Posted by Br Gary Wison
on 28 May 2021
Br. Garry Coyte grew up in an inconspicuous village out of Orange, N.S.W., but left his mark as a popular school leader at De La Salle Orange in the early 1960's. Now, after being a Principal at five De La Salle Colleges and an educational consultant- he has in his more mature years returned to school!
Garry's return to school life has been as 'Staff mentor and Coach', at Oakhill College Castle Hill. His role focuses on promoting growth in leadership for middle managers. He works, as well, with new staff pushing quality learning and teaching; this involves classroom teacher observation and analysis. Complementing this ministry is developing resilient and better leadership in Lasallian schools in Papua New Guinea and Pakistan, via Zoom. For him, the impact of COVID-19 is the challenge to make just another adjustment to daily life, but it has also been a blessing- in providing more time for reading and prayer.
School as a Christian ministry became central in his life, but without great forethought and planning. Garry explains that failure at secondary school led to the journey of being a De La Salle Brother in the Church. "Somehow God was using failure for me to lead me on this journey", challenging him to grow as a spiritual person. "Schools", he says, "have a life, an energy, which I am at home with; they sustain me..." The daily life of school gives me energy, and the youth keep me positive and happy. I still love to work with youth(with) the diversity of youthful ways. Education is a place where daily small miracles can occur. I want to be an instrument to allow such miracles to happen".
The opportunities in being a Brother has also amply provided a road for professional development. After several years training as a Brother and teacher, he served a happy apprenticeship, like the biblical Jacob, at O'Connor High School, Armidale over 7 years, five as Principal. As Principal of the senior Benilde High, at Bankstown, he completed a top Masters in Educational Administration. Garry's leadership talents were further tapped with principalships at De La Salle Colleges in Malvern, VIC., Mangere, Auckland, N.Z. and Mentone, back in Melbourne, there for 12 successful years. Never one to let grass grow underfoot, he also juggled other post-graduate courses in educational and business leadership, as well as a Harvard University-Leadership: Evolving Vision Course, in 2013.
Today, his commitment is fired, he says, by "a love of Christ through scripture reflection, and through the Christian Meditation movement".