Everything’s connected - Principals Masterclass 2016



The annual Principals Masterclass, which is the key professional learning experience for principals and senior leaders from the education office, was held on 20 and 21 October at Rooty Hill RSL.

Executive Director Greg Whitby opened the two-day conference under the system theme for the year, ‘Everything’s Connected’.

‘Everything we do is connected,’ Greg said. ‘Especially as Catholic leaders we are connected and learning with, and from, each other.’

Greg shared a personal reflection on the key influences on him as an educational leader. He said the lessons he learned from past Principals, educational ‘giants’ such as Hedley Beare and the five Bishops he has worked with have shaped his own leadership:

  1. Money can’t buy a love of teaching
  2. Be open to serendipitous moments and opportunities
  3. Have passion and find purpose
  4. Intellectual rigour - be fearless and curious as a leader
  5. Mutual trust - be not afraid

‘Only when you get into the context can you truly understand the nature of leading; it’s the power of story,’ Greg said. ‘Things happen for a reason and you might not know why at the time but be open to take the leap.’

Throughout the Masterclass, participants attended presentations from three Principal speakers who shared their personal stories of leading and learning.

Steven Zipkes is the former Founding Principal of Manor New Technology High School and current Principal of Cedars-International Next Generation STEAM High School in Austin Texas. When approached in 2006 to lead a STEM school for students who were underperforming in Mathematics and Science, his first question was, ‘what’s STEM?’. He had to think creatively about how he would engage students over five to six years of Mathematics and Science study.

He noticed that in traditional classrooms, the students were ‘bored out of their minds’ and he knew that the time of the ‘sage on the stage’ imparting knowledge to students was over.

Developing an integrated curriculum and using a project-based learning model, Steven ensured that student were learning written and oral communication, collaboration and agency in every project.

‘There’s a big difference between doing projects and project based learning,’ Steven said. ‘It’s about learning throughout the entire process.’

‘You can now get a job at Google without a college degree because you can problem solve,’ Steven said. ‘A lot of people call 21st century skills ‘soft skills’, but they are essential skills for success.’

Anne Miles is the Principal of McAuley High School, an integrated Catholic high school in South Auckland, New Zealand, which received the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for educational excellence and the award for excellence in engaging the community.

Anne worked hard to build a sense of community amongst the students, teachers and parents at McAuley. Worried that parents didn’t feel comfortable coming into the school, she ran Adult English language classes and ensured that each parent was personally called and welcomed to the school.

Anne had high expectations for her staff and implemented inquiry-based professional learning groups and peer-to-peer appraisals, which meant that staff were more open about having conversations with each other about what worked and what didn’t in the classroom.

The most important challenge for Anne was to get students to own their knowledge, have pride in their achievement and live out the McAuley charism in their lives.

‘The most important thing for me is, have we developed the faith of our young people,’ Anne said. ‘Are they resilient? Can they go out into the world to make a difference as Catherine McAuley did?’

Greg Miller is the newly appointed founding Principal of St Luke’s Catholic College which will open in the Diocese of Parramatta next year commencing with Kindergarten to Year 6 at Marsden Park.

He said in his first principalship he learned from the feedback of his staff that leaders needed to focus on Principalship with a little ‘p’.

‘As a principal I asked myself am I too directional and gung ho? Am I focused enough on collaborative relationships,’ Greg said. ‘We all have gifts that we don’t see and some we don’t like but feedback is a gift to shape us as leaders.’

Greg said in leading St Luke’s he will need to take risks.

‘This is not an experiment, but we will need to look at best practice and use gut instinct to take the next step,’ he said.

Former Vice Captain of Gilroy Catholic College, Castle Hill Christopher Lee gave a powerful testimony of how his teacher, principal and faith helped him overcome grief and personal challenges.

‘What I learned about leadership I learned from my teacher and principal,’ Chris said. ‘It was when I starting saying yes to God that opportunities opened up.’

After finishing Year 12 Chris co-founded the Conviction Group to empower young men to make better decisions and change their perspective on health and wellbeing issues.

