Catholic Education Week provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the strengths and achievements of our 38 Catholic schools as well as the people who contribute to Catholic Education Tasmania’s ongoing success.
Our theme for 2023 is ‘Arise and go!’
This calls us to follow in the footsteps of Mary as she was called to arise and go with haste into the world. So too are we in Catholic education called to arise and make a positive impact in the lives of others.
Catholic education has supported Tasmanian families for nearly 200 years. We are proud to be partners in Tasmania’s future; partners with governments, families, and Church communities in achieving shared educational goals for young Tasmanians. We work alongside our first nations people, towards a better future for all.
The Catholic Education Commission Tasmania Recognition Awards were established to recognise and honour those who have contributed in a special way to the growth, development, and achievements of Catholic Education Tasmania.
It is this service of others from staff, friends, and supporters of Catholic Education Tasmania that we recognise and celebrate during Catholic Education Week. These three awards are presented to those within our community who have made a significant contribution to Catholic Education in a variety of different ways.
Awards are presented for the following three categories:
Catholic Education Week celebrations provide an opportunity to recognise our committed and gifted teachers and support staff who have served 25 years in Catholic education.
Since the 25 Years of Service Awards began in 2006, over 350 Catholic Education Tasmania staff have been recognised for their generous service to our schools and colleges.
Nominations for Recognition Awards and 25 Years of Service Awards are called for in Term Two each year. Presentations are made to recipients at regional events held during Catholic Education Week.
Chair of the Catholic Education Commission Tasmania, Hon. Michael Polley AM, is pleased to announce the recipients of CECT Recognition Awards and 25 Years of Service Awards for 2023!
CECT Recognition Awards
There are no recipients of the Outstanding Contribution as a Friend in Catholic Schools Award for 2023.
CECT 25 Years of Service Awards
Les Allen has been a staple of the North West of Tasmania having been involved with Catholic education since his eldest daughter started at St Brigids Catholic School 40 years ago. Once he joined the community at St Brigid’s, Les knew that he had found a home within Catholic education. Les has served in several different roles from 1983 through to 2023, most recently in his second stint as the Chair of the St Brigid’s School Board.
Whilst never having been a teacher, Les believes that he has helped support teaching staff in a number of ways during his 25-year stint as Business Manager at Marist Regional College beginning in 1991. He explained, “It's probably more of a vocation rather than a job. It’s not the ordinary 9 to 5 job where you pack up and head home, and you’ve got other work to do, but you do it because you like it.”
The selflessness that Les lived out on a day-to-day basis was centred around giving, and always being willing to support the greater good of Catholic education and making all schools the centre of everything he did. “If the maintenance guys get a call out, go and help them. I remember one time at 2.00 am in the morning when there was graffiti on the building, I would make sure to be one of the ones to help clean it up before school the next day. They respected you because they knew that you were prepared to get your hands dirty with them.”
The work that Les did while Business Manager at Marist helped deliver some fantastic outcomes for the North West Tasmania region. He was a member of the Tasmanian Capital Projects Committee, Member of the Grants Allocation Committee for Catholic Education Secondary Schools, a major leader in assisting Catholic Primary Schools transition into GST and Reporting, and facilitated Catholic Primary Schools Professional Development. Les worked closely with Bob Farr, who had taken him under his wing from afar as the Business Manager of St Brendan-Shaw College. Mr Farr always encouraged Les and there was never any competition for enrolments between the two major North West colleges. They would share spreadsheet formulas together and would maintain a close relationship going on many journeys up and down the midlands for conferences and meetings.
There was a respect that was held for Les in whatever boardroom, committee, or meeting that he would be a part of. Les believed that it was important to be sympathetic to the families of the school, and that the students and providing a good education was at the core of his beliefs. “The main thing as to why you served on the capital projects and grants allocation committees is because you knew it was for the benefit of not only the schools, but the kids that were going to be educated in the long term.” When asked about the pride of working in Catholic education Les said, “The major projects that improved facilities and provided better opportunities for education in Burnie and surrounds is the way I would describe that.”
Congratulations on your Exemplary Contribution to Catholic Education, Les!
