ACT Member Profiles

St John Paul II College, Nicholls - Catherine Rey

St Edmund's College, South Canberra - Joe Zavone

Marist College, Canberra - Matthew Hutchison

Saint Clare's Catholic College, Griffith - Brad Cooney

Hennessy Catholic College, Young - Trazel Scott

Daramalan College, Canberra - Rita Daniels

St Patricks Parish School, Monaro - Frances Robertson

Merici College, Braddon - Loretta Wholley

Saint Francis Xavier College, