As Principal of Santa Maria College since 2011 Deborah Barker has been a champion of holistic education. With a radical commitment to the idea that young people grow and learn when they are known within a vibrant and welcoming community, Deborah’s leadership has been visionary and inspirational.
The Three Villages, One Community model is a physical expression of this. At home in their developmental age groups, girls develop confidence and agency. Student voice and student leadership are extensive within each village, and the concept of guardianship by all for all is both practised and promoted.
Educational innovation has been a hallmark of Deborah’s leadership. The authorisation of Santa Maria College as a Global School, International Baccalaureate: Middle Years Program, is a significant example of this leadership. The IB framework for learning enhances the Victorian Curriculum with skills and knowledge that are relevant in local, national and international arenas. Never has there been a more urgent need for these skills.
Santa Maria consistently achieves academic success with strong VCE results, as well as VCAL and VET, resulting in a culture of learning and pathways for all.
For many years the College has also been the highest recipient of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh in the State of Victoria.
The impact of Deborah’s leadership is perhaps seen most clearly in the qualities of the young women who graduate from Santa Maria. These are young women who are well educated, with clear voices and a strong sense of social justice, able to adapt to the challenges of an uncertain world and to contribute positively in creating our collective future.
Deborah’s leadership of Santa Maria will conclude at the end of 2020 as she prepares for her new role as Principal of St Kevin’s College, Toorak, in 2021.
The culture of learning she has promoted, the sense of community she has nurtured, and the equal participation of girls and women she has modelled and championed throughout her time as principal will be carried forward.
Just as the village model mobilises many layers of support around each student, a community of college leaders has been developed under Deborah’s principalship.
With the support of an innovative College Board, the ongoing leadership of Santa Maria College is in experienced and committed hands.
Carolyn McCarthy will assume the role of Acting Principal at Santa Maria College in 2021. She is currently the Deputy Principal Wellbeing. She has held this position since 2016, having held major leadership positions at the college for the last 10 years.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Carolyn knows every Santa Maria student by name. This speaks of her belief that a young person’s capacity to learn and to grow is directly connected to their sense of belonging, of being known, within a warm and vital community.
Carolyn’s background is in wellbeing, professional growth and curriculum, with teaching methods in Physical Education and Health, English and Religious Education.
In her role as Deputy Principal Carolyn has worked closely with students and families and has seen first hand many of the challenges they face.
She has a clear understanding that the world our students are entering is fast-changing and increasingly unpredictable. Skills that can be transferred from one career to another, from one profession to another, are vital to success.
As part of the College Leadership Team Carolyn has played a key role in implementing and developing innovative programs in education and wellbeing, and in advancing a school community that has gospel values at its heart.
Supported by a visionary College Board and an experienced College Leadership Team, Carolyn will ensure stability and consistency in how the college moves forward. She will bring her own considerable gifts to the fundamental task for which the College is known.
At Santa Maria we know girls, and empower them towards fullness of life!