Catholic Schools NSW's latest 'Teacher Feature' stars Mr Danny Sykes, principal of Stella Maris Catholic Primary School, Shellharbour. Stella Maris was founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1958. Seven Sisters of Charity have guided Stella Maris in faith, hope and love as educational leaders since the school's foundation, including Sr Colleen Mills, who retired in 2009 – the last Sister of Charity principal in the country.
We spent #OneMinuteWith Danny to ask him about his hopes in Catholic education and returning as principal to the primary school he once attended himself...
What made you become involved in education?
I am the youngest of five and I remember as I was growing up my mother would try to encourage my older siblings to become teachers. None of the others went down this path, but I was taken by how much my mum loved learning and valued having an education, so I decided to become a teacher.
Where did you go to school?
As a child I went to Stella Maris Catholic Primary School, Shellharbour (the school where I’m now principal) before attending Edmund Rice College Wollongong for my secondary education.
WAS THERE A TEACHER YOU HAD THAT INSPIRED YOU OR STOOD OUT?
At Edmund Rice I was fortunate to be taught by a Christian Brother, Victor Bell in First and Second Form (Years 7 and 8). He really cared for each individual student and taught us many things including manners and etiquette.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR ROLE?
In my role I hope to focus on promoting and developing an inclusive and welcoming school community, where there is a positive culture and a real focus on improving learning outcomes for all students.
IF YOU WERE EDUCATION MINISTER FOR A DAY, WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU WOULD CHANGE?
I would re-establish a focus on creativity in teaching, valuing the role that creative and critical thinking plays in the learning process.