Brisbane Catholic Primary Principals Association

Tom Fitzsimon Award Nominees for 2008



The Tom Fitzsimon Award is a peer-nominated professional learning award sponsored by BACPPA, which recognises a strong commitment to professional learning in the fields of leadership and education made by a leader in one of our Catholic schools.  The award consists of a professional reading grant.  Recipients of the award will be profiled on the Association website, where a perpetual record of recipients will be recorded. This award will be presented each year at the BACPPA AGM.


Dr Chris Branson - Winner of the 2008 Tom Fitzsimon AwardDr Christopher Branson -
Winner of the 2008 Tom Fitzsimon Award

I will read from the nomination received “Chris is currently engaged in a process of ongoing learning which has been undertaken for some years which has significantly influenced many principals in our archdiocese and beyond. A couple of years ago Chris organised a learning link, inviting principals to participate and engage with his work and discover the way in which past events and values influence how principals make decisions and operate within their role. He has spoken at a BACPPA general meeting sharing his research and the implications for us all. He has presented his work at conferences, clusters and around Australia and the USA.”

With the invaluable voluntary involvement of fellow Brisbane Catholic Education principals, Chris Branson has been able to pioneer the development of a deeply-structured process of self-reflection. This unique, ground-breaking process is now being used in educational leadership development programs in Australia, Canada, and the United States of America. Chris has been convincing with his colleagues that to be successful, leaders need to learn how to be genuinely self-reflective.  Previously, the problem with all this theory has been that there was no clearly articulated way to help leaders develop genuine self-reflective practices. Through Chris’ research, this is now not the case. Chris has created an efficient and effective way to help principals become genuinely self-reflective as a means of enhancing their educational leadership practices in our current challenging times and he has shared this with them.

Anne McKenny
- Nominee

Anne is the Principal of St Paul’s School Woodridge. Anne has been the driving energy behind a lengthy initiative which sees the School develop strong, practical and sustaining community partnerships. Anne was nominated by a colleague principal, and I will read from the citation “Anne has researched, undertaken professional learning and then implemented programs in the area of community partnerships and community links. She has shared her learnings on community partnerships and community schooling and supported staff, parents, neighbouring communities and parents, with their own learnings. She has read, traveled and participated in a variety of learnings in this area and shared with teachers, other principals and other schools the model of community partnerships that is established within the St Paul’s community.

Anne has written herself that “At St Paul’s we aim to develop and promote school based and community- linked opportunities that are accessible to all members of the school community. These opportunities provide professional support and pastoral care that build partnerships and cater to individual and collective needs. We value the knowledge and experience of our families and community members. We encourage our families and community members to use the resources available in the school and provide input into the learning of the students. St Paul's School aims to develop and nurture strong relationships with our community. Our community is rich in cultural assets and resources. We aim to build shared, sustainable community of difference by communication, developing relationships, sharing resources and collaborating on the development of our school and local community. Full service schooling has been successfully achieved by Anne and her team at St Paul’s and her model has been readily shared by her for all to learn from.

Rick Sheehan - Nominee

Rick has been an active and involved member of BACPPA for many years, a past president and past executive member and a current member of the management committee with a broad and articulated interest in professional learning. His understandings of the role of principal have seen him involved in many educational committees task groups and working parties where research reflection and the sharing of new learnings is required. Rick has a great passion for professional learning and professional betterment and has been involved extensively in the association’s exploration over many years of appropriate models of Principal professional learning.

I read from his nomination. “Rick has been instrumental in developing and continuing the learning links professional development program for principals. He is committed to reflection and developing best practice in his own leadership and in supporting the development of others. Rick is a prolific reader and eagerly and readily shares his knowledge and understanding of contemporary issues within learning links, clusters and colleague teams. He leads reflective processes annually in the area of learning links and throughout 2008 as been involved in processes to bring some renewal and strategic planning to the future of the learning links frameworks and processes for BACPPA. Rick has been nominated as a very worthy inaugural nominee for the Tom Fitzsimon award.

2008 Tom Fitzsimon Award Nominees - Anne McKenny and Rick Sheehan

Dr Chris Branson receives the 2008 Tom Fitzsimon Award from Mrs Margaret Fitzsimon

2008 Tom Fitzsimon Award Nominees
Anne McKenny and Rick Sheehan
2008 Tom Fitzsimon Award Winner
Dr Chris Branson receives his Award from
Mrs Margaret Fitzsimon


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