STEPPING DOWN: Principal of St Edmund’s College Brendan Lawler will retire this year.
STEPPING DOWN: Principal of St Edmund’s College Brendan Lawler will retire this year. File

St Edmund's head will miss top role

ST EDMUND'S College principal Brendan Lawler is ready for retirement after 43 years - and more than 7700 school days - of service in Catholic education.

The 62-year-old got his start as a Year 8 teacher at St Mary's - a small rural community school in Dalby - back in 1971.

"It was almost by accident," Mr Lawler said of his launch into teaching. "Some people start out being focused on becoming a teacher, but I kind of fell into it.

"It was a happy accident though, teaching just seemed to suit me perfectly."

His career in education later saw him assume the role of principal at Emmaus College in Rockhampton in 1988 and then the principal of St Patrick's College in Mackay in 1998.

Students have been calling Mr Lawler principal for a total of 27 years.

"I enjoyed the switch from teacher to principal," he said.

"The change was like going from being part of a school community to leading the community.

"You had to work out what people's vision for the school was and build towards it and I enjoyed the challenge and sense of achievement that comes with that."

Mr Lawler took over the reins at St Edmund's College in 2005, having previously taught at the school in 1980 and 1981.

"I had a lot of anticipation with coming back to St Edmund's," he said.

"I had always appreciated the school's close connection with the Ipswich community.

"It's a big part of the city's history since the Christian Brothers started it up in the 1890s.

"I've always said the school is as Ipswich as the Bremer River.

"When I leave, I will really miss the strong sense of community that the school has here."

Mr Lawler will retire as principal of St Edmund's College, effective from the end of the school year.

He said he planned to spend his retirement relaxing with his wife Margo, who also retired from her role as a school principal two years ago.

"As you can imagine, we've both led busy lives, so it will be a good opportunity for us to spend some time together and do some travelling," he said.



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