I am not sure many people say this after many weeks away from work, but it is certainly great to be back in so many ways. My period of Professional Enrichment Leave was very informative, beneficial and engaging and of course, the Long Service Leave was a terrific opportunity to relax and recharge.
As I mentioned to the staff at our briefing this week, it was great to be able to go on leave confident in the knowledge that all staff, especially those acting in various leadership positions created by my absence, would do a tremendous job. I would like to thank Mr Tom Ryan in particular, who did a wonderful job as Acting Principal. I must also mention Mr Rob Bonnici (Acting Deputy Principal: Staff and Operations), Mr Ben Williamson (Acting Director of Learning and Development) and Mr Andy Devlin (Acting English Learning Area Team Leader) and acknowledge the excellent work each did in their respective roles. Opportunities to step into a more senior role are important developmental and professional learning experiences for these staff. I am thrilled each was able to step up, execute the role well and no doubt learn a good deal.
I have certainly walked back in at a very busy time. Exams from Year 9 – 12, end of semester assessments for Years 5 – 8, preparations for 2020 Transition Days and HeadStart, along with timetabling and staffing are just some of the myriad tasks to be dealt with before the end of the year. So many staff across all areas of the College are required to be involved in and complete numerous tasks at this time of year and I am grateful for the effort, organisation and planning which goes into ensuring these are successful and beneficial. In recent years, we have devoted a good deal of attention to maximising the value of the students’ last couple of weeks at school and avoid “downtime”. I am very confident the activities and programs in place will be challenging, engaging and fulfilling for each year level.
I will write in more detail in the next Duce, but in closing, I must touch on a couple of the highlights of my Enrichment Leave:
- Visiting eight De La Salle schools and two other Catholic schools was a brilliant opportunity to share our charism, learn from how they operate as a Lasallian school and how they promote the Catholic identity.
- Working with a variety of senior figures in the Vatican and hearing their views, questions, opinions and challenges around the future of the Church and Catholic education was enlightening, to say the least!
- I also had the privilege of having a meeting with Br Robert Schieler fsc, our Superior General, who was very generous with his time and very keen to hear all that is happening in Malvern and the broader Lasallian works in Australia.
Mr Peter Houlihan