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Respected principal retires after 45 years in education

Well-respected educator and St Stephen's principal Ida Pinese has made the decision to retire after 45 years in education.

ONE of Mareeba’s most respect educators Ida Pinese has decided to call it a day on her career after having worked in the industry for the better part of 45 years.

Mrs Pinese, who has been a deputy principal and principal at Mareeba’s St Stephen’s Catholic College for the past 13 years, spoke glowingly about her time at the school and in the profession.

“It is said that only the brave should teach,” she said.

“After 45 years in the teaching profession, in a variety of roles, I believe this phrase is equally applicable to those who take on the challenge of becoming a principal or a school leader.

“Teachers and principals have the capacity to inspire students and assist colleagues to aspire to become leaders.

“Much is expected of those who take up leadership positions in schools and in education broadly.

“Teaching and being a principal cannot be just a job; it much be a vocation and a passion, otherwise you cannot and will not have longevity.”

Mrs Pinese noted that she has seen many changes to education over her 45-year career.

“My first placement was at Stanthorpe State High School – a school in a rural setting with approximately the same number of students as St Stephen’s,” she said.

“There were no fans or airconditioners, no photocopiers or computers, no interactive white boards and no mobile phones or social media.

“What has not changed, however, is the privilege of teaching our young people, of being invigorated and inspired by them and of making a positive difference in their lives.

“My passion for teaching was inspired by the Sisters of Mercy who taught me at Mount St Bernard College in my senior years.

“They have also been the role models for my style of servant leadership.”

Whilst her career has been one filled with many highlighted, Mrs Pinese pointed to her time at St Stephen’s as some of her most rewarding throughout her time as an educator.

“It is not often that one is involved with the formation of a new school,” she said.

“I have St Stephen’s and the Foundation Principal, Gerry Simon, to thank for this rewarding experience over the past 13 years, with the last seven as its principal.

“For me, the transition of this college from a new school to a well-established school, which punches above its weight, has been a labour of love.

“I liken it to raising a child.

“Students, it has been an honour to be your principal, to celebrate your achievements in a variety of contexts, to have empathy and compassion when things aren’t going as well as they should be, to guide and mentor you on your journey to adulthood and to share your many stories.

“Thank you for enriching my life – my time at St Stephen’s will always be a treasured memory.”

Mrs Pinese said the decision to retire has not been an easy one.

“There is sadness at leaving St Stephen’s, but also excitement at the next phase of my life, with more time for my family, including my husband who has patiently supported me in my role,” she said.

“I am grateful for the support I have received from so many people from different walks of life, many also present today, to effectively carry out my role.

“St Stephen’s is a great school, with dedicated and committed staff, supportive families and wonderful students.

“I thank you for your kind words and best wishes and wish you all the very best for the future and know that you will extend a very warm welcome to the new principal, Ms Manders, in 2020.”

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