Anita Smith has been one of the key figures in development at Sacred Heart College, New Town for 23 years. Her career started in the public sector working for an accounting firm, which led her to auditing both the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office and many Catholic Schools in the late 1990s. Working in education was always something that interested Anita, so she took a leap of faith and decided to leave her job at an accounting firm and moved to Sacred Heart College to become the Business Manager in the year 2000.
Anita was attracted to working as part of a Catholic community, and the idea that having a faith-filled community that followed a set of shared values and beliefs was hopefully going to provide her with connection and a position that would add a deeper purpose and value. “I like that I’m committed and passionate about the students we’re educating, and that we’re looking at the whole person.” Explained Anita, “I feel we go that extra step in education where we provide that support and love.”
Anita’s role has developed over time from focusing on the financial side of the business when she first started in the position, when Sacred Heart was a much smaller school in terms of their administration team and staff. As the years progressed, Anita’s role developed into Capital Projects Development, ICT, Human Resources, and Risk-WHS. Like many Business Managers in Catholic Education Tasmania schools, Anita wears many hats, and has a wide breadth of responsibilities that she deals with every day.
The experience and wisdom that Anita provides is well respected within the CET community, and she has been part of several committees where her expertise has been utilised for the betterment of Catholic education state-wide. She loves being a part of the Resource and Sustainability Standing Committee, who are responsible for the oversight of several smaller committees that help review policies and provide recommendations for major capital works in our schools. “That’s been a big focus of mine to further contribute by being part of those committees.” Said Anita, “I see my value and contribution to giving back to Catholic education as part of these committees to help better our schools.”
The leadership that Anita has shown was centred around trusting the people around her, while believing in them to help build their own skills in leadership and entrusting them to fulfil their role. She hopes that she has inspired others to give of themselves, and to see the passion that she has for Catholic education on a daily basis. When asked about what advice she would give to her younger self, Anita explained the importance of being connected, feeling valued and most importantly enjoying what you do in life.
Congratulations on your Exemplary Contribution to Catholic Education, Anita!
Throughout her time as an educator in any of her roles in schools or in the office, Alanna has held a passion for curriculum and pedagogy. One of the key influencers on her career was former TCEO staffer, Donna Bucher, who helped foster Alanna’s love for teaching and building knowledge of curriculum. “I was able to work with Donna for three years. Her knowledge of curriculum and pedagogy, it's outstanding. Working with her for that period set me up to then become a Deputy Principal.” The leadership that Donna showed Alanna, alongside Principals she worked under- Sue Chen, the late Adrian Drane, Tony Daley, and Liz Illingworth- provided Alanna with the confidence to find her own leadership style. She always tries to lead in a way that shares her passion for education, while maintaining the human aspect of being a teacher.
During term break, Alanna will be seen spending extra days at schools ensuring students have the best possible education. She shows a care for all students that does not go unnoticed, and tries to make the lives of each and every student lives better both in their education and pastoral care. In any leadership role, the welfare of staff is also paramount, and Alanna tries to provide the educators at each of the schools she has worked at, the best possible access to the latest personal learning, and curriculum changes.
Alanna is proud of her work in implementing the Australian curriculum and supporting schools in that area, and her most recent work at St Patrick’s College as they moved towards a system of more continuous online feedback for families of students. This gives families an opportunity to log into the online learning management system at any point and see the results that their students are receiving rather than the ‘old-school’ report system. She explained how great it is to be able to work more closely with their families for that greater connection between families and schools, so they can have a greater understanding of how their child is progressing.
When discussing the advice she would give to a younger member of staff, Alanna explained the importance of learning from the experienced educators that are in their schools. “There is so much knowledge and experience in our schools to listen and learn from those around you.” Said Alanna, “I tried to take every opportunity they gave me, and just the opportunity to work and learn from those people, for younger people getting started in education, there’s so many people in their school that can help them.”
Congratulations on your outstanding service, Alanna!
Andrew Pinelli has not left Catholic education since he started his education in a Catholic primary school in Sydney in the 1970s. He attended the Australian Catholic University, taught in Sydney’s suburbs, and in rural New South Wales. He has since found a home in Tasmania as part of an education system in which he hopes he has left a positive mark through his contribution to CET schools. “I think we’re obviously trusted with the academic side of a child’s development, but there’s also the sharing and modelling of values in our faith which I think really enhances what we do.” Explained Andrew, “We’re trying to mould well-rounded, rich, faith-filled human beings, and hopefully we set them up for a good wholesome life.”
