Catholic Schools NSW's latest 'Teacher Feature' stars Mr Stephen Lo Cascio, principal of Mount Carmel Catholic College, Varroville. Mount Carmel College is a Year 7-12 co-educational Catholic college serving the parishes of Campbelltown, Eagle Vale, Ingleburn, Macquarie Fields, Ruse and Varroville in the Macarthur region.
The College has a student population of 1,080, supported by 95 members of staff.
We spent #OneMinuteWith Steve to ask him a bit about his background and aspirations in Catholic education...
What made you become involved in education?
Throughout my upper secondary schooling, I had wanted to enter law and was working toward this from about Year 8. Just before the HSC trials, I changed my mind and decided that I wanted to work with people to stimulate their enthusiasm and passion to ‘know’ more. I felt that working as a teacher would be more fulfilling than a career where I would always be trying to get the upper hand and win. Working with people was something that my parents had always valued and having two older brothers and a mother working in schools, this seemed a natural progression.
Where did you go to school?
I attended Lurnea Infants Public School and then went to St Mary’s which followed into Patrician Brothers in Liverpool. In Years 11 and 12, I attended St Gregory’s College in Campbelltown.
Was there a teacher you had that inspired you or stood out?
I was influenced by a number of teachers who have been role models of what I want to do and want to avoid. I think that taking the best from everyone you encounter and trying to emulate that, helps you to become better at what you do and the person you are. In my philosophy of education and leadership in a Catholic school I was fortunate that I have worked under the Patrician, Marist, Josephite and Benedictine Charisms and each of these has helped to develop who I am. I am specifically grateful to Sr Mary-Ellen O’Donoghue who showed me a philosophy of leadership that I aspire to.
What did you hope to achieve in your role?
The philosophy that I have brought to Mount Carmel is that I want to continue to develop a community that is Christ-centred and that provides opportunities for excellence. If our students and staff complete their time knowing that they were cared for and were supported to do their best, we have achieved something special as a community and I would be proud to have led this.
If you were Education Minister for a day, what is one thing that you would change?
I would initiate a program where senior education officials were required to spend regular periods in schools. Walking beside teachers and students would give a great insight into what is actually happening in schools and the constant demands placed on teachers and schools. Whilst I recognise the many competing demands and social expectations on schools, I think it is important to also acknowledge the reality of limited time and resources that schools have access to. We need to focus on our mission and our core business of Learning and Teaching.