In his job Damien Carlton spends more time giving awards than receiving them so it was a surprise for the educator of almost four decades to receive the Australian Council for Educational Leaders NSW Leadership Award.
“It was a genuine surprise,” said the St John Bosco College Engadine Principal.
“I wasn’t aware I had been nominated so it was a pleasant surprise to receive the call.”
The Australian Council for Education Leaders NSW Leadership Award is an annual award recognising individual educators or teams of educators.
Recipients must demonstrate outstanding performance in leading an educational organisation or initiative which has accomplished significant growth in outcomes for children, students and/or teachers, or major cultural change within that organisation or the profession at large.
Damien was presented with the award in an online ceremony recently in recognition of his many years of service and leadership in Sydney Catholic Schools.
Mr. Carlton said he originally wanted to be an architect but was shown the path to teaching by an Augustinian priest who was a family friend.
“At the beginning of 1980, I was 20 years old and about to start studying architecture in March,” he recalled.
“Young teachers are in an honourable profession and a life-giving profession where you can change people’s lives for the better.”
“[He] was over for dinner one night and asked me what I was doing. Since I had nothing to do for a few months he took me along to the Catholic Teachers College.
“I’ve always had an interest in architecture and even studied a Master of Town Planning, but I’ve never regretted becoming a teacher.”
Being an educator has been a rewarding experience for Damien who says that he still enjoys teaching as a principal.
“Being a teacher involved in Catholic Education has definitely enhanced my personal faith journey. Getting to know and working with young people, being entrusted to develop them and educate whole people, helping to shape their hearts and minds is a privilege,” he said.
“I think it’s important to remain teaching as a principal. I still teach studies of religion now and I love it.”
Mr. Carlton says a good principal acts ethically and with a sense of credibility, is able to be discerning and recognises talent in others.
“Engage people in the process, both teachers and students, foster their growth and development and engage the community in what you do,” he said.
“Young teachers are in an honourable profession and a life-giving profession where you can change people’s lives for the better.
“Teachers can set young people up for the future. You may not always see the fruits of your labour, but you know you’ve made a difference.”