Ms Bliss said she was excited and honoured to be leading Nazareth into its next phase and believed her “faith and career journey” would be key drivers in her new role.
The former speech pathologist, executive director of the Federation of Catholic School Parent Communities and community development leader at Nazareth, believed her background would bring a “different perspective” to the community.
“My career journey has offered me a myriad of life and faith experiences that will enable me to be the leader that the director’s role calls me to be,” she told The Southern Cross.
Deeply immersed in Nazareth from the beginning, when she was appointed a member of the interim board and later chaired the governing council for six years, Ms Bliss is no stranger to the community and is intent on continuing to honour the original model and build on the successes of the past decade.
“We are a community that provides services and resources for families across the whole lifespan – that includes early childhood, Reception to Year 12, all of our integrated community services such as the graduate program, the seniors program and playgroups.
“But there is more to do, so much more of that potential of the vision of Nazareth to honour.”
Her vision includes developing the programs available to graduates, particularly pertinent now as some members of the current Year 12 cohort will be the first to graduate having spent their entire school journey at Nazareth.
Already the college offers an alternate program where graduates can be involved in outreach work in Bathurst Island, alongside students from Xavier College in the Northern Territory instead of the ‘schoolies experience’.
For some years, graduates have also been working with the Good Crocodile Foundation in Timor Leste, assisting with medical and educational needs in the area.
“Part of our mission is to be people of justice and we’re looking at how we can continue to build a suite of outreach initiatives for Nazareth,” Ms Bliss said, adding that it was important these social justice programs continued beyond the school years.
“This validates the mission of Nazareth to build community, nourish family life, be people of justice and make the world a better place. Once you’re a part of Nazareth, you’re always a part of Nazareth.”
Another priority for the coming year is working more closely with the nearby ‘cluster schools’ of St John Bosco, Tenison Woods, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St Joseph’s (Hindmarsh), Star of the Sea, St Francis and St Michael’s.
“We’re looking forward to exploring ideas for regional projects such as youth ministry and graduate networks and collaborative outreach work. We’ve formed strong initiatives in that space and there is so much opportunity to look at that from a regional level,” she said.
With her past life as a speech pathologist always in her mind, Ms Bliss said an absolute priority was always ensuring that everyone in the community had a voice – and was heard.
“I’m excited to give young people, staff and families a voice and to act on that. I really value the voice of others.”
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