Dear Parents & Carers,
It’s hard to believe that the 2023 academic year has drawn to an end. I look back on my first year as Principal of St Domnic’s with gratitude and excitement. I am very grateful to staff, students and parents for their strong support throughout the year, as I went through a series of ‘firsts’. I am very excited about 2024 as we have planned a busy year that builds on the achievements thus far.
The staff and students of St Dom’s have had a great year. There have been so many successes in the classrooms and sporting fields, our boys have demonstrated care and compassion and have actively been men for others. Social justice initiatives have been well supported and our boys have a wonderful influence in our local community. I look forward to celebrating our Thanksgiving Mass on Monday and presenting Awards to many of our talented and hardworking students on Tuesday.
This Sunday marks the start the Advent. Advent is the beginning of the Christian liturgical year and is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for celebrations of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a joyous and peaceful Advent season. I hope that you enjoy time with your loved ones and pray that you will be safe and that your son will return well rested, ready for a big 2024.
In a time where many schools are suffering from teacher shortages, I am very pleased to report that our staffing is relatively stable for next year. Some staff movement is healthy and we have eight staff we wish to farewell:
Director of Identity, Mr Zachary Culican is transitioning to retirement and has relinquished his role on the College Leadership Team. Zac is a successful and experienced leader in schools. He is also a man of great faith and has lead the formation of staff and students over a number of years in the Edmund Rice tradition. Zac will take on a part-time role next year assisting with policy development and risk management. We wish Zac well as he enjoys some more time with family next year.
Director of Curriculum, Mr Luke Borg has accepted the Assistant Principal role at Penola Catholic College next year. Luke has provided great service to our community in a number of roles over 16 years. Luke will be a great asset to Penola and this is an endorsement by the Diocese of Parramatta of Luke’s strong leadership skills. We wish him every success in this new role.
Mrs Sandra Tangata-Toa will be relocating to Auckland, New Zealand following her husband’s appointment as Assistant Coach of the New Zealand Warriors NRL team. Sandra has spent her career in Edmund Rice schools and is an outstanding teacher. She was snapped up almost instantly at our Edmund Rice sister school in Auckland as soon as the family made the decision to relocate. Our best wishes and thanks go with her.
Mr Tom Kroon has accepted a teaching position at Penrith Anglican College and leaves us after having substantial success as a TAS teacher, teacher of VET Construction and STEM. Tom expertise will be welcomed at the new school and we wish him success.
Mr Dylan Green is an excellent young teacher who has contributed greatly by his outstanding involvement in extra-curricular activities and his teaching mostly in the PDHPE department. Dylan has secured a full-time permanent position at St Agnus Catholic College, Mt Druitt.
Miss Jamie Merriment will take on a new role in communications and marketing for a local business and vacates her role as College Registrar. Jamie has done an excellent job supporting families who are considering St Dom’s for enrolment and we wish her well in her new role.
Mr Ben Powell has worked in the Grounds & Maintenance team at the College and has been employed in a local business in a marketing role. Ben has been highly effective in his role & we wish him much success in his new role.
Mr Sam Hull has been valuable working as a Teacher’s Aide whilst he completes his teacher training. He graduates next year and will commence working as a teacher with the Department of Education.
With these staff leaving, we welcome the following new staff to St Dominic’s for 2024:
Mr Spiro Zakris will be joining us in the role of Pastoral Coordinator for Year 7. Mr Zakris is a very successful Pastoral Coordinator and has held this leadership position in numerous Catholic schools for over 20 years. His care, experience and high expectations will be a great support to our new Year 7 cohort which is the largest cohort of 230 boys.
Mr Ben Gough- joins us as the Assistant Coach to the Manchester City program. A former Australian Schoolboy & Captain, Ben has over 20 years of coaching youth and has worked with both NSW and Queensland Football developing talented players.
Mrs Rebecca Cropper will join us as College Registrar. Rebecca currently works in College Administration at Penola Catholic College and will be greatly missed by their team.
Mrs Meagan Blakers will work closely with Mr Zammit to continue to build the highly successful STEM program at St Dominic’s. Meagan is an experienced and highly successful teacher who has recently been working at Sydney University in their STEM and technology areas.
Mr Alex Takami is an outstanding young Maths teacher and has accepted a temporary teaching role in our Maths team for 2024.
Joining us as Teacher’s Aides and assisting with student learning will be Mr Jose Corcio (former College Captain); Mr Noah Clifford (former College Vice Captain) and Natalie Stoodley; all of whom are currently training to be teachers at University.
Blade Hayes who has been working with our Grounds & Maintenance team will take up a part-time role.
Talented existing staff have had some changes in roles. Among the most significant are:
Mr Ben Godsell who moves Director’s portfolio from Director of Administration to Director of Identity.
Mrs Neelima Shankar has been promoted from Pastoral Coordinator (Year 10) to Director of Administration.
Mr David MacKinnon adds the role of ‘Partnerships Officer’ to his role as PDHPE Coordinator. David will work on establishing a formal Alumni program and investigate the expansion of partnership programs with corporates and Universities.
Mr Nathan Zammit takes on the newly established role of Learning Technologies Coordinator. This role will examine immerging technologies and evaluate their use for effective learning.
Some changes for 2024 will occur and the first thing you are likely to notice is the way we communicate to you will change significantly. We have rolled out a new administration system called ‘Compass’. Many of you who have younger children in a Diocesan primary school will probably be familiar with Compass. We will send some instructional information to all parents and students early next year outlining how to setup your digital device. You should expect more regular feedback on how your son is performing at school. We aim to provide information on both the things he does that are meritorious as well as if we have any concerns.
There are some structural changes to our timetable as well with an additional period of learning being added on Tuesdays making it a six-period day rather than a five period day. Homeroom has been extended to 25 minutes however will only occur on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. We believe that these changes will best support learning moving forward.
A reminder that the first day back next year for Years 7, 11 and 12 is Thursday 1st February and for Years 8, 9 & 10 it is Friday 2nd February. I look forward to seeing everyone return refreshed and excited for a massive 2024.
May God continue to bless you,
Mr Simon Abernethy