News Blog

Welcome Kerry Paxton Principal of Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Pymble

January 25, 2024
A special welcome to Kerry Paxton as she steps into the role of Principal at Sacred Heart, Pymble. The last 3 years she has served as Assistant Principal and brings a wealth of experience, having previously held the position of Leader of Inclusion and Student Engagement at Blessed John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens.

Kerry is more than just an accomplished leader; she embodies a passion for education that shines through her coaching and mentoring of teachers, dedicated to ensuring each student reaches their highest potential. Here she shares in an interview her passion for education, her community and what she hopes to bring to her new position.

If we asked your closest friends, how would they describe you as a person?

Well, firstly I think they would tell you that I love my job too much and they don’t see me enough! That’s something I’m working on… But then I think that they would say that I am loyal, committed, generous and considerate. I am dreadful at scheduling catch ups but will always drop everything and show up when my friends and family need me. And then, there are the contradictions: I am a planner, but also spontaneous; predictable and routine driven, but also flexible and keen to try new adventures; I love a laugh but am also not afraid of doing hard things. Often, I even combine those last two as “laughter through tears is my favourite emotion” (Steel Magnolias, 1989).

What inspired your path into education?

There were always indicators that I would work with children. As a teenager, I held jobs in childcare and as a swimming instructor, and teaching seemed like a natural fit for my interests and skill set. I had some incredible teachers in my schooling experiences who have had a lasting impact that still inspires me today.  To learn alongside our students as they discover themselves and the world around them is exciting and meaningful. Every day is an opportunity to grow and do a little better than the day before. What a privilege it is to do what we do every day!

How do you engage parents/carers, students and staff?

I hope to not only engage but empower all members of our community in the life of our school. We know from research that a feeling of school connectedness enhances academic outcomes and wellbeing for students. School plays an integral role in the community by building positive relationships. I believe that effective partnerships between home and school, based on mutual trust, respect, and shared responsibility for the education of our children enhance and enrich the learning outcomes for students. As a Catholic community, I am passionate about undertaking acts of community service and engaging in social justice initiatives and look forward to facilitating these opportunities in my leadership.

How does your faith impact your leadership style?

I am a firm believer in the power of our Catholic schools, and it was through my early teaching positions that I was invited into the faith. Staff and families find their way to our schools for a variety of reasons, and how we respond can have a significant impact on their personal faith journey. I discerned very carefully the Confirmation Name that I would choose and it was important for me to choose the saint that had relevance and meaning for my life. Martha’s story guides my prayer, reflection and leadership. My life is often occupied with the busyness of doing and of service to others – all of which are very important, but Martha’s journey reminds me to slow down and listen. It is through listening that I find what really matters and how I can most effectively do God’s work.

What do you hope to achieve as Principal at your school?

I am blessed to have been welcomed into the Sacred Heart, Pymble community three years ago as Assistant Principal.  Being the Principal of this school is a privilege and an opportunity for which I am extremely grateful. I hope that my leadership will continue to serve the positive community relationships, strong academic achievement and commitment to support and development of the whole child through extra-curricular opportunities. I hope to foster collaboration, innovation and continuous improvement in a learning community that celebrates each individual.

What will you hope to leave as your legacy in education leadership?

This is a big question! In simple terms, it would be that every person I encounter, be that student, teacher or family member, leaves our time together having been positively influenced by the interaction. It is in the many conversations and decisions made each day that we have the power to make an immense difference in the life of a child, a fact that is always front of mind. I love this profession and feel that our current leaders have an important responsibility in ensuring that we address some, if not all, of the factors that may be holding us back from being as life-giving, sustainable and fulfilling as we could be for those of us that work in education. I hope to look back on my contributions and know that I have, in some small way, helped to leave a legacy of a thriving school system that meets the needs of both children and adults.