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Teachers Mutual Bank Award

Paul McSweeney - Cowan PS

Paul McSweeney is the Principal of Cowan Public School, a small school providing quality education for students from the Hawkesbury River area and the northern Sydney suburbs of Cowan and Berowra. Paul has been actively involved in school sport, at all levels, throughout his jubilant career. He currently balances the role of Principal with the role of Sports Coordinator and has successfully planned, organised and managed school sports programs, which have including the coaching of teams for Friday PSSA participation, home sport programs, knockouts and gala days, swimming, cross country and athletics carnivals. He also arranges for the whole school to be involved in an annual swim and gymnastics programs.



Paul is passionate about providing varied and valuable sporting opportunities to students in small schools. He prides himself on an inclusive approach to sport and all forms of physical activity. He recognises and applauds the achievements of our top athletes as well as consistently recognises all student participation. He is committed to ensuring students develop a range of sporting skills, attitudes and confidence that will ensure they maintain an active lifestyle throughout their school and adult lives. One hundred percent student participation is now common at Cowan PS carnivals, thanks to Mr. McSweeney’s fervent encouragement of student participation.


Paul is a strong supporter of the Small Schools Relay in swimming and athletics and teams from Cowan which often represent at NSWPSSA Athletics and Swimming Championships. He also enters teams in the NSWPSSA Small Schools Knockout. In 2018, Cowan PS played Tullamore Central School in the Football Knockout. Paul and Cowan PS saw this as an opportunity to help a struggling farming community affected by drought. They arranged for families and the broader community to donate grocery items and money to the families of Tullamore Central School. This was well received and developed a strong friendship and affiliation between the two schools.


Paul has been the President of Hornsby Zone for the past four years and prior to this he was Vice President for nine years. He coordinates the winter and summer zone competitions and acts as the cricket and football convener. Paul was also actively involved in Ryde zone and Beecroft zone in previous positions and was awarded Life Membership in Beecroft zone.


Paul has made significant contributions to the Sydney North Schools Sports Association. He currently holds the position of President and delegate to NSWPSSA. Paul chairs each Sydney North Council meeting and is known for his calm and thorough approach to all matters. He has been an official at Sydney North swimming, cross country and athletics championships for many years in the role of announcer. As the Hornsby Zone delegate and Zone President, Paul conveys necessary information gathered at Sydney North meetings back to the zone, and this ensures continuity and rapport between zone and association.


It could be said that Paul’s true passion in sport is football. He was the Sydney North Girls Football Convener from 1998 to 2013. He was the NSWPSSA Assistant Football Convener from 2013 to 2015. Prior to this he was the NSWPSSA Girls Football Coach from 2003 to 2006 and was a selector from 2000 to 2011, and was awarded a NSWPSSA service to Football Award in 2007. Today, he still assists with the organisation of the Sydney North boys and girls football trials each year.


Paul is actively involved in both cricket and football at a local level and his ongoing contributions have been recognized with Life Membership of Mount Colah and Eastwood St Andrews Football Clubs. He is currently the President of Mount Colah Cricket Club.


Paul is a valued member of Cowan PS, Hornsby Zone, Sydney North Schools Sports Association and the NSWPSSA. His dedication, commitment and passion ensure that many students are provided with fond lifelong memories of school sport. Paul is generous with his time, mentoring teaching colleagues in order to pass on his valuable knowledge and skills as he is keen to develop in them a passion for school sport.