Celebrating 30 Years in Catholic Education

Simone Sawiris, Deputy Principal, Teaching & Learning, has held a number of different positions in Catholic Schools across Perth during her career. This week, she was recognised for 30 years in Catholic Education.

We chatted with Simone about her teaching career and how things have changed over the last 30 years.

What was your first teaching role?  

I was given the opportunity to teach a science class at Servite College while employed as a laboratory technician. I was completing my Graduate Diploma of Education, and there was a class without a teacher, so I was lucky enough to step in. I knew I loved teaching from that moment on! 

Which schools have you taught at?

At Prendiville Catholic College as a Science and Religious Education teacher, Head of Year and Head of House (2002 – 2016). At Aquinas College as Head of Science (2017) and at Santa Maria College (from 2002 – 2016 and 2018 – present) as Head of Year, Head of House, Head of Science and Deputy Principal.

What changes have you witnessed teaching in Catholic schools over the last 30 years?

The incredible growth of digital technologies in education. In the classroom as a teaching tool, used for administration and record-keeping purposes and to communicate with students, colleagues and parents. It has been a huge impact on how we do things, but face-to-face, explicit teaching has never lost its impact. Tech just makes it more efficient, in my opinion.

Do you have a favourite memory or highlight of the last 30 years?

I have two. Working with the many people involved in helping design the amazing science facilities in the Consilii building, which opened in 2015 and receiving an unexpected email from one of my past Human Biology students who wanted to thank me for influencing her decision to become a teacher several years after she graduated. 

Has working in Catholic education developed you as a person and professionally?

It certainly has. After attending a Catholic high school, I had a strong sense of faith and social justice. Working in a Catholic Mercy school has given me so many opportunities to develop and share my faith with others. This is my favourite thing about working in the Catholic sector – the ability to connect with others who openly speak and live their values.

Has there been anyone who has inspired you throughout your career?

I had a special teacher of Biology, Gerry Giannasi, in Years 11 and 12. He ignited my love of science and nature. Gerry also was my first Head of Science and was a wonderful leader, mentor and friend. Coincidentally, Gerry was acknowledged for 40 years of service in Catholic education on the same day as I was acknowledged for 30 years.

What do you enjoy most about teaching girls?

I love their willingness to work hard to achieve their goals, to take on new opportunities and to generously serve others.

What’s the best thing about your current role?

Working with an incredibly dedicated team of teachers and leaders who inspire our girls to be their best and find joy in small things.

If you could sit down to dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

My grandmother Stella. She passed away when I was 6 years old. She was a special person in my early life, and I am sure we would have lots of laughs together now that I am an adult.

Thank you for your service to Catholic education in Western Australia, Simone! We are very fortunate to have you as part of the College Leadership Team.

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