Our thanks

When Ryan Greer’s appointment as Principal of Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon, was announced, a younger student, with a concerned face, anxiously asked me ‘who now was going to run the school?’ I respectfully told him I had no idea, but I hoped they would find a good replacement. He agreed! Fortunately, we have appointed an excellent replacement in Liam Stakelum, but Ryan’s departure will be a great loss. We will miss his integrity, his considered advice, his humour, his stories (he has one for every occasion), and his friendship.

A Deputy Headmaster’s role is often the hardest in schools. They provide counsel to the boss, reassure concerned parents and upset members of the public, calm stressed colleagues, and keep the students in order. Ryan effortlessly, it seems, handles the great variety of joy and hardships that arise in the role, and is to be congratulated for nearly eight years of outstanding service to our College community. 

I particularly wish to recognise Ryan’s leadership during the terrible revelations of sexual abuse that occurred at this College in the 1980s and 90s. His leadership, through making contact with victims (one of the hardest responsibilities he has even undertaken), listening, acknowledging hurt, admitting mistakes, and walking in solidarity with victims did much to restore trust. This response was during a period when much of the Church were running for cover. Ryan’s actions, along with my predecessor Rick Sidorko, resulted in the College conducting a Litany of Lament. The Litany of Lament had input from victims, acknowledged broken trust, provided a heartfelt apology, asked for forgiveness, and hopefully became the first steps towards healing for some of the victims. I would add, the Litany of Lament, relieved many who were on staff at the time of a heavy burden they (unfairly) felt. 

Ryan’s leadership is underpinned with a down-to-earth, pragmatic approach. No more has this been evident than in his management of the COVID pandemic. I think it was a bit like driving a car along a wet road with uncertain breaks and numerous potholes with the GPS giving different directions at every turn. Fortunately, Ryan surrounded himself with a great team, was in front of all details, consulted widely, listened attentively and communicated effectively. I am confident, I speak on behalf of our entire community, in giving thanks for Ryan’s extraordinary leadership during such a challenging period in the College’s history.

In many ways, the purpose of a school is to prepare people to leave and make their mark elsewhere. So too, it is with Ryan. He has shared his life and labour, and he is now missioned elsewhere. Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon has chosen wisely. They have selected a Principal of outstanding quality and we wish Ryan, his wife Leanne and son Finn a richly deserved, happy and fulfilling time. God bless and farewell.