New principal will guide St Joseph’s School into a new era
In her first term, Ros Oates has overseen the opening of a new building at Murray Bridge's Catholic school – and there's lots more to come.
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A new chapter has begun at Murray Bridge’s Catholic school, with a new principal appointed to oversee its continued expansion.
Ros Oates arrived at St Joseph’s School in term one of this year, just as the first stage of a major site upgrade was completed.
A $6.2 million middle school building has given students access to contemporary learning spaces and some of the latest technology, including a laser cutter for tech, a new science lab and a well appointed “food technology” area.
Up to five further stages of expansion are planned at the school over the next decade to accommodate anticipated growth in student numbers.
Its first year 8 students stayed on this year, when previously they would have gone on to high school; they will become its first year 9 students next year.
The next stage of works could start as soon as next year, pending planning work and council approval.
Guiding the school through its development over the next 10 years or so will be Mrs Oates, in something of a homecoming.
She taught there in the 1990s, and she and her husband still have a property at Tailem Bend.
It had long been her dream to return and finish her career in the Murraylands.
“I feel very humbled and privileged to serve this beautiful community,” she said in the school’s first newsletter of the year.
“For those who have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome ... I am very grateful, and I look forward to getting to know those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”
She told Murray Bridge News she hoped to make Catholic schooling a more attractive choice for families in the Murraylands, and for St Jo’s to offer things Murray Bridge’s other schools did not.
COVID-related absences led her to spend more time teaching than she might have anticipated during term one, and she hadn’t yet got much of a chance to meet as many families as she would have liked.
But she still felt that the school community had welcomed her with open arms, she said.
Mrs Oates’ last posting was at Berri, where she spent nine years as the principal of Our Lady of the River School.
More information about the redevelopment: www.stjomb.catholic.edu.au.