Commissioning of new Principal

Fri, August 17, 2018

This week St Mark's celebrated the start of a new era, with the commissioning of new Principal Mr Steven Davies. Below is Mr Davies speech from the service:

The Right Reverend Jeremy James, Assistant Bishop of Perth, Mrs Barbara Godwin OAM, Chair of the Anglican Schools Commission, Reverend Peter Laurence OAM, Chief Executive Officer of the Anglican Schools Commission, Mr Albert Jacob, Mayor (City of Joondalup), along with South West Ward Councillors Michael Norman and Christine Hamilton-Prime, Mr Simon Green, Chair of the St Mark’s School Council, Mrs Shirley Watkins, Mrs Heather King, fellow Principals, special guests, students, staff and members of the St Mark’s community.

I feel privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility to lead the St Mark’s community into the future as the School’s fourth Principal. I am grateful for the warm and friendly welcome I have received from each member of the community whom I have met. From the moment I set foot on the campus I had a sense that this was a grounded community, and I feel that this is the place for me. I am appreciative of the legacy of those who came before, and delighted that the Foundation Principal of St Mark’s, Mrs Barbara Godwin, is with us here today. The School is a thriving, well-regarded and central part of the local community and its good reputation and long record of developing fine, well-rounded young people is built on the efforts of those who established strong foundations at St Mark’s and implemented a vision for providing a high quality, inclusive, and caring Christian education.

It is very pleasing and interesting to me that I am now a part of the St Mark’s community because my family has a strong connection to this area. My grandparents are Pioneers of Wanneroo – Charles and Rosa Pearsall, for whom the suburb is named. As children, my mother and her two younger brothers spent lots of time out this way, well before it was developed. I have heard many stories of the family driving out to Mullaloo Beach, when Mullaloo Beach Road was a sand track stretching from Pearsall’s Garage on the old Wanneroo Road to the coast, and of when this area was bush and grazing land for animals. I’m delighted that my mother and uncles, born Margaret, Alan and Ian Pearsall, are here today and believe that my Grandma and Pop would feel very satisfied that the family has returned.

I am very grateful for the love, support and encouragement of my family, partner and friends. I have benefitted greatly from the professional generosity of colleagues, mentors and leaders from throughout my career in education. I am delighted that so many of you can be here today – family, friends, and colleagues, and I thank you. You have all helped me to be my best self.

It is an exciting time in education, a time in which the young people in our care and those still to come look forward to a future very different to the one that I looked towards when I completed my secondary education in 1979. Students, you may well be creating your own jobs, ones that don’t currently exist, ones that will be of great value to others and ones that will fulfil your dreams. As educators, our focus into the future will be to nurture successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens. Personal skills and strengths will have great value in the future as the nature of work changes. The acquisition of general capabilities will take on more prominence. The development of literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, and ethical and cultural understanding will give students skills to navigate and thrive in the rapidly changing world in this 21st century. This is the new National Agenda, with the best interest of our young people at its core, and it is very important that the community understand this and gets behind the School in our efforts to prepare our young people for their future.

I see at St Mark’s the capacity to provide great opportunities for our students to equip themselves with such skills in a community that looks both inwards and outwards to engage with others for mutual benefit, finding rich and authentic contexts in which to learn and continue to grow its capacity. School will look a bit different to the way it has in the past as students are increasingly provided with voice and agency, and the ability to make choices about their learning.

As we embrace new ways of learning it is important that we adopt a growth mindset, accepting that as we learn and try new things we will make mistakes and we will learn from them. It is important to have the courage to try. If we don’t succeed the first time, we must simply understand that we can’t do that thing – YET. We’ll apply a bit of grit and determination, show some character and resilience, and try again.

Despite all the change and uncertainty in the world that is ahead, our School Values and our faith are our constants, and give us, the whole School community, comfort and direction. Our faith and values guide us every day, in the choices and decisions we make, in the way that we treat others, in the way that we approach challenges and everyday tasks. St Marks’ Values are Respect, Knowledge, Confidence, Responsibility and Community.

Respecting ourselves and others shows that we are valued. Being able to have empathy and compassion for others gives us a better understanding of them and allows a perspective on just how fortunate we are.

Knowledge, or learning, is a focus every day. It is why we are here. We learn new things, new ways of doing things, new things about ourselves and others, and we will continue to do this throughout our lives. We are not born with a fixed capacity to learn or in what we know, and we can learn to do things better, so it is important that we are always open to learning.

Confidence gives us the ability to believe in ourselves, to embrace opportunities that present themselves, to not be influenced negatively by others, rather to encourage others to be their best selves, and to be sure of ourselves as the world around us changes.

Responsibility gives us the power to be proactive, to make choices that are good for us and others, and to take control over who we want to be.

Community provides us with the relationships we need to sustain us, to support and encourage us. We are interdependent on one another and when we work in collaboration with others, we often get results that are better than if we had tried to do it on our own. In giving service to others we find a purpose bigger than ourselves.

I know I will look to our Values when I am ever unsure of what is the right thing to do. I undertake to embrace, and encourage in others, all of these Values, to be open, honest, to always act with integrity and to grow even further the trust and mutual respect within and between our School and our community. With your help, and with God’s help, I will do my best for the St Mark’s community.