When Catholic Ladies’ College principal Stephanie Evans started her schooling in the early 1970s, her true passion for education was not always evident.
When she was a young girl, her family moved from India – where she was born – to Australia in 1971, settling in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
Stephanie was enrolled to attend Holy Child Primary School in Dallas soon after, discovering that her passions at that time lived more at home than in the classroom.
“I didn’t last my first day,” Stephanie says.
“I ran away from school to go back to my grandparents’ house; I think I was looking for the comforts of home.”
3 things I have learnt
1. The importance of developing right and respectful relationships with young women is a significant influence on student motivation,
well-being and learning outcomes.
2. Having a solution-focused approach to managing all types of situations that may arise. This requires patience, perseverance and optimism.
3. Authentic leaders lead by example. They give of their heart, hand and head for the benefit of the organisation.
While there were early hurdles to overcome, Stephanie started school the next year at a new school, St Dominic’s in Melbourne’s north-west, where her mother was a teacher and where her love of education began to flourish.
“I really enjoyed my primary school experience and it’s where my love for learning was first inspired – my secondary education built on this,” she says.
At Sancta Sophia College, a year 7-10 school in Glenroy, Stephanie was first exposed to a Sisters of Charity school – the same as Catholic Ladies’ College – and her final two years of schooling were completed at Melbourne’s Geoghegan College.
“I had inspirational teachers, at both primary and secondary school, who focused not only on academic achievement and endeavour but personal growth and development,” she says.
After completing her high school studies, Stephanie attended the University of Melbourne, where she studied to be a teacher.
“A holistic education is exceptionally important; it challenges the mind and heart. Of equal importance is having a safe and supportive learning community.”
It was perhaps not such a surprise she chose teaching as a career, not only because of her own love of education but also because of her wider family connection to the job.
“I come from a family of teachers,” Stephanie says. “My mother was a primary school teacher with over 40 years of experience, my brother is a secondary school principal and my sister-in-law, sister, nephew, uncle and cousin are all teachers. They, along with me, all teach in Catholic schools.”
Stephanie started her career at Catholic Ladies’ College in 1989, where she became a first-year teacher. She has been there ever since, taking on leadership roles within the school before becoming principal at the start of 2016.
“I held a number of leadership roles including the head of the commerce faculty, student leadership co-ordinator, VCE co-ordinator, staff professional learning co-ordinator, director of college operations, deputy principal (student well-being) for five years and deputy principal (learning and teaching) for three years,” Stephanie says.
Throughout her career she taught VCE students, helping them to find their own passions in education as her teachers had done for her.
Stephanie’s proudest moments are watching these same students become great successes.
“This is particularly so when I have known that a student has faced challenges and risen above them, while they have remained focused on their preferred future,” she says.
“I also feel most proud when a student who works hard achieves their goals.
“To see young women grow in confidence and mature in character also makes me very proud.”
ABOUT CATHOLIC LADIES’ COLLEGE
- Catholic Ladies’ College is a Sisters of Charity school in the leafy suburb of Eltham. The school aims to foster a passion for lifelong learning for the holistic development of each student.
- Catholic Ladies’ College also strives to provide contemporary, innovative and engaging programs and facilities for all students.