Catholic Schools Day 16 May 2016
Leadership in any context of the Church is challenging but the expectations we place on Catholic school principals is very high. Their role is twofold – they are both the principal according to State obligations and faith leader of their school community. As leaders they must marry the needs of the Bishops and Proprietor with the requirements of the State, while providing a witness to faith and a constant call to ongoing formation.
Catholic Integrated Schools have much to celebrate because of the leadership they experience from their principals, staff and communities as they live out their mission within the Church. On 16 May 2016 we celebrate Catholic Schools Day and it is an opportunity to recognise and thank these people who make a difference through their leadership. It is also a time to reflect on what makes a Catholic School and what we have to do to ensure they continue to be beacons of hope in the modern world.
Farewell to Principal, Bill Turley
Principal of Thorndon’s Sacred Heart Cathedral School, Bill Turley, retired at the end of term one after 22 years leading the school that sits next to the Cathedral on Hill St.
‘My vision has always been for the school to be a place where parents want to send their children and where the children feel safe and secure,’ he says.
‘The big thing here is the children have made it happen. They are great kids. At assemblies they get up with confidence to dance, sing and perform, and they feel safe and secure doing that. At my farewell Mass their singing in the Cathedral’s boys’ choir and the Liturgy choir, under the guidance of Cathedral Music Director Michael Fletcher, was magic.’
From when Bill took on the principal’s role 22 years ago he has seen the school transform from a non-digital age with no internet right to the other end of the spectrum where now wireless technology is throughout the school and children work on iPads and Netbooks. And he has seen dramatic modernisation of the school’s buildings to transform them to modern learning environments.
Bill says the support from parents has been great. ‘The community is so widespread geographically – from Paraparaumu, to Wainuiomata to the inner city. If anything is on the parents all come. Our school is endorsed as a place of choice by word of mouth.
‘And the staff have been a really good team. Their stability helps build the school culture. The first appointment I made here was Cathy Lee as Office Administrator – she is still here and is the best appointment I’ve ever made. It’s been the people I have worked beside here and the children who have gone through this school – who I still read about and ask about – who have made this journey for me so special. He tangata. He tangata. He tangata!
At his farewell Mass Bill thanked his dedicated staff and the community for their support. His parting advice to the children was, ‘Listen, give everything a go, take care of each other and wear your sunhats.’