Evolving leaders in Catholic schools


​​Christina Poletto will take on the role as Principal at St Joseph's School, Childers

​CHRISTINA Poletto always knew she was going to be a teacher in a Catholic school from as early as six years of age, but she never imagined becoming a leader of one.

Now, after 23 years of dedication to the all-round academic and faith development of young students, Ms Poletto's teaching and leadership abilities have been recognised earning the top job as Principal of St Joseph's School, Childers, beginning in 2022.

This will be Ms Poletto's first-ever appointment as a Principal after serving as the Assistant Principal Religious Education (APRE) for the last seven years at Star of the Sea Catholic School, Torquay.  

She comes to her new position well qualified having recently completed Brisbane Catholic Education's 'Women – Breakthrough to Principalship' program run in conjunction with the University of QLD, and a Masters Degree in Religious Education in 2014.   

“Back then, I never saw myself as ever being in the driver's seat, but the Head of Campus at Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarborough, at the time, Patrick Davis, recognised my ability to take the reins," Ms Poletto said.

“I think it took someone else to see the leadership qualities in me, for me to recognise them in myself and to grow in confidence."   

Ms Poletto began studying her Masters degree soon after gaining her first acting APRE role at Southern Cross Catholic College in 2010.

This, together with several of the leadership courses offered by Brisbane Catholic Education have helped her flourish in leadership positions.

She has a long history in teaching and leadership roles at Southern Cross Catholic College, Kippa Ring and All Saints Primary School, Albany Creek, Columba Catholic College, Charters Towers, Good Counsel Primary School, Innisfail, and Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarborough.  

Her first ever job teaching was with Year 5 students at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Cranbrook, a suburb of Townsville.

“I clearly remember I had 32 students in my class who were all very excited to have me as their teacher and threw a big surprise birthday party for me!" she recalls.

According to her current staff members at Star of the Sea, Ms Poletto has many outstanding leadership qualities and will be sadly missed by her colleagues, parents and the students themselves.  

Principal Nathan Wilson says she is deserving of this role and has certainly enriched the religious education at Star of the Sea Catholic School.

“She has led the enhancement of our school's charism and the development of our whole-school Religious Education Program, playing a significant role in developing the faith formation of staff, students and their families," he said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Ms Poletto. I will certainly miss her support."   

Ms Poletto said she was humbled to have this opportunity to be a leader in a Catholic school.

“I try to get to read to the prep students at Star of the Sea most days and I am reminded of what a privilege it is to be involved in the lives of many students and to help them grow towards a lifelong path of faith and learning."  

She says the greatest challenge in her new role next year will be getting to know on a personal level all 100 pupils and their families at St Joseph's in Childers.  

“Having the opportunity to work with a small, close-knit school community will be both daunting and appealing. I aim to broaden and deepen my own leadership skills and build a sense of trust to continue and build upon the good work that Principal Petra Hass has already achieved.  

“I want to become part of the St Joseph's school community and build successful partnerships in learning between students, teachers, parents and pastors," she added.

“As an educator we must always be prepared to continue to learn.

There are always better ways to do things and to improve.

It's important to never be afraid to fail and to access the wealth of knowledge that is around us in Catholic schools as we have so many wonderful and positive role models.  

“Teaching is a rewarding profession, especially fulfilling when your students come back to you and tell you what a difference you have made in their lives.  

“I never wanted to do anything but teach," she said.

“Even now, I couldn't imagine teaching anywhere else but in Catholic schools."

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