His leadership career began to take shape when he moved to a town 600 kms west of Coffs Harbour as a young and relatively inexperienced teacher to take up a position as a Deputy Principal at a Catholic school. The town had a population of around 2,500, and a school enrolment of about 150. The move provided him with an opportunity to recognise the important role that schools can play in a community, where there was a buy-in from the entire town to make the school a super supportive environment for all the students, as well as for Andrew who was a relatively inexperienced Principal when he was given the position after one year as a deputy.
Moving to a rural location is something that Andrew challenges all young teachers to do. It gave him an opportunity to not take the little things for granted, and to get an experience for things that are outside of his comfort zone. He challenges young teachers to take a leap of faith in their commitment to education and recommends any teacher who is just starting out in their career to take up a position outside of their norm, and go to a regional school within Tasmania, or to a rural community in the Northern Territory. “Look at that breadth of experience you get when you’re young, and maybe when you have less commitments, take a punt and take on one of those roles that will challenge you, and you can really learn a bit more about yourself.”
As a teacher, it can often be hard to celebrate the successes that take place every day. Teachers can struggle to promote themselves, and Andrew was thankful for the opportunity to recognise that other educators have seen the work that he has been doing. “You hope, no matter whether you’re a TA, a classroom teacher, or Deputy Principal that you leave a bit of a positive change with your contribution.” Explained Andrew, “It doesn’t have to be something that goes up in lights, and gets promoted or anything, we can all just be working towards making a positive difference.”
After a couple of secondments at Southern Tasmanian Catholic schools, Andrew is very happy with his current role as Deputy Principal at St Therese’s Catholic School. He lets his actions lead the other teachers and allows the teachers under his wing to be empowered to grow as leaders on their own, while trusting them to be making the right decision. That was what some of his key influencers in previous roles had done for him. People like Rick Johnson from the Armidale Diocese in NSW, Damian Messer at St Virgil’s College, Nick McGann at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School, and now Fran Baccarin at St Therese’s; they trusted him to be a good leader at their school and now he tries to do the same for others.
Congratulations on your outstanding service, Andrew!
Brett Tanner started his teaching career in a small Catholic school in country New South Wales as a Physical Education Teacher, fresh out of his study at the University of Wollongong. Brett found it the perfect first teaching job, where he had the opportunity to combine three of his favourite subjects and pastimes, P.E., maths, and technology (woodwork and metalwork). As a recently graduated educator, he enjoyed his time at a small country Catholic school, which allowed him to hone his craft before deciding to move to Canberra to teach at a school called St Peter’s which later amalgamated into St Mary MacKillop College with another Catholic school in Southern Canberra.
After being introduced to the Josephite Charisms of their Catholic schools, Brett knew that he had found a home inside of the Sister of St Joseph community and decided to uproot his life in 2001 and move to Sacred Heart College in Tasmania, to undertake a role as Deputy Principal to Jill Morgan. He loves being a Deputy Principal, as the deputies deal with kids all day, and no matter what an issue might be, Brett always found that building relationships were at the centre of everything when it comes to students. He explained his love for teaching, and one experience he had with a student in his career. “I had one parent track me down to tell me that I had changed their son’s life.” Said Brett, “It wasn’t rocket science or anything like that, it was just about getting to know the family, the child, and then with the team working together, you can coordinate and do amazing things.”
Following on from his time at Sacred Heart which lasted for six years, Brett moved to Guilford Young College to be one of the two Deputy Principals at the College having three years each at the Hobart and Glenorchy campus before moving to his current role as Deputy Principal at St James Catholic College at Cygnet. Brett is still working at St James in some capacity as the Daily Planner, but despite not being a classroom teacher anymore, he was given the option from the Tasmanian Registration Board to renew his teaching registration for one year but decided to renew for five years instead. Such is his love for the St James community, and the vocation of teaching.
