It’s back to school for students and staff at St Monica’s Primary, Richmond and this year it is especially exciting as they welcome new Principal, Melissa Beggs.
This is Melissa’s first time serving in the role of principal having previously worked as Assistant Principal at St Bernadette’s Primary, Castle Hill and St Madeleine’s Primary, Kenthurst. In preparation for her first day, Melissa said she was keen to learn as much as she could about her new school community.
“I met with the leadership team and staff to really get an understanding of the school, the traditions, what they hold dearly, what they expect, what they enjoy about the school and how I fit into that,” Melissa said. “My first point of call is to get to know the students and the staff and to identify how I can lead them to get the best out of their education.”
So how does a good principal get the best out of their students and staff?
“The key is listening,” she said. “Always be prepared to listen to what others have to say rather than just coming from your own perspective and what you think. It is about listening to others and hearing what they have to say because our teachers in particular are at the baseline and that is what we have to start with.”
“A good principal works with people and is not tucked away in the office, everyone needs to know that I am more than just a name on the school newsletter and that I am a person that they can come and speak to and feel that they are heard,” Melissa said. “I know that I need to be out in the classrooms working along with the staff and getting to know the students because building those relationships is really important.”
Fr Clifford D’souza, parish priest of the Parish of Richmond, told Catholic Outlook “Melissa is a member of our parish community and quite active in ministry at St Gregory’s, Kurrajong. She seems to be a calm person and with care, compassion and great professionalism, [she will be] able to lead the school community.”
Melissa said in all her teaching experience there is still one moment that excites her every time.
“It’s that moment that a child discovers that they can do something they didn’t think was possible before,” she said. “They meet a goal or a challenge and you can see their sense of excitement in achieving something that motivates them me.”
What about her top tips for first time Kindergarten parents?
“Relax. Don’t put too much stress on the kids or yourselves, know that the teachers will be working very hard to understand your child’s needs and there will be a partnership between us,” Melissa said. “The main thing to know is that we understand leaving your child at school is a big trust, we will take very good care of them.”
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.