Two highly acclaimed principals of Good Samaritan Education schools, Loretto Richardson, of St Scholastica’s College, Glebe and Vicki Comerford of Stella Maris College, Manly will retire at the end of this year, leaving behind a legacy of quality education and a commitment to fostering faith and social justice in their students.
Kay Herse, Executive Officer of Good Samaritan Education, said both principals had done “wonderful work for Good Samaritan Education”.
“They are both just outstanding women and educational leaders,” she said. “We will miss them both, but we are hoping that even in retirement, they will stay connected to us in some way.”
Loretto leaves St Scholastica’s after this year celebrating 25 years as Principal of the College. Her previous appointment was as Deputy Principal at St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown, another Good Sam school.
“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience for me,” she said.
“I would say that the most outstanding values that have resonated with me throughout my career have been compassion and justice. They have influenced my attitude towards the education of young women, particularly indigenous young women.
“Education for indigenous young people is enormously important to me, but you can’t do it on your own. It’s a team approach and I’ve had wonderful support from staff, parents, students and even the government, through the provision of scholarships, to make it easier for us to do that.”
Stewardship of the earth and its resources has also been important in Loretto’s interactions with students, as has the fostering of right relationships.
Beginning her career in Edinburgh, Scotland, Loretto tasted adventure early, taking a job at just 23 years of age on the remote island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. After moving to Australia she took a position at Broken Hill with the Marists and Mercy Sisters before going to St Patrick’s Campbelltown and then St Scholastica’s.
“What I’ve learnt through my journey is that God is in each of us. So that’s my starting point – looking at each child that comes to the school not only as a student but as a child of God,” she said.
Loretto said that apart from some travel with family, she has no firm plans for retirement.
“I’m actually quite scared in a way. But I know the time is right. So I’ll take a break to reflect a little and to ‘Listen with the ear of the heart’ (RB Prologue).”
For Vicki Comerford, taking the appointment as Principal at Stella Maris five years ago was “a coming home to Good Samaritan education for me”.
Vicki, who began her career teaching the humanities at Kandos High School in the central west of NSW and then at Gymea High School, was Deputy Principal at St Scholastica’s and Mount St Benedict College, Pennant Hills, before taking a principal’s position at St Peter’s High School, Tuggerah in the Broken Bay Diocese.
“There’s something special about every school, but at Stella Maris, what really strikes people is the happy environment,” she said. “You walk in and there is an aura of peace and calm. It’s a really nice feeling and to a large extent it is the legacy of the Sisters, as well as a wonderful staff and the students themselves.
“And to build on that, we’ve been really concentrating on getting the girls more involved in social action in the Good Samaritan missions, which has been very satisfying.”
Vicki said her teaching career has been a “very happy journey”.
“Every single school I’ve been at has been a good experience,” she said.
As for retirement, Vicki said she is looking forward to the new chapter in her life, but has no firm plans.
“No, I have no plans in place,” she said. “I’m planning on ‘being’, not ‘doing’ and I’m not scared about that. I’m looking forward to it.”
The new Principal of St Scholastica’s from 2015 will be Kate Rayment who is currently Principal of McCarthy Catholic College, Tamworth, while Elizabeth Carnegie, currently Assistant Principal at St Scholastica’s, has been appointed as Principal of Stella Maris.