Home' The Southern Cross : April 2016 Contents Page 12 April 2016
Southern Cross | feature
It’s an exciting time for everyone involved
with St Columba College – students,
teachers and parents alike.
Celebrating its 20th year, 2016 is not only
a perfect moment to stop and reflect on
past achievements, but more importantly
an ideal time to put the wheels in motion to
maximise the opportunities of the future.
At the forefront of writing the next chapter
of the college’s success story is Leanne
Carr, who took over as principal of the
Andrew Farms R-12 college at the start of
Still struggling to remember the names
of her students – something she prided
herself on at her previous posting as
principal of St Joseph’s in Hectorville –
Leanne says she is thrilled to be guiding
the combined Anglican/Catholic college
into its next decade.
“The college is a vital part of this
community,” she told The Southern Cross.
“What has struck me are the very high
expectations here around achievement
and success and that the staff are really
committed to providing the best possible
learning environment for all children.”
In its early days, the college was
surrounded by farm land and open areas,
but over the past 20 years the area has
been extensively developed reflecting the
growing sprawl of the northern suburbs.
Apartments, houses and shopping centres
are now close by and the college has also
grown, from an initial 187 students and 12
staff to now having 1423 students and 170
staff accommodated over three campuses.
However, despite it’s expanded footprint,
St Columba has remained true to its
vision and maintained a welcoming and
calm environment for its community –
which is clearly evident when sitting in
the principal’s office overlooking the
man-made lake, complete with swans
Leanne adds to this sense of calm as a
leader who wants to listen to everyone and
hear their views about the way forward.
“We need to be progressive about our
learning program. It is a time of great
change, if you think about technology and
how the world is changing.
“We’ve got to keep moving forward
and that is a challenge for teachers too.
Traditional methods aren’t enough any
more, we need to be teaching in the
classroom and working with children in
ways that are meeting their needs.
“We need to develop skills that will support
them for a world they are in, but also
moving into,” she said.
To assist her in making decisions for the
future, Leanne has been drawing on the
knowledge of staff.
“I worked with the staff in January and it
was evident to me that we needed to have
some directions in place for the year and
get staff input on the story of St Columba.
They were asked what they would like to
see be maintained coming into our 20th
year and what should we let go of.
“That feedback has been critical and
I’ve been able to take that back to the
leadership team. What is really evident
here is the staff know the college really well
and they see their work as a vocation.”
She also plans to conduct forums in order
to get input from her students, as well as
canvassing the views of parents.
“The parents here have high aspirations for
their children and success is highly valued.
“There is also a strong prayer and liturgical
life to the college,” she added, reinforcing
St Columba’s vision ‘to nurture in our
students and the wider community a close
relationship with God, a passion for living
and a life-long love of learning’.
“We want every child to fulfil their
Leanne suggested that her inclusive
leadership style was probably developed
during her decade-long stint as an
education consultant, where she worked
across the four sectors – university,
independent, Catholic and government
schools – with a particular focus on
researching the middle years of schooling.
“That work was quite pivotal for me as
it enabled me to work quite closely with
teachers and hear about their perspectives
on schools and learning. I think all of that
work really formed my own leadership and
how I wanted to work with staff, children
Exciting new chapter for St Columba
NEW FACE: Principal Leanne Carr gets to know students from left, Matthew, Vincent, Maegan and Chantal. Below: Leanne lights a
candle at her commissioning service.
Middle School (Year 8) Thursday 7 April: 9:30am - 11:00am
Primary School (Reception) Tuesday 12 April: 9:30am - 11:00am
To register your
St Columba College
A joint Anglican and Catholic College
Discover more at
St Columba College is a private co-educational
R-12 College based in Andrews Farm, SA
When St Columba College was established in 1997, the campus was surrounded by vast open spaces and farm land.
Now in its 20th year, it has become a part of suburbia, with shopping centres and apartments nearby reflecting the growth
of the northern suburbs. New principal Leanne Carr talks to Lindy McNamara about the challenges and opportunities
as she takes the college into the next chapter of its short history.
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