ST MICHAEL’S Parish Primary School will kick off the new school year this week with a fresh face at the helm.
Paul Croker is the new principal of St Michael’s, following Irena Blinkhorn, who left the school in September last year.
Mr Croker, who has spent the past 27 years teaching in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, said he was looking forward to working in the Illawarra Catholic Diocese.
“I’m an experienced principal and a strong advocate of Catholic education,” he said.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to working with the challenges.”
Mr Croker said he had an historical connection with the Shoalhaven through his parents and grandparents.
“My grandparents used to camp here with my mother and she used to take me and I have been taking my children ever since,” he said.
There are a number of changes that will be taking place in the school grounds this year, as a part of the Federal Government’s stimulus package for schools.
“We are getting a new learning centre, which is expected to be completed by July so that will provide greater opportunities for the students,” he said.
“We will be getting four new classrooms, shade structures and gardens.”
While still maintaining a strong focus on Catholic education in literacy and numeracy skills and enriching activities, Mr Croker said he hoped to integrate the environment into the curriculum.
“We are working towards environmental stewardship and associating that with the teachings of the Catholic Church which are care for people, care for your environment.”
He explained that developing partnerships with the students’ parents would be another focus.
“I think that’s a very important part of a school community,” he said.
“There is a great social cross-section of families here, a lot of diversity and I’m looking forward to meeting these families.”