Carolina brings with her a lengthy educational portfolio, teaching History for 28 years as well as working in a range of other teaching and leadership roles in government, Independent and Catholic schools in the UK and Australia. Most recently, Carolina has been Assistant Principal: Student Achievement at St Leo’s Catholic College at Wahroonga. Prior to this, she held the positions of Director of Teaching and Learning at St Edward’s College at East Gosford (2018-2021) and Dean of Learning at Loreto Normanhurst (2013-2018).
What inspired your path into education?
I was drawn to teaching to make a difference in the lives of young people. I grew up in inner city London, my family arrived in the UK as refugees from Chile and I grew up in social housing. My education provided me with incredible opportunities. I experienced the empowering impact of education and felt to inspire young people to see new possibilities for themselves also. My Catholic education was fundamental in shaping me as an educator and I am driven to imbue students with a strong sense of justice and a belief in the capacity of human beings to do God’s work by attending to the needs of the poor and marginalised by following Christ’s example. My passion for the teaching of History has been at the heart of my teaching career and I have found great joy and fulfilment in providing young people with an understanding of how humanity has shaped the world we live in today.
How do you engage parents/ carers, students and staff?
Schools are above all communities; they are not so much buildings but groups of people with a shared vision. Leading a school community is about co-constructing a desired future by identifying opportunities for growth and improvement and together developing the strategies that will get us there. Ultimately schools are there to empower young people with the knowledge and understanding they will need to thrive and flourish throughout their lives, and I work to inspire communities to engage with how we can best do this.
How does your faith impact your leadership style?
My faith provides the foundations for how I engage with my work both as a teacher and leader. I place the dignity of the human person, made in the image of God, at the centre of my work and this guides me in building the relationships that are the engine room of schools. It also drives me to create inclusive environments that celebrate the diverse qualities and gifts of our students. I have a strong belief that all students can learn and achieve and that it is a core mission of our schools to provide all students with the tools to succeed.
If we asked your closest friends, how would they describe you as a person?
People do tell me I’m a ‘glass half-full’ person. My friends and colleagues have described me as calm, supportive and collaborative with a sense of humour. They would also tell you that I have a love of rugby league and (real) football and am tragically committed to the Parramatta Eels and the Central Coast Mariners.
What do you hope to achieve as Principal at your school?
I hope to serve the community of St Joseph’s and bring growth and improvement to the school in a range of areas. Improvement can be seen as a difficult word, as it can imply an existing deficit, but growth and development are necessary if we are to meet the challenges of preparing our students for an ever-changing world. As a principal of a girls’ school, I hope that I can make a significant contribution to creating a generation of empowered young women who are keen to grasp the opportunities before them so that they can fully realise their potential in all areas of their lives; personally, professionally and spiritually.
What will you hope to leave as your legacy in education leadership?
Ultimately, our legacy as educators are the students and the productive lives of opportunity that we prepare them to live. I hope that our graduates are hope-filled and committed to using their God-given gifts to make a better world. Perhaps the best legacy of all is that our students are inspired by their school experience to make a difference in the world either through their choice of career or through their commitment to parish life or social justice.