Appointed the 20th principal of the Somerton Park Years 10-12 school in 2013, Mr Byrne said he was looking forward to a “kind of downsizing” after eight years of significant challenges, growth and changes at St Michael’s College as its first lay principal.
“Little did I know what was in store,” he said, referring to the establishment of the Champagnat co-educational campus for Years 7 to 9 following the amalgamation of Marymount College with SHC Middle School.
“In moving towards a truly co-educational school, the public identity and messaging was that of ‘Courageous Hearts’. ‘Hearts’ had become a part of our modern identity, whilst remaining respectful to our rich traditions.
“Looking back, the achievements of our students in so many domains have been incredible. I will remember fondly the musicals, the Assumption College exchanges, the intercols and Marist Carnivals; the camps, assemblies, field days, trips to Port Augusta to engage with our Aboriginal families and undertake the enrolment interviews, our boarding community, the support of the local Brothers Community, Marist and CESA colleagues and even the formals!”
Mr Byrne said there had been some deeply sad and tragic moments as the community farewelled loved members.
“Sacred Heart is the excellent school that it is, not because of an individual, but because of the combined efforts of many at many levels of involvement across the college,” he said.
“There is a sense of personal and communal excellence, satisfaction and humility when we achieve significant things together with a common purpose for the common good of the Hearts community.
“I have been truly blessed to have been principal, in one form or another, for near a quarter of my life at Sacred Heart (including four years as principal of the SHC Middle School).”
Mr Byrne will take up the position of principal of Cardijn College next year. Former SHC deputy principal Daniel Lynch, current principal of Christian Brothers College, will return to Somerton Park as principal.