Leaders focus on resilience

February 26, 2018

(Back) Springfox CKO Peta Sigley, St Anne’s College principal Dom Poppa, Notre Dame College principal John Cortese, St Mary’s principal Anthony Butts. (Front) St Brendan’s principal Paula Stevenson, St Mel’s principal Chris Summers and St Lukes principal David Keenan.

Catholic leaders from the Sandhurst Diocese gathered in Shepparton on Thursday for the annual Catholic Education Leadership Gathering.

More than 100 leaders, including principals, school board chairs, parish priests and Catholic education office staff attended the event, which involved a Commissioning Eucharist at St Mel’s Church and a conference at The Woolshed.

Catholic Education Sandhurst director Paul Desmond said the conference centred around resilience, which is an important focus for individuals and school leaders.

‘‘We are in the second year of a principal wellbeing project, which aims to provide leaders in our schools with the skills and structures to do their job to the best of their ability,’’ Mr Desmond said.

‘‘Our principals are under enormous pressure due to their complex and demanding roles.

‘‘The idea is to make sure principals bounce back and have the strategies to continue to do the work needed to look after kids.’’

Springfox chief knowledge officer Peta Sigley facilitated the sessions, which were used to provide leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to be resilient in their roles.

Ms Sigley said research had shown resilience was a proven pathway to wellbeing and high-sustainable performance.

‘‘Teachers and principals are often compromised with the hours of work and demands placed on them, not just with the curriculum but general parenting of students as well,’’ Ms Sigley said.

‘‘The sessions are about marrying the research with practical strategies, to ensure there is a broader tool kit for individuals to thrive, which they then take back to their working environment.’’

The gathering was in Shepparton for the first time in 10 years, with its geographical location being considered centre for the 56 schools in the diocese.

Catholic Education Office educational consultant for principal wellbeing Julie Cobbledick said school leaders were able to map their own individual plans, considering health, happiness and success.

‘‘Many concepts of resilience were explored, including physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual factors,’’ Ms Cobbledick said.

Goulburn Valley principals from St Anne’s College, Notre Dame College, St Mary’s, St Brendan’s, St Mel’s and St Luke’s were in attendance.

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