October Newsletter 2020
Many Thanks and Best Wishes Loretta
On behalf of the CaSPA Board it is my absolute pleasure to congratulate Loretta on the wonderful work she has done in her four years as a Director on the CaSPA Board. In addition, Loretta has done an amazing job as the CaSPA President over the last two years. The demand on Loretta for consultations from DESE, Government Agencies, NCEC and many other organisations, particularly in 2020, has been enormous. Thank you Loretta for your commitment and enthusiasm in representing Catholic secondary Principals in so many places and in such a professional manner.
"What I enjoy most about my current role is the chance to connect policymakers with those on the front line, our principals and teachers. One of the many principals who has been a great partner is Loretta Wholley from Merici College. Loretta's warm and upbeat leadership style and her collaboration with Colleagues and students are world class. She will be greatly missed by myself and many others in Canberra." Ben Duggan (Government Relations & Policy Adviser)
Loretta, as you move to your new appointment as Principal of Genazzaro College, the CaSPA Board also thanks and congratulates you on your brilliant leadership as CaSPA President. So much was achieved in the two years of your leadership. Your commitment and passion was amazing!
For the future we wish you and your family every blessing and happiness.
(Executive Officer on behalf of the CaSPA Board)
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Dr John Young
Current School: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Thamarrurr Catholic College Wadeye, NT
Previous Position: 2010-2012 I spent a short but eventful time in International education in the Middle East which included being up close and personal in the Libyan revolution. Prior to that I spent nearly 20 years as a principal of Catholic primary schools in Wellington.
First Year as a Principal: 1993
The hope for my current school is: many but increased attendance leading to better education outcomes.
The Joy of Principalship is: The variety of the role. I take a lot of joy in the development of young teachers.
A Book I would recommend: Tom Sherrington’s The Learning Rainforest and I have just finished Tom Bennett’s excellent behaviour book Running the Room. I get a lot of professional development, challenge and inspiration out of Twitter @johnyoung18 and recommend the Education Research Reading Room podcast. This is run by a Melbourne teacher Ollie Lovell who speaks to some of the best education thinkers in the world.
Fun Fact about me: I once did an Elvis impression in a Principal’s job interview.
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Watching All Black and Crusaders victories.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Embrace it.
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: Principalship in Extreme Conditions
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Joe Zavone
Current School: St Edmund’s College, Canberra
Previous Position: Deputy Principal, Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham (NSW)
First Year as a Principal: 2018
The hope for my current school is: to animate our vision in a genuine and authentic way for our students – being a school of vibrant spirit, strong character and tailored learning.
The Joy of Principalship is: being energised and motivated by the spirit and life of students and staff – every day; every year.
A Book I would recommend: anything by Sr Joan Chittister. Her words are a never-ending source of motivation and inspiration.
Fun Fact about me: I love collecting Australian model cars.
My valued Well-Being Strategy: There are times when you need to switch off completely – not just a little, but completely (a Netflix binge works wonders!).
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Work with the people around you; ask lots of questions and seek advice – don’t pretend to know it all. This is a highly effective way not only to get to know your staff, students and parents, but establishes that collaborative element from the start which is so important in a school community.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: “Be shepherds with the smell of the sheep.” (Pope Francis talking to priests, but just as applicable to school leaders)
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: “The Joy of Not Knowing It All.”
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Paul Carroll
Current School: St Francis Xavier College, Florey, ACT
Previous Position: Senior Officer, Catholic Education, ACT
First Year as a Principal: 1996
The hope for my current school is: School is an enjoyable learning experience, with appropriate challenge and opportunity, in a welcoming and spirit-filled environment.
The Joy of Principalship is: Seeing staff and students achieving their best; demonstrating grit and determination, positivity and curiosity.
A Book I would recommend: “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work” by Cal Newport
Fun Fact about me: My family had a livestock transport business which really helped in understanding the Biblical references and pastoral leadership in a school!
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Make sure I go somewhere in the stand down times as soon as possible for a few days to clear the mind.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Develop a strategy, with a coach or mentor, for evening out the peaks and troughs of the personal emotional sine wave in dealing with the work of a principal.
Inspiring Leadership Quote:
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
— Abraham Lincoln
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: Driver or Drover? Management and Leadership in the Contemporary School.
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Simon Cobiac
Current School: Blackfriars Priory School, Prospect, Adelaide
Previous Position: St Patrick’s College, Prospect, Launceston
First Year as a Principal: 2003
The hope for my current school is: For each student to belong, to flourish and fulfil their human potential
The Joy of Principalship is: Making a profound difference to the lives of young people in personal, family and systemic ways through the privilege of the role of Principal
A Book I would recommend: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A leadership fable” by Patrick Lencione
Fun Fact about me: I love to act up in the community: for example dressing up during Book Week and School celebrations
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Walking with my wife and dog, golfing with my son
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Take time to reflect, to listen and learn from every relationship and event in the diverse daily life of Principalship. Build and nurture a strong team of committed leaders and value trust, autonomy and collaboration in order to achieve the vision of the school community. Above everything else, and this may take some time, enjoy the role at least most of the time.
