Ms Merran O'Connor
BA DipEd (La Trobe)
As Deputy Principal of Student Wellbeing, Merran O’Connor oversees the St Catherine’s Wellbeing Program and works specifically with the Senior School Deans and staff in developing and promoting student wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Committee meets fortnightly to ensure that the emotional, social and physical needs of the students are addressed proactively. The sequential, thematic program equips the girls with age-appropriate positive thinking and resilience strategies to manage the challenges life presents. Drawing on a range of evidence based programs and practices, including the Positive Education philosophies, staff have tailored a dynamic program to specifically meet the needs of our girls.
What is a highlight of your role?
Getting to know girls from all year levels and working with them on a program that I feel so passionately about. We have established a Wellbeing Club and a Student Action Committee to provide a voice for students, encouraging them to take the lead in addressing what they see as the wellbeing needs of the girls. I feel so privileged to lead what educationalists now recognise as an integral part of a holistic education and a necessary precursor to improved student outcomes.
What do you like about St Catherine’s School?
The students and their enthusiasm, their care for one another and their community, their respect for their teachers, their pride in wearing the blue ribbon, their lovely manners, their willingness to give things a go, their sense of fun…I could go on all day! I love working in such a supportive community – students and staff make St Catherine’s a great place to be.
Tell us about your academic or professional background?
I come from three generations of teachers so I guess it is in the blood. After completing a Bachelor of Arts and my Diploma of Education I worked in a wide range of independent and public sector educational settings, as well as teaching in London. In addition to being an English and History teacher, I have held a number of positions of responsibility in both Curriculum Innovation and Administration and Pastoral areas. Leading teams and working with students in these areas has reinforced my view of the integral relationship between the wellbeing of students and their academic potential.
What are your interests outside of School?
Spending time with family, travel, reading, cooking, movies, coffee with friends, trying to find time to go to the gym; just enjoying life in general.