Throughout his career, Brett has always loved the ethos that comes from working in a Catholic school and has always treated students how he would want his own children to be treated in the classroom. Teaching in a Catholic school spoke to his own Christian values, and one of his joy’s is being able to live his own faith in action each day. “I’ve got kids and I thought, what kind of experience would I want for my child there?” Said Brett, “I’d say, well you know what’s in the gospel, what the guiding light of Christ is. It’s stacked with love and compassion, and you can always help a child become who they want to be.”
Brett believes that working in Catholic education is about faith in action, “You’re in the process of respecting the uniqueness and the dignity of each individual, staff, student, parents, together working collaboratively to bring about the flourishing of the human person.” This sums up Brett Tanner’s career, and why he is such a worthy recipient of this award.
Congratulations on your outstanding service, Brett!
Jacquie Mayne started her career in Catholic education in the summer after she graduated Year 12 and has never left. After graduating from St Mary’s College, Jacquie was encouraged to apply for a position within the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office by two of her Year 12 teachers, Sharee Marlaski and Debbie Claridge. Jacquie describes them as two of the warmest, most loving women she has ever met. She credits them for her still being employed by Catholic education many years later.
Throughout her time at the TCEO Jacquie has held several roles across the Directorate, ICT, Learning and Teaching, and School Services (South) always managing to build strong relationships with co-workers and always being willing to support others. There is a dedication that is evident through the high level of service that she provides to her colleagues, school staff, and anyone she interacts with. She is an incredible knowledge holder for new staff, and her willingness to support anyone within the TCEO has not gone unnoticed.
Jacquie has a love for Catholic education, and she loves being able to visit the schools, which is the reason she continues to work for CET after so many years. “I love the opportunity to go into schools. It’s the reason we exist, just to see the young people learning and at play, their excitement, it’s a real reality check.” Explained Jacquie, “Catholic education for me is about the kids, and we are so office based that we don’t see the impact we’re having every day.”
One of the moments in Jacquie’s career that she is extremely proud of was when she was part of the St Aloysius Catholic College Steering Committee. This Committee was crucial in providing the region of Kingborough with a local Secondary Catholic College, giving students the opportunity to stay as part of the St Aloysius community from Kinder through to Year 10 (now Year 12). “That was brilliant, everyone coming together, all for a good reason.” Said Jacquie, “That was probably one of my proudest moments to actually see that College and look at it now, as one of the bigger colleges in Southern Tasmania.”
Through her wisdom and experience at the TCEO, Jacquie has some great advice for younger staff who are just starting out in Catholic education. She believes that it takes time to learn and grow in a position, and that patience is an important virtue to display whilst still having belief and trust in yourself. Jacquie has also shown great leadership and guidance to new staff, supporting them to go onto greater roles. She has always gone above and beyond to help others succeed, whether serving as an assistant for senior staff or mentoring younger team members, Jacquie’s approach to working in Catholic education is admirable. A highly skilled and dedicated professional, we thank Jacquie for everything she has done for Catholic education.
Congratulations on your outstanding service, Jacquie!
Working in Catholic education is more than just a career for Cam. Being a teacher has always been about creating a deep personal connection with the students and staff that he has worked with every day. This dedication was evident through his journey with Catholic education as a student at Corpus Christi Catholic School and Dominic College. As a testament to the great education he received at these two schools, Corpus Christi and Dominic became his first two teaching positions after he graduated university, seeing Cam return as a colleague to the teachers who once taught him in the same classrooms.
Throughout his career, Cam has held a Senior Leadership position at several schools and colleges in the south of the state, including St Therese’s Catholic School, St John’s Catholic School, St Paul’s Catholic School, Immaculate Heart Catholic School, and Sacred Heart College. Each of these schools provided something different, and helped shape Cam as an educator, leader and as a person. He was appreciative of the opportunities that it brought him, “Certainly in my time as a teacher, I was thankful to be in the privileged position of hopefully making a meaningful impact, and influence in the lives of students based on the Catholic faith.”
After transitioning out of the classroom and into leadership positions, Cam knew he was once again privileged to be entrusted with the responsibility to make significant operational and strategic decisions for schools, leaders, and the systemwide organisation of Catholic Education Tasmania. He has enjoyed his most recent role as part of the CET leadership team and was proud of the way he and other members of CET Leadership helped support schools and the office during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Dealing with the uncertainty that everyone was impacted by and the intensity around the immediate, short, and future decisions which were required, meant it was a really complex and demanding time. However, I think CET and all our school leaders did a wonderful job in supporting all our staff, students and families.”
