 students it was a wonderful opportunity and experience for discovering what was at the heart of an effective Catholic School. I would like to thank my wife Lyn and our three children Katie, Joshua and Daniel for relocating to a town where the weather and climate could best test your strength of character. A shout out to Narelle Cross who was an extremely hardworking Assistant Principal during my years at Oberon, to Fr Garry McKeown who encouraged and trusted in my leadership and for sharing with Lyn and I many good meals along with accompanying bottles of red wine. I learnt a great deal about building quality relationships of trust at Oberon and of the demands for having a snow policy.
The privilege in being called to Principalship was a powerful influence during my time as the eighth College Principal of MacKillop College, Bathurst (2003-2010). This is a Catholic Secondary School that honours its story and its people. MKC as it is known is an all girls Yrs 7 to 12 Catholic School with Boarders residing at St. Joseph's House, Perthville. A Catholic School with a Mercy and Josephite heritage that celebrates every year with galleries of photos adorning all the corridors of the College. It is a Catholic School with photos of every School Captain from 1967 onwards in a gallery corridor that beams of pride. I recall so many fine young women wearing the maroon blazers with badges of honour. They helped me further define my admiration and respect for why women have enormous capacities to lead and shape our community. A word in appreciation to Cathy Ashley, Gina Whelan, Vicki Evans and Robert Newton who have been unrelenting in their support of this school.So, to these last eight years of Principalship at MacKillop Catholic College, Warnervale on the NSW Upper Central Coast. A young Catholic School with over 1500 students from Kinder to Yr 12 that opened in 2003 and that has become a real light in a developing and challenging area. I now know what it means to be called to have a Josephite heart living out the Gospel in the spirit of Mary MacKillop. This is truly a Catholic School with a soul that sings of its motto 'Christ Our Light' and opens its arms out to all the families and young people of that area. I have discovered to have a Josephite heart is an enormous blessing and a gift to share with everyone we meet along the way. It is with gratitude that I thank all my Josephite family, the AJASS Schools of Australia and New Zealand, my colleagues Deb Ferguson, Mick Bowman, Janine Silver, Sr Marea and Fr John Hodgson who have shared this pilgrimage with me over these past 8 years.
So many good people in all these schools that I hold dearly in my heart. I especially thank my friend and mentor Dan White, now the Director of Schools in Sydney. His wisdom and guidance has never faltered.
Above all else, I thank my family Lyn my wife who grounds me in all things, my daughter Katie who has made it her job to make me look good as a Principal, my sons Joshua and Daniel whose love of life, good coffee and family gatherings has kept me only mildly mad.
Take care friends!
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