In a recent edition of the NZSTA monthly magazine STAnews, one of our state-integrated schools featured:

Leadership and Vision in a state-integrated school

Maria Adams, one of our NZSTA Study Award winners for 2018, is a proprietor’s representative on the board of trustees at St Joseph’s School, Kaikōura. Maria attended the Proclaim 2018 Conference held by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane. Having had a very difficult time following the November 2016 earthquake, Maria hoped that she would learn more about leadership, cultural change, young people, belonging, hospitality and evangelisation. This fits with the special character specified in St Joseph’s Integration Agreement.

Tēnā koutou katoa

Our small community has been through some very challenging times over the past few years, and our board of trustees is taking this opportunity to refocus and make sure we are living our vision – our ‘why’. Our vision is GIFT – Growing in Faith Together.

With the support of NZSTA Trustee Study Awards, Crombie Lockwood and Vero, I have been privileged to attend the Proclaim 2018 conference in Brisbane and look deeply at what it means to be in Catholic leadership today.

Proclaim 2018 is a conference designed to inspire, equip and encourage faith communities in leadership and culture change, engaging young people, belonging and parish renewal.

Proclaim was a great opportunity for me to reflect on what we do and investigate and learn ways of improving and learning strategies to implement these changes. We were addressed by some inspiring keynote speakers and then given the opportunity to separate out into smaller groups for facilitated discussion to expand on what we had heard

Cardinal John Dew from the Archdiocese of Wellington spoke about leadership and leading through change. He spoke of a leader’s primary role as being to give a vision. We need to believe in our vision, to own it, to live it. We need to accept the gifts and qualities we have been given and use them to enhance the lives of those around us. As a board of trustees, we need to have the confidence to try something different, think outside the box. We need to be able to inspire our principal and staff to do the same. A great leader needs clarity and the ability to create a healthy culture, and we need to be intentional about this.

Ron Huntley from Divine Renovation, Canada, spoke of culture as being the soil. There is no point in planting beautiful seeds (ideas) if the soil is no good. If we have a culture of trust, empowerment and support, then seeds will grow. Again, the emphasis was stripping it right back to our vision and goals and going from there. We don’t always need grand gestures. Small acts and the offer of support can be immensely powerful.

Karolina Gunsser, community leader at Citipointe Church, Brisbane, emphasised the importance in creating layers of leaders. We need to be future focused and learn from our past practices. We need to look at what our children and youth need. What do they expect from our school and parish? Are we providing this?

My hope is that our school and parish can instil in our children faith that will last long beyond their school years and be part of their daily living to create a love of God and one another that will build a generation of kindness and compassion. I hope that we can help our children recognise the gifts that they have been given and have the confidence to use them. To achieve this, we need to be clear and convinced of our vision and intentional about how we are going to bring it to life within our school.

I am extremely grateful to NZSTA, Crombie Lockwood and Vero for providing me with the financial backing that allowed me to attend this inspiring event. I am looking forward to implementing some new strategies in our school and helping lead our school’s new strategic planning and thinking.- Maria Adams, St Joseph’s School, Kaikoura

I hope that we can help our children recognise the gifts that they have been given and have the confidence to use them.

– Maria Adams, St Joseph’s School, Kaikoura