There have been many people who have supported Cam during his time as a teacher, and as a leader within Catholic education. Teachers such as Carmela Lindo and the late Joy Matar, were great role models for Cam in the classroom. When he moved into leadership, he was supported, encouraged, and mentored by people like Elaine Doran, Gerard Cronly, Sean Gill, Denise Long, and Gerard Gaskin. Cam recommends that all younger staff have a trusted mentor for support and guidance when they first start out in Catholic education, as it helped provide him with the encouragement he required to stick at the great vocation of teaching and become a great servant to Catholic education in Tasmania.
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Cam!
Throughout her career, Fran Baccarin has held several positions at different schools in the south of the state. Her history in Catholic education started when she was a student at Dominic College from Year 7 – Year 12, and since then she has always taught within the Catholic system. Her first teaching position was at John Paul II Catholic School, where she loved working with the students and their families. She explained, “I’ve actually been back there [JPII] three or four times. I just love working with the students and their families, and just being able to get to know the kids and helping them achieve along the way, it’s been really rewarding.”
Following her start as a primary school teacher, Fran has since been a Principal in Catholic Education Tasmania for nine years and is currently the Principal at St Therese's Catholic School. Although Fran misses being in the classroom, when she could make a real difference at a classroom level, where students always have the ability to surprise you each day, to now be able to make a difference to a whole school community fills her with pride. She had always pushed herself to take on leadership positions from a young age, so becoming a Principal is something that she is very proud of.
Fran’s teaching style is one that acknowledges every individual student for who they are, as she tries to help build strength in students by encouraging them. Her leadership style is similar, where she is helpful and is approachable to all staff who need support, in whatever shape that might take. She also recommends that all teachers find balance, and to never let the job overcome you. “Teachers love their jobs and we love our students, but we all have to remember we have families, and we are people that need a balance in our life.” Explained Fran, “Don’t lose sight of the big picture and don’t lose sight of who you are and know the important things in your life.”
More than anything, Fran loves being able to teach within Catholic education. She loves the message that is shared within Catholic schools to the families and to the students who she sees live out this message every day. The support that Fran can provide to hundreds of students on a day-to-day basis is one that she feels makes a difference in their lives. She summed up her ethos perfectly, “That’s what I’m about, making a difference and helping others.”
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Fran!
Throughout her time in Catholic education, Gosia Moutwari has been a living example of how to teach faith in action. In the 25 years she has worked at St Therese’s Catholic School, Gosia has taught across year levels from Kinder through to Year Four. Her love for St Therese’s extends beyond the classroom. Gosia has been on countless committees, has been the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Key Teacher, Science and Technology lead, Literacy Coordinator, and on the Parents and Friends Association. Anyone who is part of the St Therese’s community would know who Gosia is and the great work she does for their community and in her parish.
Gosia believes that the way she contributes to Catholic education is through the children she educates. She gets so much pride from being able to help them find their own faith by sharing her journey with her pupils. “I’ve always tried to nurture and inspire the students in any way that I can and help them to know and experience the loving presence in their life.” Explained Gosia, “I’m hoping that my contribution is spreading my faith and showing them how I live and getting to spread that into the wider community.”
The students continually keep making Gosia proud every year. She marvels over the little things that her students can achieve in a school setting. “It’s the little things, those Jesus moments when you see a child who goes out of their way to help someone without being prompted and says, ‘Are you okay?’ These are things that we have spoken about in class that are then being used in the playground.” Watching her students live out the messaging and the values that she tries to instil in them at such a young age, fills her with such pride.
The entire School community has helped shape Gosia as a person: the teaching staff, leadership, parish staff, and support staff have all influenced her in some way. She is adamant that it has not been one person who has helped her grow as an educator. She also discussed how the students have helped her grow and helped her question her own faith. “When I’m teaching, I have learned so much more about my own faith.” Said Gosia, “I show students something and it makes me question my own faith, I feel like it’s always developing. 100% in a positive way, it’s just a beautiful feeling that I’m still learning.”
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service Award, Gosia!
