The Southern Cross : May 2010
The Southern Cross May 2010 Page 15 www.adelaide.catholic.org.au feature You could easily imagine that when Liz Keogh settles in for the night, draped across her bedside cabinet is a superhero's cape and mask. The 48-year-old principal heads a school of 190 children, most of whom she knows by name, in a tight-knit Adelaide community reliant on each other and their neighbours to get ahead. She is a mum to two teenagers and helps run a household with her husband, also a principal at an Adelaide Catholic primar y school. Weeknights are scheduled around soccer practice, extra-curricular school activities, parent-teacher nights and staf f meetings. When she's out at a meeting, he's home with the kids, and vice versa. It's definitely a tag-team operation that keeps life at home, and at school, running smoothly. Ms Keogh says nothing more than perhaps a multivitamin in the morning is fuelling what sometimes seems to be super-human powers -- qualities possessed by many of her colleagues leading schools across South Australia. "I have to be super organised," says Ms Keogh, principal for the past year at Christ the King School (R-5), in Warradale. "You come into this job being a teacher and ultimately that's what you love doing -- you love to teach," she says. However, the often increasing administrative load of a principal, and cer tainly more so for those running smaller schools on tighter budgets and with fewer staf f, means much less time in the classroom. It is a par t of her role that Ms Keogh finds frustrating. "When I became principal, I had a lot more administrative tasks and par t of that is being in a smaller school too: there is only so much my administrative staf f can do," she says. "I'd much rather be in a classroom teaching." Ms Keogh was born in Holbrook, a small farming community in southern New South Wales, where she attended a Catholic primar y school before boarding at St Joseph's Lady's College, in Albur y, for secondar y school. She graduated from a teaching degree at the Australian Catholic University, in Melbourne, and then spent several years teaching and also consulting on behavioral management, at schools in Victoria. She has a Masters degree in educational studies with a research project into bullying. She married par tner Paul Ford, currently principal at St Francis of Assisi School in Newton, and worked par t-time as a teacher and studied a Masters degree in leadership in theology at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra, while raising children Madeline and Daniel. When the family moved to Adelaide in 2005, Ms Keogh began teaching at Antonio Catholic School (R-7), at Morphett Vale, and then went on to become deputy principal at St David's School (R-7), at Tea Tree Gully. She was appointed to the principal's chair for the first time in Februar y last year and feels at home among Christ the King School's friendly community. "Coming from a countr y background, I like the community appeal of our school," says Ms Keogh. "I like knowing the names of the kids and the parents and the staff here are very good and very dedicated to the students and their learning needs." So central to the school is the mantra of neighbourly love that it will be using par t of the Federal Government's Building Education Revolution (BER) funding for a new multi-purpose hall, including a cafe for the wider school community to use. "It's about (the café) being a centre for people to gather and get to know each other better," says Ms Keogh. The café will be built on the site of the former Christ the King Church, which was demolished last year. It is the second school term the students and their families have been without a local church, having to travel to St Joseph's Church, at Brighton. Ms Keogh says one of the challenges facing the smaller parish school was "being a church without a church". She says the school must "become the church" and provide students and parents with a faith-filled education without feeling disconnected by the lack of presence of a physical church. On reflection though, she says the school community is such a warm and friendly one that its sense of faith, of belonging and of worship is cemented by friendships spanning decades. She recalls, to her utter surprise, arriving at the school late last year after 5pm to lock the school gates only to find the Class of 1961 marching to music in the school grounds. They were continuing the school's 50th anniversar y celebrations, which had star ted at the school several hours earlier in the day. "They had come from all over the countr y and they had convinced their former teacher to come along too and they celebrated all day and all night," says Ms Keogh. "The fact that they had such a connection with their primar y school and their teacher, who taught them 50 years earlier, was amazing," she says. "They epitomise this wonder ful commitment to the school and to the school community that I have encountered at Christ the King." And that is what keeps her going. SNAPSHOT Christ the King School, Dunrobin Rd, Warradale R-5 Enrolment: 190 Established: 1959 by Sisters of the Good Samaritan Ethos: a school community with compassion and justice for all and one which embraces hospitality by welcoming students and families without judgment or prejudice. "All guests are to be welcomed as Christ". (Rule of Benedict Ch 53:1) Continuing our series on principals, REBECCA DIGIROLAMO visits Christ The King School, at Warradale, and discovers the challenges and rewards of leading a school in the 21st centur y. Meeting the challenge YARD DUTY: Christ The King School principal Liz Keogh reflects on the challenges and rewards of being a parent, a wife and heading a Catholic primary school into the 21st century: "I have to be super organised." Photo: Kate Elmes MARY MacKILLOP Saints and Holiness in the CATHOLIC TRADITION Saturday May 15, 2010 9:30 am --- 3:30 pm Venue: Adelaide West Uniting Church, 312 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Brooklyn Park Enter via Beverley Street OR via the front entrance to ACD Campus. Parking: Free - on the Church grounds BYO lunch. Refreshments provided Cost: $25 What does it mean to be a saint in the Catholic Tradition? 34 Lipsett Terrace, BROOKLYN PARK SA 5032 P: 8416 8460 F: 8416 8470 E: email@example.com W: www.ctcsa.edu.au Catholic Theological College of SA BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL CLOSING DATE: 11th May, 2010 Phone --- Cris Henriksson on 8416 8460 Email --- firstname.lastname@example.org Book online --- www.ctcsa.edu.au This year being the year of the Canonization of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the first Australian to be canonized, Catholic Theological College faculty will look at Mary MacKillop, Saints and Holiness in the Catholic Tradition from biblical, theological, philosophical, ethical, spiritual and historical perspectives. Photos used with permission of the Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph. Must not be reproduced without the permission of the Trustees.