In Term 4 of this year, Mr Rhys Vallance will join the SCEA Office in the newly-created Risk & Compliance Manager position.
He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Western Australia in Law, Policy, and Government, yet he looks young enough to be in a Year 10 Humanities class at any of our SCEA schools!
He speaks fluent German after a year’s exchange there, but his roots in rural Wickepin and Toodyay mean that he has an easygoing nature and loves the outdoors and a good bakery pie!
He has previously worked for the SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Association) and has advocated for employees across the state before joining SCEA.
He has supported multiple political campaigns and believes there is a place for Christians in the political sphere of government.
This man does not shirk away from hard conversations.
One part of Rhys’ life that really seems to move him emotionally is his faith – and the sense that God is interested in every aspect of our being.
“That commandment in Mark 12:30 that says ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength’ indicates that we need to use the mind that God has given us,” says Rhys on his lunch break this week.
“There have been a number of times in life where my heart was not at peace with the things I saw in the world. Thankfully, God gives us our minds to comprehend His love for us to merit the knowledge and love of God.”
Rhys grew up in a Christian family, with his father forming part of the mighty Vallance crew, famous for being Christians and horticulturists in Western Australia. Christian ministry took the family to Toodyay Baptist and then on to Northam where his family is still involved in ministry roles. Rhys left Northam for Perth to pursue his university studies, and while studying served in roles with Youth For Christ, joined the UWA Christian Union, afterward going on to become the WA Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
“For me, I looked to the people who were older than me, that I respected and wanted to emulate, and I realised they were all Christians,” says Rhys.
“I then began to ask: What am I growing into? Because there is a sense that we are meant to be constantly being refined by the Holy Spirit.”
And now to the touchy topic of politics – an area where Rhys believes that Christians and the church can play a part.
“The church has been involved in many areas of society – from business to ministry to health – and I believe all of these areas can be stewarded poorly, but can also be stewarded well and for good. So Christians, like anyone else in politics, can in fact have a beneficial effect on society through politics. Many Christians around the world are unable to even meet in public, but in Australia we can be involved in shaping government policy, and even hold office – what a privilege, opportunity and I argue, responsibility!”
The job at SCEA came after Rhys had been seeking a new challenge in his professional life. It also helped that his older brother, Joel Vallance (Head of Pastoral Care, Southern Hills), alerted him to this role within the SCEA Office!
“The history of SCEA over the past forty years is quite amazing – in terms of the wonderful families who have sacrificed time and money to make this organisation what it is today. I hope that my contribution can bring a level of specialisation to this area of risk and compliance as we deal with our parents’ most precious assets – their children.”
“I believe that societal expectations of how schools should be run have changed over the years, and there is a community expectation that things are done well and to the highest standard possible.”
Rhys begins in the SCEA Office on October 17, 2022.