Kate Jackson’s teaching career started at Immaculate Heart Catholic School in 1997 and she has since worked under eight different Principals in her time as part of this school community. Kate believes that each of these Principals has brought their own perspective, and a different way of doing things to the School, so although she has stayed at the one school for more than 25 years, Kate feels like she has worked at eight different schools.
Catholic education has helped provide Kate with meaning, and her own personal values align with that of the Catholic church. Kate has always tried to live out values such as compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and kindness on a day-to-day basis throughout her teaching career. When asked what it means to work in Catholic education, Kate explained how much the staff of Immaculate Heart have provided for her. “Many of the staff that work in the school have become like a family to me. They listen, they care, they support, and they nourish.”
Kate credits the Teachers Assistants and the office staff, as some of the key figures who have influenced her career. They were always prepared to go along with her, and often aren’t recognised as much as they should be, but Kate believes that they are always invested in the best outcomes for the students of the school. She also listed fellow 25 Years of Service award winner, Therese Kelly as a key influence. “An enormous amount of my gratitude goes to Therese Kelly, who taught me that being a spiritual person meant I was able to give to the students, the community and the environment in my own way and maintain my values that have always been important.”
Working in her current role as an Aboriginal Key Teacher has filled Kate with pride, as her understanding and confidence in leading the Immaculate Heart school community in Sorry Day and NAIDOC Week activities has grown. She is proud to be walking alongside and altogether to a future where reconciliation is embedded in all that is done within schools. Kate’s advice to younger staff members also speaks volumes to her experience as an educator within the Catholic education system, “Be true to yourself and listen to your gut. There are times when others won’t believe in you but know yourself first and foremost.”
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Kate!
Brent Scanlon is in the blessed position of having worked from a Kindergarten classroom all the way through to a Senior Secondary class, since he began teaching Year 11s for the first time this year. His career in Catholic education started back in 1997 when he worked Teacher’s Aide at St Paul’s Catholic School and St Brigid’s Catholic School. Upon concluding his work as a Teacher’s Aide, Brent took up a position as a primary school educator at St Brigid’s in 1998.
Following four years of teaching at St Brigid’s, Brent moved to Dominic College to teach at the Primary Campus. He spent a number of years teaching Kindergarten at Dominic, and he explained how interested he was in teaching four-year olds at such a vital age in their development. “Students at the kindergarten age learn so much, so rapidly, and they're often underestimated by people. I guess people think of them as babies, but they're really at that age, a real, powerful learner.”
After 13 years at Dominic, Brent moved to St Virgil’s College to teach at the Junior School in Year 3 and 5 until 2022 when he moved to the Senior campus to teach High School Art to the young men at Austins Ferry. Brent was thankful to have the opportunity to move back into a position that he had trained in more than 20 years ago. He is very grateful to those staff in leadership positions who have been willing to trust him and grant him a change in his career, such as moving into Kindergarten or teaching High School Art.
Brent has chosen to stay within Catholic education for 25 years because of the values that Catholics live by everyday. He lives by following Jesus and understanding the importance of the Catholic faith and ethos that can help guide students in the classroom. Brent has strived to live out these values as an educator, and is thankful for the support of his first Principal, Seán Gill, for the guidance and leadership that he provided at a young age.
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Brent!
Anyone who knows Paul Egan would know how much he enjoys building relationships with the students he teaches. His teaching career started in 1985 as a Physical Education Teacher at St Virgil's College, after moving down from Sydney at the age of 21. Although his career started as a specialist P.E. teacher in a high school, it wasn’t until he moved to John Paul II Catholic School in 1992 that he found a home as a classroom teacher of a Year 4 class.
Throughout his teaching career, Paul had the privilege of encountering schools in various settings, each leaving a lasting impression on his journey. Among them, it was the schools in lower socioeconomic areas that truly stood out as some of the best in his experience. “The schools that were some of the best schools that I taught at were the schools from lower socioeconomic areas, because the students had the greatest need. The fellow staff were also very collegial and supportive, coming together for the greater good.” Paul also found teaching 10-year old’s Maths and Science gave him a good work-life balance, so he was able to enjoy his sport outside of teaching.