Inspiring Leadership Quote:
“People will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: Setting your compass in challenging times: thriving through leadership.
In the CaSPA Newsletter there is section called Principal Profiles and in the profile Principals have nominated: "A Book I Would Recommend". For future Newsletters I would like to broaden the opportunity for all Catholic Secondary Principals to send in their recommendations with a short summary and a photo of the book's cover. Hopefully you will like my offering below. Please contribute!
CaSPA Executive Officer
Start With Why - Simon Sinek
I am sure many Principals have read this book and / or follow Simon on LinkedIn. When the book was first published it provided a visionary paradigm shift by
encouraging leaders to focus on why they do things rather than only focussing on what they do and how they do it.
Simon explains the contemporary benefits of being able to articulate your "Why" to clients and customers is more successful than just telling them what you do or can do for them. As a leader at any level, we should be able to understand and explain what underpins and informs our leadership and vision of a school. If you have not read the book I think you will find it thought provoking and help you understand your "Why".
Find the fire in people: how working in a juvenile corrections facility radically altered my view on leadership
Published September 11, 2020
Two years ago renowned leadership coach Brian Fretwell gave a TED talk titled ‘What a 15-year-old meth addict taught me about leadership’. Some two million views later, he shares how his experience working in the juvenile detention system radically altered his thinking on leadership.
"You can’t light a fire for somebody else, it’s really just you finding the embers and throwing gasoline on it,” Brian Fretwell says of leading cultural change.
So Brian, you started your career as a teacher in a juvenile corrections facility, can you tell us a bit about that role and what it involved?
Teaching contracts usually go fall through spring and I graduated in December, so there were no real teaching contracts available. I worked in a youth shelter for about three or four months, and then I applied for a job as a teacher in a corrections facility and I didn’t know much about it. But essentially the kids are there for 24 hours, seven days a week, incarcerated six to nine months or longer.
During the day they have classes, but in the classroom you might have a 12-year-old and a 19-year-old and all points in between, and then different learning abilities and styles, obviously mental health issues, and things of that nature. But there’s a group of 13 and you give them everywhere from their general education diploma, to some of them still going to high school, you’re managing the learning, but you’re also managing their behavioural change and their program, which really, the education tends to actually take a bit of a second seat to what they call their ‘program development’, whether that’s getting off drugs, or re-entering the community.
And what was it that made you take on that role? Did you just think ‘I’ll give it a go’?
It was timing, but it was also the fact that I had worked in an at-risk youth home, so it was kids that had been in corrections that were going back out and my job there was not teaching, it was pure program, helping them process cognitive behavioural change, all of the psychology, and I actually kind of fell in love with that part.
Juvenile corrections just allowed me to kind of extend that and get really immersed into the behavioural change and psychology part of education at the time, not knowing it would be something that would be part of what I do for the rest of my life.
How would you say the role shaped your views on leadership?
It was really the idea that the potential for change is in anybody. As was in my TED talk, you can come in with the best idea, you can come up with the best solution, you can know how to solve the individual’s problem, but until they’re on board, none of that matters. And you trying to solve their problem or trying to come up with their answer is actually more about you and less about them.
For me, it was in those roles, really bringing the person out in that whole kind of ‘educo’ philosophy. Really it shaped my view on leadership today, that it isn’t about setting a direction or like I say a lot of times, it’s not about providing a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s striking a fire inside someone so that they can illuminate whatever path they’re going on, on their own.
You realise working in juvenile corrections that you can get the kid to comply in front of you, but what you’re really trying to do is prepare that child to re-enter their community. And so they need to have the skills, the strength and abilities on their own. And to do that, you have to be able to pull it from them, you have to be able to let them see their strength, let them see the things that they do well and grow the belief in themselves, and then all of the other stuff about direction and strategy have a place to become much more relevant.
You gave a TEDx talk in 2018 called ‘What a 15-year-old meth addict taught me about leadership’. It has since had more than two million views. Did you expect it to have such an impact?
No. First of all, I hope it’s had an impact. I’m not sure views and impact are the same. But we joked that there’d be somewhere between 2000 and 5000, and that would just be mostly my friends and family re-clicking on it to help me out. So no, we had no expectation of that and quite honestly, every time I remember when I got to 10,000, and then 20,000 and 100,000 and I just thought, ‘wow, this is interesting’, and all of a sudden it really took off.
For those who haven’t seen it, can you tell us a bit about the talk?
