Berinba Public School welcomes principal Phill Katen

Phill Katen has been busy meeting students and teachers as the new principal at Berinba Public School.

Students at Berinba Public School welcome their new principal Phil Katen. Photo: Hannah Sparks

Students at Berinba Public School welcome their new principal Phil Katen. Photo: Hannah Sparks

He joined two weeks ago and promised to visit every class in the first week.

"It was a big challenge," Mr Katen said.

However, he rose to the challenge and didn't let anyone down.

"The kindies were the last class I got to and they were very excited," he said.

Berinba Public has always been a school Mr Katen wanted to work at.

"It's fantastic," he said.

"I'm amazed at the capacity of the teachers, the warmth of the community and enthusiasm of the students."

The father of four has moved from teaching in the Goulburn area to work in Yass.

He was the principal at Tarago Public School and Beadalbane Public School before then.


Students' work was already hanging on Mr Katen's office walls on Wednesday and a couple of male students came to say hello during the interview.

"I don't want this to be a standard principal's room. I want it to be a celebration of what the students can do," Mr Katen said.

He said the school had done "great work in the past few years" and was "ready for a new blooming".

"I want to focus on student achievements and build on the well thought out well-being structures that exist. Those can be built on academically."

While Mr Katen won't be a teaching principal, he will still appear in classrooms.

Tarago Public won the Department of Education's Technology 4 Learning 2019 Leader in Robotics award while Mr Katen was principal.

That was off the back of Mr Katen introducing robotics to the curriculum.

"Every student had a lesson on robotics every week," Mr Katen said.

"I have a strong background in technology and see strengths in learning technology."

Although, his favourite lessons at school were science and maths.

"Technology wasn't a lesson then!" he said. "I was a teacher when computers were introduced to schools."

Outside of school, Mr Katen enjoys gardening, tinkering around in his shed, staying active, motorcycling and music.

His first teaching job after qualifying in Sydney was in music.