Former student and now teacher of Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, Baulkham Hills Jaymi Winters spoke about how a mission immersion experience to the Philippines and pilgrimage to World Youth Day shaped her faith and work as a teacher.

‘WYD wasn’t a temporary high for me,’ Jaymi said. ‘Coming back I could still share my memories and experiences of WYD in my classroom, home and in my relationships.’

At the end of the second day, Executive Director Greg Whitby and guest presenters Steven Zipkes, Anne Miles and Greg Miller joined a panel discussion on school transformation.

The Principals Masterclass Dinner saw five principals farewelled with video tributes from their school communities and citation. Farewell and congratulations to:

  • Fran Jackson, St Joseph’s Primary, Kingswood
  • Brad Campbell, Emmaus Catholic College, Kemps Creek
  • Moya McGuiness, Sacred Heart Primary, Westmead (unable to attend)
  • Elizabeth Ricketts, St Aidan’s Primary, Rooty Hill (unable to attend)
  • Robyn Meddows, McCarthy Catholic College, Emu Plains (unable to attend)
2016 Principals Masterclass

View photos from the day to the right


Posted By Jenny Merryweather at 28/10/2016 3:16:18 PM

Featured Albums

2018-08-22 Showcase Day 2
71 Items
2018-08-21 Showcase Day 1
68 Items
2018-08-20 Showcase Dress Rehearsal
41 Items
2018 Dance for Drought
More than 800 people attended Chisholm Catholic Primary School’s “Dance for Drought” on Thursday night, raising around $4000 for farming families doing it tough in Western NSW.
17 Items
Annual CCD Mass 2018
It was a great celebration of this ministry when over 400 SREs from across the Diocese joined the 300 student SREs from Catholic schools for the Annual Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Mass and Awards Ceremony.
37 Items
An Education Hub
With a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the school will be an educational hub for the Science Park and integrate seamlessly with the life and work of the community. Through the use of shared facilities, business-educational partnerships and collaboration on real-world problems, this ‘thinking’ school will prepare students for the STEM-focused knowledge jobs of the future. Mentoring and internships will allow students to apply their learning to real life situations and pursue tertiary and post school opportunities within and beyond the Science Park.
26 Items
2016 Teacher Awards
On Thursday 27 October, 66 leaders and staff from Catholic schools and the education office were recognised for a collective 2570 years of service and 50 years of leadership at a special ceremony at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Staff Recognition Awards were presented by Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Rev Christopher de Souza EV and Executive Director Greg Whitby at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta.
145 Items
2016 Principals Masterclass
The annual Principals Masterclass, which is the key professional learning experience for principals and senior leaders from the education office, was held on 20 and 21 October at Rooty Hill RSL.
13 Items
2016 Bishop of Parramatta Award for Student Excellence
The annual Bishop of Parramatta Awards for Student Excellence which recognises the religious and academic achievement of Year 12 students across the Diocese of Parramatta, were presented at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 8 September 2016.
30 Items
2016 Ready, Set…. Read! St Agnes’ Reading Relay
On Thursday 1 September 2016, Year 7 students from St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill participated in the school’s annual Reading Relay.
81 Items
2016 Way of Mercy Cross and Relics
On Monday 8 August 2016, hundreds of students, parish members and Catholic Education staff from around the diocese gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, North Parramatta for the official Way of Mercy launch.
26 Items
2016 Called to lead the Way of Mercy
On Monday 8 August 2016, hundreds of students, parish members and Catholic Education staff from around the diocese gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, North Parramatta for the official Way of Mercy launch.
52 Items
Page 1 of 14
« First    < 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  ... 
>    Last » 
Page 1 of 14
1 2  ... 

Media Enquiries

Media enquiries can be emailed to mrix@parra.catholic.edu.au. Please include your contact details, including your phone number and the deadline for your story. Alternatively call Mark Rix on 0417 442 018.

Hidden UpdatePanel, which is used to help with saving state when minimizing, moving and closing docks. This way the docks state is saved faster (no need to update the docking zones).