Dear St Michael’s College community,
After eight and a half years of outstanding leadership as Principal of St Michael’s College, and previously eight years as Deputy Principal, John Foley has advised me that he will not be seeking to extend his tenure beyond his current term and has decided to conclude his time as Principal of St Michael’s College at the end of the 2021 school year.
As only the second lay Principal, John has led the College to new heights with his love for, and knowledge of, education in the Lasallian tradition with St Michael’s continuing to demonstrate the underlying philosophy of education which we trace back to St John Baptist de La Salle. Under John’s inspiring leadership, St Michael’s has become a Lasallian lighthouse school with an outstanding reputation for excellence.
Held in high esteem by Br David Hawke, Brother Visitor, the Lasallian Mission Council and the De La Salle Brothers for his personal qualities and his professional expertise, John is a valued member of the Gerard Rummery Institute Committee, the District Chapter Steering Committee, and a presenter in the Lasallian formation program Together for Mission.
John Foley’s time as Principal is marked by many outstanding achievements, in particular working with the Board on changes to the governance structure, funding arrangements and College land purchase; the $12.7m Lasallian Education Centre, modelled on a contemporary university design and including flexible learning spaces and a café; the $6.5m innovative and exciting building project on the Beverley Campus, opened early in 2021; the introduction of the College Learning Management System (SEQTA); the enrolment of a full Year 7 cohort at the Henley Campus in 2019; primary coeducation in Reception from the commencement of 2021; the development of the current Vision Statement (Community, Challenge, Choice); marked improvement in academic achievement including SACE results; enrolment growth: and the successful navigation of Covid to mention just a few of a lengthy list of achievements.
John’s departure from St Michael’s at the end of the year presents the College, and the Board in particular, with an exciting challenge – that of the selection of a new Principal. The College community can be assured that the Board will be very proactive in ensuring that the process is completed as expeditiously as possible, in a manner designed to ensure that we appoint another outstanding Principal to lead the College into this exciting next chapter of the College’s story. I have no doubt that the position of Principal of St Michael’s College will attract exceptional candidates.
The Board is committed to ensuring that the delivery of quality education at the College and our strong Lasallian tradition will continue to grow with the appointment of our next Principal so that St Michael’s will continue to be one of the leading Catholic schools in Adelaide.
As this process may take time, and the commencement date of the new Principal may not be until well into the new year, the Board has appointed Damian Patton, Deputy Principal, an experienced educational leader, to the position of Acting Principal for Term 1, 2022. Damian will also work with John for Term 4, 2021, to ensure a smooth transition into 2022.
John has shared with me that he will “always treasure the experiences and wonderful opportunities” that the College has afforded him, and that he will, “miss St Michael’s College deeply, always holding it close”. I know this is particularly true of the many strong relationships John has built with staff, students, families and the wider College community during his time at the College.
In turn, our community will miss him deeply and in so many ways … and our memories will always be a tribute to his relational style of leadership.
On behalf of the College Board, our teachers and staff, and the whole College community, I express our deep appreciation to John Foley for all that he has contributed to St Michael’s and know that many will take the opportunity next term to express their gratitude and wish our exceptional leader well in the future.
We also thank John’s wife, Alison, and children, Emma, Hannah and Wil, for their shared long term commitment to the College throughout his years of leadership at St Michael’s College.
Fortunately, John will not be lost to Catholic Education in South Australia, and will be taking up a position in 2022 that will be announced through CESA shortly.
Live Jesus in our hearts.
Marie Dorrington OAM
St Michael’s College, Adelaide, Board