School principal reveals the challenges and joys of leadership
26 Oct 2022
Name: Lisa Crampton
Position: Principal at St Monica’s Catholic Primary in North Parramatta
What is a typical workday like for you?
It would be easy to spend each day in my office, but it’s the other parts of my day that give me the most joy. I love greeting students and parents, talking to students about their learning, and collaborating to plan and lead learning for teachers.
What first sparked your interest in teaching?
I always wanted to be a teacher. My education career started in a community-based preschool supporting young children with additional needs. I transitioned to primary education in the Diocese of Parramatta over 15 years ago and haven’t looked back.
I have been a principal since the beginning of 2020. It was an interesting start, with COVID-19 presenting challenges. The role combines my passions for making a positive difference and educational leadership.
What do you like most about the job?
I love the people – my colleagues, students, parents and the broader community. The sense of belonging and community is deeply satisfying.
What was the most unexpected thing you have had to do in your job?
Managing COVID-19 was certainly unexpected. I needed to change my expectations of the role and the type of leader I would be. I had to make rapid decisions in an ever-changing environment and find creative ways to make families feel welcomed and valued. More recently, the everyday unexpectedness continues to surprise me, including dressing up as Mr Potato Head for a dance challenge.
What is the worst thing you have had to do?
The hardest part of a principal’s job is when there is tragedy within the school community. As teachers, helping others is at our core, and when there is tragedy, we feel helpless.
What challenges have you faced during the pandemic?
We moved quickly to online learning, although it was a steep learning curve for some teachers and families. We provided families with devices and internet access when needed. The greatest challenge was keeping students and families who feel connected. We live-streamed assemblies, sports lessons and social gatherings, including discos and trivia games.
How transferable are your skills?
The skills are transferable to any industry requiring clear and effective communication, collaboration, problem-solving and vision for improvement. The ability to build and maintain respectful relationships with various stakeholders is transferable to all industries.
What advice do you have for people wanting to get into a leadership role like yours?
A leadership role in education is challenging and, at times, exhausting, but it is also incredibly rewarding and humbling. My advice is to be a learner, try new things, make mistakes, be aware of current research and theory and, most importantly, listen more than you talk.
What skills and personal skills do people need in teaching?
The most essential skill in teaching is enthusiasm. In the face of tremendous change, you need to be flexible and adaptable, patient and resilient. A great sense of humour and the ability to not take yourself too seriously also helps.
04 Mar 2024
📚✝️ Celebrating the inspiring legacy of Catherine McAuley as we kick off Catholic Schools Week at St. Monica's with a special Mercy performance! As a community it is important to learn about her vision and commitment to education and this performance was a great way to educate our school about her impact. We are proudly a Mercy school that aims to live out the values that Catherine displayed throughout her life 🙏🏼 #CatholicSchoolsWeek #CatherineMcAuley
03 Mar 2024
St Monica’s scientists have been stirring up fun and learning whilst on a wibbly-wobbly adventure. 🧪✨ Stage 2 students are on a scrumptious journey through the states of matter! 🍮🔬 They made jelly whilst investigating the effects of heating and cooling solids and liquids. 👩🔬👨🔬
29 Feb 2024
Kindergarten students have been busy blending sounds to make words. This week they have been using magnetic letters to build words ending in ‘ook’. Students (and their teachers!) are SO PROUD of their new learning! 🌟🌟🌟
28 Feb 2024
Our super 🌟 swimmers took on the Cumberland Zone Carnival today! 🏊♀️ Every student represented St Monica’s with pride and gave their very best in competing and displaying sportsmanship. 🤝 SEVEN students have qualified to represent the zone at the diocesan level!🏅Congratulations to Alessia who walked away as the Senior Girls Age CHAMPION! 👏 We are SO proud of each one of you! 💛
28 Feb 2024
Kindergarten historians brought in family treasures today! They excitedly showed their treasures and shared family stories. It was great to see the students present to their peers as well as listen to and learn from each other.
26 Feb 2024
This Lenten season, FIAT students are challenging the members of SMNP to give more of themselves. 🤝 Each day, students have been focusing on a specific way in which they can be a safe, respectful learner. 🥰 Various FIAT students are also leading prayer during the second break every Friday during Lent to give thanks for what we are fortunate to have, and to ask God to protect and care for those in need. 🙏🏼
25 Feb 2024
Board games aren't just fun; they're powerful tools for learning too! 🎲🧠 Watching our Year 3 students learn to strategise and communicate to resolve conflict teaches us all a valuable lesson: words are the ultimate game-changer 🗣
24 Feb 2024
FriYAY is the best day of the week in Year 4! 🤩 We have Athletics lessons with Lachlan from ZING Activ! 🏃♂️ Our Athletics Carnival is only in a few weeks. We are almost ready! 🥇
23 Feb 2024
Every student is welcomed, cared for and supported at St Monica's. Applications from new and existing families welcome. Enrol now for 2025 and express your interest today. Limited places! Learn more here: https://www.stmonicasparra.catholic.edu.au/enrolment/tours-and-events