This week we find out a little about the new Head of Primary at Mundaring Christian College (MCC), Mrs Maura Killalea.
After thirty years in the Catholic Education system in Western Australia, one would be forgiven for thinking that Maura (Maa-ra) Killalea (Kill-ill-lay) has seen it all.
“Not at all! I still have so much to take in,” says Maura from her office in the semi-rural confines on the Walker Street Campus.
“I love reading and absorbing new things. One of my greatest indulgences is reading two books at once!”
Maura is an interesting person to meet, and the story behind her name gives insight into her colourful family life.
“My father actually wanted to call me Laura, but he filled out the birth certificate incorrectly and my name became Maura!”
Maura is a full-blooded Italian, despite being born in Australia after her family immigrated from Italy with her old brother and sister a number of years ago. Raised in the Catholic church, Maura learnt the traditions of one of the world’s oldest and largest denominations before a Pentecostal experience at the age of 15 opened her eyes to more of the Christian faith – in the form of energy and experiential revelation.
“I took some time to seek God, and I was moving around Australia facilitating spiritual retreats – and that’s where I met my husband, originally from Darwin.”
Maura married shortly after this time, and took on the Irish surname of Killalea, another name that takes some time to say correctly and must cause some consternation when making restaurant reservations or confirming anything over the phone!
With her new workplace being in a SCEA school in Mundaring, it must be difficult to have said goodbye to Catholic Education in late 2022…
“Catholic Education brought me to where I am today in the professional sense. Thirty years is a significant amount of time in any system and I am thankful for that period of learning. Spiritually, I was very blessed there, with a number of priests being very good to me and equipping me for the road ahead. I am a person who is passionate about my faith and there were people within that educational system who were very beneficial to me and my journey at that time.”
What is it like being in the SCEA system now?
“I love the fact that everyone I work with is a Christian and that we can happily pray for one another at any time of the day. That’s an amazing privilege of Christian education, and the people here have been very welcoming to me in SCEA.
So it’s all smiles and butterflies for you?
“Well, I would describe myself as a bold character. I’m very honest with people, and I am not afraid to ask questions if I’m not sure why we do things in a certain way – at any level. I’m honest with myself and I like to talk straight with everyone around me. So that means that there will be tough conversations that arise over time – but I hope that we are all focussed on the way forward, and we can approach each challenge with that in mind.”
“Having said that, I like the idea of establishing good relationships with the staff, students and the community. We want relationships that are rooted in our faith- an active faith that actually shapes the way we act each day,” says Maura as she enters the Early Years classroom to survey the youngest students in the school.
“Getting to know the staff and students is very important to me – and I see it as being paramount to achieving great success as part of the staff of this College.”