Meet Kelli Cato...  Calrossy’s new Deputy Principal, took over the position at the start of the year from longstanding staff member, Mark Doran, who is now heading up the School’s Distance Education program, eCalrossy.

Mrs Cato comes to Ƶappwith a diverse and impressive resume that includes working in education from Government to Independent Schools, in single gender and coeducational environments. Adding to that she has also been a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, and most recently graduated with a Doctor of Education. Her exhaustive CV also includes 10 years at the New South Wales Standards Authority (NESA) working with policy, assessments and curriculum and she has also been a supervisor for HSC Marking in Japanese. It is an impressive list but there was one goal she was yet to kick, which was working in a regional area. This is where her Ƶappjourney began and now almost six months in, she is loving rural life.

“I always wanted to work in a rural area and be part of a regional community, that combined with the appeal of a regional centre such as Tamworth and the chance to work with a school with a long, rich history and as highly respected as Ƶappattracted me to the School” Mrs Cato says.

“I am also passionate about Aboriginal education, including outcomes for our Indigenous students and ensuring awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal culture.”

The self-described lifelong learner comes to Ƶappafter being the Director of Professional Practice and Innovation at the Malek Fahd Islamic School in Greenacre, Sydney. Mrs Cato says the coeducational K-12 school, which has more than 4000 students, actually has similarities with Calrossy.

“They are both faith-based schools committed to quality education and integrating that faith into learning and making it relevant to young people,” Mrs Cato says.

Mrs Cato says she was instantly impressed by the very warm country welcome of staff, students and the community, which continues to this day.

Her job description is long… it includes everything from the academic to discipline and wellbeing.

"It is the day to day running of Calrossy, to the safety, support and empowerment of all students and staff from Prep to Year 12."

She is also a hands-on leader and you will often find her in the classroom. Mrs Cato is teaching Japanese to a Year 8 boys class and the two Year 4 classes in Junior School.

"I love being in the classroom, teaching Japanese and sharing this culture with my students is often the highlight of my week," she says.

Mrs Cato has literally been on both sides of this language, having lived in Japan for over five years where she studied and taught English as a second language.

It is a true tree change for the Catos, with Geologist husband Nick also able to continue his work with the Rural Fire Service from a Tamworth base, he is also become involved with ƵappRugby as a coach.

Mrs Cato says his job is varied but he is probably best described as the man behind the Statewide Bushfires Near Me App. With two adult children, the couple are now living at Windmill Hill and they have plenty of space.

“We’re loving the relaxed pace and there are so many community activities to be involved in.”

Those activities include a new gym membership, fellowship at St Paul’s Anglican Church, some theatre shows and a couple of rodeos.

While much of her work at Ƶappmay be behind the scenes, Mrs Cato has one main message to the Ƶappcommunity, she is here and always happy to talk.