A familiar face takes the reins at Simonds Catholic College

Simonds Catholic College
Robert Anastasio
Jack Hayes

From guiding the inaugural cohort of Year 12 students in 2011 to now leading the school as principal, Robert Anastasio knows West Melbourne’s Simonds Catholic College (SCC) like few others.

It’s a place where he has forged a career and has called home for more than 13 years.

Serving as deputy principal for more than a decade, Mr Anastasio took the reins of SCC following the departure of former principal Peter Riordan in late 2023.

With new leadership comes the opportunity for a refreshed vision; one that, according to Mr Anastasio, will soon combine new state-of-the-art facilities with the school’s specialty education for boys, bringing a “whole new lease of life for students, staff and families”.

“We have a fresh leadership structure which is based around a new vision that provides leadership opportunities and upskills our current staff,” Mr Anastasio said.

“Later in the year, we will be ready to open our state-of-the-art STEM Centre, advanced science rooms, and versatile multi-purpose spaces, which will open up so many doors for both staff and students.”

 

Our teachers have specifically chosen to teach boys. There is a certain rawness and honesty in teaching boys that I’m not sure you get in a co-ed environment. With their guidance, we’ve created a safe space for the boys to be themselves and explore life without worry.

 

In 2023, SCC dissolved its St Brigid’s campus in Fitzroy to move all students to one location in West Melbourne.

It was a decision that brought brothers in differing years together on one campus and one that has yielded huge benefits for staff, according to Mr Anastasio, by removing the barriers of junior and senior school teaching.

“It has been a really positive move forward for our team and how they progress as teachers,” Mr Anastasio said.

 

 

“We now have almost every teacher in our ranks, teaching something at VCE level.”

“While our team and cohort will grow as we welcome our new facilities, we are a small and specialised school, and it will remain that way.”

According to Mr Anastasio, smaller class sizes allow for greater learner and teaching outcomes, with Simonds typically operating well below the Victorian average at approximately 18 to 20 students per class.

“Naturally, there are growing pains in having a campus in construction, but it has been incredibly important to keep students, families and staff together as one,” he said.

“Our teachers and learning support team are phenomenal, we can cope with a diversity of learners, and we welcome new families, from all backgrounds and beliefs, to become part of our wonderful college community.” •

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