Simon Hyland is the Senior Lead – Evangelisation at CSBB. Along with Karen Pezutto, Senior Lead – Catechesis, together they support Danny Casey, Director of Schools in leading the Evangelisation and Catechesis Workstream.
What is your role and who does it serve?
My role is to work with system leaders and their leadership teams, staff and students (and parents) to enhance and strengthen a Catholic culture in all our schools. To know Christ more fully and to grow in relationship with Christ is at the heart of Catholic culture and this flows into our actions towards others.
Who do you look to for inspiration or mentorship?
I have had many amazing mentors and people who have encouraged me on my journey. My parents always supported me. My wife Emma is my best sounding board and positivity coach. Through my work in youth and music ministry, many clergy have inspired me with their faith and dedication. As a teacher, there have been amazing examples of best practice and role models among colleagues who have shared their expertise with me. Virginia Ryan was an advocate for me and encouraged me to share my gifts for the benefit of others.
How has your career journey happened so far?
I feel that God has guided me through many chapters and opportunities to where I am today. Professional theatre and music was an early chapter where I followed my passion for the creative arts. Youth Ministry was next and I dedicated 12 years to parish and Diocesan youth and music ministry and events. Both my parents were teachers so I felt a natural next step was to train in education. I then worked at the CSO in 2017, before I spent 4 years at an Independent Catholic school where I taught religion and music as well as leading Liturgies and Retreats with the mission team. I am thrilled to be a part of CSBB and to give 100% to our vision and goals of Towards 2025 and beyond.
How is your work making a difference?
That is up to God. I think if we give our best and ground everything we do in prayer then God leads us to opportunities that can make a difference in people’s lives. My job is to be ‘in tune’ as best as I can to those opportunities and to work with the amazing people in our schools to make a difference in the lives of our students.
What are your current goals?
My professional goals are aligned to Towards 2025. I want to play my part in developing the Learning Improvement Plan across our system, particularly in Driver 1 – Strengthen a Catholic culture. I also want to do some more study. Personal goals include getting better at handyman jobs around my house, improving my golf handicap, reading amazing books, travelling more often and staying fit and healthy.
What motivates you?
When I see someone do something inspiring or something I think I could do, it makes me want to follow that example. Sport or exercise, music, being healthy, a great project idea, creating art or music, an amazing story, cooking, gardening etc. My prayer life also keeps me motivated.
Who do you look to for inspiration?
Jesus is a pretty big inspiration, although he sets a pretty high standard! I love inspiring sports stars like Cam Smith (golf), Ash Barty, Emma McKeon, Cadel Evans, Manchester United and the QLD state of Origin team! I love writers who can create stories that capture my imagination and interest. I am inspired by Pope Francis, Nelson Mandela, St Augustine, Padre Pio, and the people who created ‘The Chosen’ bible series. I think Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings can teach us that good will always prevail!
How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I learn best by doing, and as there are lots of things happening at CSBB I’m learning things every day! I seek advice from those around me and I maintain my prayer life. I love working in collaboration with people and in teams to achieve the best outcomes. I’m looking forward to doing more study – in my spare time!
What is one thing that makes you proud?
I would definitely say my family. My wife and three children are very important in my life and I am very proud of them all. At WYD in Madrid I got to sing one of my original songs in front of 2 million people. Pretty happy with that gig!
How do you align with the visions and mission of CSBB?
My life is founded on a relationship with Jesus. This relationship forms the rock on which I build my other relationships, my vocation, my work and everything in my life. I strive to live out the mission and values of CSBB everyday through faith, joy, witness, compassion and courage.
Thank you to Simon for taking the time to talk with us today! We are so inspired by your enthusiasm for your work and thankful for your contribution to Catholic Schools Broken Bay.