Paul also taught at Dominic College, St Paul's Catholic School, St James Catholic College, St. Brigid's Catholic School, St Aloysius Catholic College, Corpus Christi Catholic School, and is now working as the Learning Support Co-ordinator at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School. Paul has loved working in Learning Support, and this role has become one of the highlights in his career to date. “Being able to work with students who have learning difficulties, and the feeling that I am making a significant difference to them in their ability to learn has been a career highlight.”
One of Paul’s biggest influences as an educator in Catholic education has been Peter ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, who had cemented the program, ‘Making Jesus Real’ in Paul’s ethos as a teacher. As part of the program, Paul loved being able to take students on camps and help them shine in a different context—outside of the classroom—especially when they might not have been as academically inclined. The first Primary School Principal Paul worked under, Susan Hasenkam, gave Paul great support when he first went to John Paul II because he was still very new in his teaching career and experience. Paul also believes that the two most important groups of people in a school are the grounds and office staff. “They know how everything runs, they understand the stresses that teachers are under, and they never say no to anything you ask.”
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Paul!
Mary Hansen has been an important member of the St Brendan-Shaw College community for more than 25 years. After her youngest of five children attended Kindergarten in 1997, Mary decided she wanted to go back into the workforce and joined the Student Support staff at SBSC as a Teacher’s Aide. She intended on finishing her teaching degree while working at the College, but found a great work-life balance from her position at the school. The role was always centred around working with students one on one, and at the start of her career as a Teacher’s Aide she worked heavily with a student with cerebral palsy and had great joy in watching the student grow as a person through their six years as part of the St Brendan-Shaw community.
There was something about working with the children of St Brendan-Shaw that helped Mary stay at the College for 25 years until her retirement last year. The community that existed within the School embodies the care of the whole person, and Mary explained that there was always a level of support for the staff at the College and for her own family who always felt cared for. “I really appreciated the overall care of everybody, not just the students but the staff and the parents. There was an inclusiveness that I found all around, people did really try to do their best.”
In her role as a Teacher’s Aide, Mary explained that she was often working with students who had the highest need in the classroom one on one. This allowed her to have a greater impact on the students that she worked with, and she always felt like the staff at SBSC respected the hard work that Teacher’s Aides do every day. “I felt cared for as an individual. I felt respected for the work that I did. I never felt lesser, and I was always included, it was excellent.”
Frank Pisano was one of Mary’s biggest supporters while she was at the College, and he was always supportive, understanding, and appreciative. She also made many long-term friends with the staff at the College who would go on to educate her own children. Mary loved the work that Father Richard Ross did with the community at SBSC, and how supportive he was with all of the students and her own family.
Mary was thankful to be able to continue to be there for her family while she was at work at SBSC, “It was the right place and the right thing to do, and the right balance between supporting a family in the way that I wanted to. I still managed to continue being the mother to the family that I was before I started to work.” Mary advocated following one’s instincts in life, and her 25 years of fulfilling service at SBSC shows that this approach has been successful.
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Mary!
Rachel Kelly’s career in education started in 1998 at Holy Rosary Catholic School. This School holds a special place in Rachel’s heart as she taught from Year 1 through to Year 6 at such a formative point in her career. Holy Rosary gave her opportunities to grow in her own leadership and learn from some great Principals and experienced teachers. It gave her a chance to see best practice in action and gave her access to mentoring as an early-careers teacher within the Catholic Education Tasmania system.
By the time she left Holy Rosary ten years later, Rachel was Assistant Principal for Religious Education before undertaking a similar role at Corpus Christi Catholic School. She mainly taught Year 6 alongside her leadership duties, before experiencing one of the highlights of her career as the Acting Co-Principal of Corpus Christi with Susan McGann. It was Rachel’s first opportunity to lead a school, and she thoroughly enjoyed the process of being Principal whilst sharing the experience with one of her favourite co-workers. After being at Corpus Christi for ten years, Rachel accepted a position as Deputy Principal at St Cuthbert’s Catholic School. Here she worked with Marcus Donnelly for three years, who was a massive influence on her career. She loved Marcus’ leadership style and tried to emulate that in her own practices in her current role as Principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Rachel loves to learn, and two of her other key influencers are Bobbi-Jo Bailey and Donna Bucher. They taught her all about curriculum, teaching, and assessment while helping her believe in her own ability to lead a school. She has also suggested to new staff to find someone around them who they trust and can learn from. “You should surround yourself with wisdom. Just look at the people around you and learn from them.” Explained Rachel, “Be kind to yourself, and it’s all about relationships.”
