Lisa Crampton, Principal of St Monica's Primary North Parramatat, with four stage one students.

Lisa Crampton from St Monica’s Primary North Parramatta.


Name: Lisa Crampton

Position: Principal at St Monica’s Catholic Primary in North Parramatta


What is a typical workday like for you?

It would be easy to spend each day in my office, but it’s the other parts of my day that give me the most joy. I love greeting students and parents, talking to students about their learning, and collaborating to plan and lead learning for teachers.


What first sparked your interest in teaching?

I always wanted to be a teacher. My education career started in a community-based preschool supporting young children with additional needs. I transitioned to primary education in the Diocese of Parramatta over 15 years ago and haven’t looked back.

I have been a principal since the beginning of 2020. It was an interesting start, with COVID-19 presenting challenges. The role combines my passions for making a positive difference and educational leadership.


What do you like most about the job?

I love the people – my colleagues, students, parents and the broader community. The sense of belonging and community is deeply satisfying.


What was the most unexpected thing you have had to do in your job?

Managing COVID-19 was certainly unexpected. I needed to change my expectations of the role and the type of leader I would be. I had to make rapid decisions in an ever-changing environment and find creative ways to make families feel welcomed and valued. More recently, the everyday unexpectedness continues to surprise me, including dressing up as Mr Potato Head for a dance challenge.


What is the worst thing you have had to do?

The hardest part of a principal’s job is when there is tragedy within the school community. As teachers, helping others is at our core, and when there is tragedy, we feel helpless.


What challenges have you faced during the pandemic?

We moved quickly to online learning, although it was a steep learning curve for some teachers and families. We provided families with devices and internet access when needed. The greatest challenge was keeping students and families who feel connected. We live-streamed assemblies, sports lessons and social gatherings, including discos and trivia games.


How transferable are your skills?

The skills are transferable to any industry requiring clear and effective communication, collaboration, problem-solving and vision for improvement. The ability to build and maintain respectful relationships with various stakeholders is transferable to all industries.


What advice do you have for people wanting to get into a leadership role like yours?

A leadership role in education is challenging and, at times, exhausting, but it is also incredibly rewarding and humbling. My advice is to be a learner, try new things, make mistakes, be aware of current research and theory and, most importantly, listen more than you talk.


What skills and personal skills do people need in teaching?

The most essential skill in teaching is enthusiasm. In the face of tremendous change, you need to be flexible and adaptable, patient and resilient. A great sense of humour and the ability to not take yourself too seriously also helps.

Written By

Sydney Morning Herald

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