New Catholic Education leaders take up roles across the Archdiocese

Mary MacKillop College’s principal, Michael Lee with new Religious Education Coordinator Anna Smart

When the school year starts next week, new students won’t be the only ones feeling a little nervous.

Last week, nearly 50 new Catholic Education leaders were commissioned during a special Mass at St Christopher’s Cathedral.

New principals, assistant principals, and RE coordinators have taken up roles across the Archdiocese, including out west in Lake Cargelligo, Canberra, and in Crookwell.

Ryan Forsyth will take up the principal role at St Mary’s Primary School in Batlow, one of the smaller communities in the Archdiocese.

The school is nestled on the edge of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales and currently has 35 students on their books.

Relishing the new challenge, Mr Forsyth says he is “very passionate” about smaller communities and looks forward to connecting with the broader community of Batlow.

Ryan Forsyth will take up the principal role at St Mary’s Primary School in Batlow

Mr Forsyth said that receiving mentoring from other principals had been an essential part of his journey in taking up the new role.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from a couple of principals over the years. I know they’ve done such great things in terms of their investment and engagement with the community. So, it is very much about continuing that journey and ensuring that we, as a school, have a robust connection to the wider Batlow community through involvement in the parish and school activities.

Anna Smart will take up a new role as Religious Education Coordinator at Carroll College in Broulee.

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Having attended the school as a student, Ms Smart says her faith underpins her work and that she views her role as a vocation rather than just a job.

“I grew up a typical Catholic,” she said. “My dad would take us to Mass at St Bernanrd’s in Batemans Bay every Sunday. My faith has always been the basis for what I do and I am passionate about Christian values such as compassion, kindness and loving your neighbour.

“I really want to continue the work that has already been done in the school,” Ms Smart said.

“In particular, I want to get the students involved in more social justice outreach and to bring Catholic Social teachings to life as much as possible and wherever possible.”

Several long-term Catholic Educators, including Mary MacKillop College’s principal, Michael Lee, joined the new leaders at the commissioning mass.

Nearly 50 new Catholic Education leaders were commissioned during a special Mass at St Christopher’s Cathedral.

Mr Lee has been a principal for 24 years at four schools – three in this Archdiocese and one in Melbourne. When asked for advice for new principals, he encouraged them to “enjoy” and “learn” and to know that everyone wants them to succeed.

“Many people have confidence in you, and you should operate with that confidence,” Mr Lee said. “Be visible within the community – plenty of meetings can occur in the playground and visiting classrooms matters – it shows that the students and teachers matter to you. Enjoy the collegiality and learn from the wisdom of people who have been around a little longer than you. Everybody wants you to succeed. You can do this job, and everyone’s willing you to be a success.”

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