For our first Principal Profile of the year, we spoke to Linda Gaia from St John’s, a small, community-focused school nestled amongst sugar cane fields in the Cassowary Coast region.
What is most special about your school community?
St John’s is a small school community where I’ve always felt at home. We have an amazing group of students, and wonderful families who always show up for their children. We also have an incredible staff who give 110% to create a culture that all can be proud of. In all, I am among people who share common values, and I love working with them.
What do you hope to achieve in your role as Principal?
I hope to continue building a culture of excellence in partnership with all stakeholders. This includes providing a safe place where all students can engage fully in learning and achieve to their full potential. Finally, I hope to wrap this with the understanding that we are all God’s children and regardless of life’s happenings, we are always loved by God.
What makes you most proud to be the leader of your school community?
I have been a part of St John’s School for many years and much of who I have become is a result of experiences and learning opportunities I have had here. These have come about because of the students, staff and parents of the school and it makes me proud to lead the community that has contributed to who I am now and who I will become in the future.
How did your education shape you to be the person you are today?
My education helped me to understand that I can achieve anything I set out to achieve and it has provided me with the skills to do so. This is a message I want those I work with to understand, that they can make choices in their lives and education increases the options available to them.
What motto, affirmation or prayer do you live by?
“Trust”, being the flip side of “do not be afraid” which is in the Bible 365 times, and “Thy will be done” from the Lord’s Prayer, are my go-tos. These prayers have helped me navigate the small and the big challenges of my life.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
I have two highlights. Completing my Master of Religious Education studies in 2020 is the first. I was working full-time with a family while I completed my study, so there were a lot of sacrifices made by me and my family. Becoming principal of St John’s School is the second highlight. Being able to lead the school that means so much to me is very special.
What’s the best thing about living and working in FNQ?
I love the natural landscape. St John’s is located on land surrounded by sugar cane. At any point in time, at any place in the school, I can lift my eyes, see greenery and feel calm. We also have a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle in FNQ. Beaches, creeks and the rainforest are all easily accessible and, if I feel like a day in the “big city”, Cairns is only a hop, skip and a jump away.
How would you describe ‘the Catholic school difference’?
Catholic schools are welcoming, caring and compassionate communities. This is reflected in the interactions between students and adults. We aspire to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Gospel values underpin all we do.
Find out more about St John’s School, Silkwood.