Rachel is proud to be Principal at Immaculate Heart, and the work that she has done within teaching and learning. She also is proud of the people she has worked with, and that she has nurtured staff to take on leadership roles at other schools and helped influence them like Marcus, Bobbi-Jo and Donna have with her. “Something that I think I do is let other people lead. I’m not an expert on everything, so I try to let other people lead.” Explained Rachel, “It’s okay to make a lot of mistakes, I make mistakes all the time and I feel pretty comfortable doing that.”
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service Award, Rachel!
Up until this year, Therese Kelly had worked at Immaculate Heart of Mary for her whole career in Catholic education. When Therese graduated from her teaching degree in the mid 1990’s, she started her career working at a small number of government schools, before realising that Catholic education is where she wanted to be. “As a young person, I found it really hard to put into words what the difference was, but there’s something very different about working in Catholic schools.” Explained Therese, “It’s the shared faith, but also the shared mission that guides us in our teaching, and in our everyday actions.”
Therese loved the fantastic sense of community that existed at Immaculate Heart. She believes there is something special about the students that attend the school, and that there is such diversity for a school that is quite small in their student population. They celebrate the diversity of every background that joins the school. There were many occasions where a child would arrive at Immaculate Heart a little lost or on the outer and they would always be welcomed and embraced. Therese loves that.
Earlier this year, Thereset took up a position at the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office in the Catholic Identity and Evangelisation (CIE) team based at Sacred Heart Catholic School Geeveston and St James Catholic College, where she is able to share her own experience to more students and families in an area that she had not worked in before.
There were many people that Therese looked up to throughout her time in Catholic education, but the people she admired and looked up to were selfless and dedicated to the students that they educated. “The people I admire and look up to, are people like Sr Joseph and Sr Monica, who have that selflessness and dedication, as it’s always about someone else.”
Therese always tries to recognise and celebrate every little achievement along the way in the classroom, no matter how big or how small. She tries to emulate a positive example of all the things that are spoken about within Catholic education, and although Therese is humble and modest in her ability, anyone who has worked with her knows she is a lived example of this.
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Therese!
The Catholic Church played an important role in the upbringing of Mary-Anne Ford, and she has maintained a strong Catholic ethos to everything she does in her life. She was educated at Sacred Heart College in New Town for the entirety of her schooling before studying teaching at the University of Tasmania, while working for Calvary Hospital (another Catholic organisation) to supplement her studies. After graduating university Mary-Anne was a relief teacher at several Catholic Primary Schools before finding a home at St Brigid’s Catholic School in New Norfolk in April 1997, and has stayed at this school ever since.
For Mary-Anne to teach at the one School for her whole career fills her with pride, as she loves working at St Brigid’s, and has always felt comfortable and supported throughout her time in Catholic schools. She believes, “For me working in Catholic Education has meant teaching with an organisation that is welcoming to communities, has a commitment to the poor and marginalised, has hope in the future, promotes peace and justice, while evangelising the Catholic Faith through the Gospel values.”
Mary-Anne was led by many experienced teachers throughout her time at St Brigid’s, but she notes that Sr Janet Sexton, a retired Presentation Sister and Principal was a living example of being Jesus Christ’s heart and hands in New Norfolk, helping those with all sorts of needs. “Teaching in Catholic education adds another dimension, to educate your students not only academically, socially, and emotionally, but also spiritually with a focus on empathy, justice and the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Mary-Anne also credits Former Principal Mr Peter McBain (Principal 2002 – 2007), she explained that he was an example of commitment to Catholic education who always showed respect, empathy, and compassion to the staff, students and especially the families within the St Brigid’s community.
Like any educator, Mary-Anne has had many highlights throughout her career, but at the end of each year, she loved being able to look back over the assessment data from her students and see the positive gains that her students made during the year. It always filled her with a sense of pride, and the warm fuzzy feeling of why teachers choose to teach.
Congratulations on your 25 Years of Service, Mary-Anne!