This year, St Pauls Catholic College, Greystanes, welcomes a new face to lead the school.
Paul Finneran has officially commenced in his role of Principal, having recently moved back to Sydney from Victoria where he served as Deputy Principal of Academy of Mary Immaculate College, a Year 7 to 12 College for girls in Fitzroy, Melbourne, since 2017.
Excited to take on the role at St Pauls, Paul said he had heard great things about the school especially from former Principal David Bourne.
“I spoke with David when coming into the role and he had told me what a beautiful community it is,” Paul said. “That was definitely my first impression coming into the school, the warmth of the welcome has been really special.”
Familiar with the Diocese of Parramatta having worked at St Patrick’s Marist College, Dundas, early in his career, this is Paul’s first time in the role of Principal to which he brings 27 years teaching and leadership experience. He was the Assistant Principal of De La Salle College, Revesby Heights, Campus Director of Trinity Catholic College, Auburn, as well as Year Coordinator of MacKillop Catholic Regional College, Werribee, and Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham.
An experienced Catholic leader, Paul holds a Masters of Religious Education, a Masters of Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Education, all from Australian Catholic University. He describes himself as a ‘change agent’ and said he will be focussed on continuing to build a collaborative environment for learning and teaching at the school.
I’m family oriented, faith filled, I love meeting people and I’m excited by this new chapter for St Pauls and we have so much potential for growth and giving our boys the best opportunities. We want them to leave school as global and active citizens.
“We are moving into a space where we are co-learners with our students and with our families. The remote learning experience last year during the COVID-19 lockdown, particularly in Melbourne where it was a significant part of the year, showed me that there is going to be a real blended learning environment moving forward,” he said. “That challenges us to be adaptable and flexible in our delivery and in the modes of learning and teaching that we offer.”
Paul said his experiences throughout the strict lockdown in Melbourne provided a lot of challenges, forcing new ways of doing things.
“We had to be flexible and adaptable,” Paul said. “We recognised the importance of communication with our community and ensuring the wellbeing of our students and their families as well. Our regular family wellbeing check-ins enabled them to share their experiences and foster connectedness during isolation.”
He said the relational aspect between schools and home is stronger than ever post COVID-19 as schools have moved into a more blended environment of learning both remotely and face to face.
“I think how we manage communication with the families and being adaptable to the needs of our students has changed quite a lot,” he said. “Developing those relationships is really important.”
Collaboration and developing relationships is a big part of Paul’s leadership mantra. He recognises that good leaders understand the importance of building a good culture within the school and how those relationships reap rewards for learning and teaching.
“Everyone has a voice and we have to be inclusive and prepared to give a voice to the voiceless,” Paul said. “As a Catholic community, I think it is really important that we are invitational, that we invite and welcome people, that we understand the diverse narrative of others and meet people where they are at.”
“A great principal has a vision of where they want the school to go and they are able to articulate that vision really clearly and give others a voice in that vision in how we enable it,” he said. “We have so much potential for growth at St Pauls and I hope to continue to develop a culture of learning and teaching that offers a broader educational experience for our boys and challenges them to reach their full potential.”
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.