With the Downlands Junior School almost at capacity and funding for major upgrades to the Cuskelly Resource Centre now approved, 2019 is set to be a big year for new Downlands College Principal, Mr Stephen Koch. After a rigorous recruitment process, Mr Koch was appointed by Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) Provincial, Fr Christopher McPhee in April 2018, but formally commenced in the role from 1 January 2019.

Educated at the University of New England, Mr Koch completed a Bachelor of Rural Science (Hons) and a Graduate Diploma in Education. He is currently studying a Master of Educational Leadership (Catholic Educational Leadership).

Mr Koch began his career with the NSW Department of Education in 1993 and worked as a Science and Agriculture teacher and Year Co-ordinator at Glen Innes High School. From 1999 he was Head of Science and Agriculture at Tenterfield High School. In 2010 Mr Koch was acknowledged with the Director-General’s award for Excellent Service to Public Education and Training. In 2012, Mr Koch was appointed to the position of Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning at Downlands College. This role subsequently evolved into Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning, the role he held prior to his appointment as Principal.

Visiting the birthplace of the MSC in Issoudun, France during a seven day pilgrimage in 2016 gave Mr Koch an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of Jules Chevalier and the MSC education Vision and Mission. “I want our students to feel inspired to learn and to be happy in their learning environment. Happy learners engage better in learning and consequently work at their personal best on a regular basis. The speed of change in our world today means that students with a love of learning will lead their fields. I believe today’s educational leaders must guide students’ ethical and moral development, assist them to understand themselves as learners, and support the attainment of deep knowledge and deep understanding.”

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