Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta commissioned its ninth principal at a Mass on Friday.
Glenwood resident Stephen Walsh is the second lay principal and first male principal in the school’s 125-year history.
At the Mass, Mr Walsh praised the leadership of the eight women who had led staff and students at the college and vowed to continue the legacy of the school’s founder Catherine McAuley.
‘‘I feel blessed and humbled by the trust that the sisters and college board have placed in me and will endeavour to do my best to uphold the fine tradition of excellence in the spirit of mercy and compassion,’’ he said.
The former geography teacher has spent 30 years as an educator and held leadership positions for the past 15 years, the last at girl’s school St Joseph’s Catholic College in Gosford.
‘‘The challenge is really how, as a school, we prepare our young women to be those women of action,’’ he said.
‘‘What are the skills they require, how do we develop the ability to empower them to make a difference.
‘‘For me it’s really important to look at our teaching and learning programs and our pastoral programs to make sure we are developing skills in critical and creative thinking.
‘‘That is essential to young people to be able to respond to change.’’
Mr Walsh will speak at the College’s open day on Sunday, March 2, at 10am and noon.