Yeah, the talk we designed as a story, the story of a kid I was working with in juvenile corrections at the time. It’s also a similar story to many instances I had in juvenile corrections. There was one kid Nathan, who sticks in my head pretty specifically, and I was there trying to tell him what to do, trying to tell him where to go, and Sal, another individual that worked with me at the time, who really brought me on to this idea of using questions and the concept of an ‘educo’, which is Latin for ‘to extract from’ or ‘draw without’, which coincidentally is the Latin root of the word ‘education’.
And so the talk is really about the process and how that changed the interaction and as much as it allowed him to say something new, it also allowed me to change my view on him. And so it was this kid’s confidence, this kid’s ability to step into those questions that made me realise my own shortcoming, that there’s a lot to be done, and a lot more that the individual in front of you brings that needs to be utilised, and a lot less of your own expertise that really makes the difference.
OK - what kind of advice do you give?
It’s really kind of a process of clarifying the goal. So whether I’m working with a leader to help his team clarify the goal or working with the leader themselves to clarify the goal, it’s really about, what is it that we’re trying to create here? Oftentimes, what they’re actually trying to create, the explicit goal, is actually taken over by an implicit goal. So it’s having a really good conversation about what are the values? And what are the goals? And then having a very frank conversation about ‘OK, what are the actions to lead there? And what are the thoughts that will then lead to those actions?’
And in that process, essentially, helping them be a better steward of that, or rather for them to be able to say, ‘Oh, you know, this way of thinking that we have isn’t actually taking us to where we want to go’. And in that case, that’s where, while I’m the coach or the consultant, it’s actually about creating a container for them so I can take myself out of the process.
So it’s not me that’s telling them what they should do or what they should think or how they should go, but helping them create a process where they can see where their own thinking needs improvement or their own behaviour isn’t aligned with what they’re doing, or the goal that they have needs to be changed. And I think really good coaching is about creating the skillset in the individuals to be able to do that with each other. Not just by themselves but with each other on a more consistent basis.
For school leaders looking to create a culture shift among their staff, are there any ‘dos or don’ts’, from your experience?
One of my biggest don’ts, is don’t try to change people. And what I mean by that is, leaders inherently come in with this grand new idea, and say ‘we’re gonna change everything’. And all of a sudden just in that statement, you’ve overloaded the brains of the individuals on the other side, and you’ve also discounted all of the work they’ve done up until that point, you’ve invalidated all of the effort, all of the inputs, not because you did it on purpose, but because you’ve said ‘we’ve got to change everything and move here’.
Well, even if you’re doing a large scale change like big, big transformation, you’re actually generally only changing 10 to 20 per cent in the big changes. The majority of what people do on a daily basis, the majority of their interactions, the majority of even their effort, is going to either stay the same or just be a little bit modified.
And so, we want to really work with the strength that is there, work with the emotions that are there, work with the energy that is there, to then, just as I always call it, ‘find the fire and throw gasoline on the fire’, right? Instead of trying to light a new fire each time, every individual has fire within them, and our job is just to find it, to help grow it so they can see it, and work with them to direct it into the right destination. And I see over and over again, people are just trying to light new fires for other people. You can’t light a fire for somebody else, it’s really just you finding the embers and throwing gasoline on it.
What Future? Inquiry Into Youth Employment And Transitions
Marking the beginning of the Youth Futures Summit 2020, early last week the NYCA released its Interim Findings Report for its Inquiry into Youth Employment and Transitions, which can be downloaded now.
Even before 2020 brought COVID-19 to Australia, it has been increasingly obvious for decades that despite Australia’s apparent prosperity, the prospects for young people leaving school and entering the workforce have been steadily worsening. This is evident in the everyday life and experiences of young people across the nation, in families, schools, workplaces, and communities, and is backed up in trend reports and analyses coming out of government sources, the nation’s think tanks and universities.
The report presents findings about the conditions for success needed by young people as they navigate their transitions from school to work, and from entry into the labour force towards sustainable employment.
Beyond the basic needs for love and social connection, family, and friends, the Inquiry found that young people need:
- Education and training that is meaningful to them and prepares them for life in the 21st century
- Informed choices about employment opportunities that come from exposure to the world of work and better understanding of the future of work
- Work experience to get a start in working life
- Guaranteed secure employment opportunities with fair pay and conditions
- Adequate income support when studying and during periods of unemployment, as well as enough to top up their income needs when they are underemployed
- Housing that is stable and affordable, and close enough to where young people work, learn, and develop social connections
- Mental health services, that are capable of a timely response to crisis, but also to the early onset of mental health issues
- Transport options that fit with times for work and learning
- A sustainable environment and a serious commitment to address climate change.
This is an Interim Report because the Inquiry process is designed to ensure that the Commission can validate our analysis of the evidence gathered and test the ideas for policy reform: better ways to engage young people; the resources that need to be invested, shared, or reconfigured; and suggestions about who needs to be involved in the changes.
The report Executive Summary or full report can be downloaded fron the NYCA website and feedback can be sent to the NYCA via firstname.lastname@example.org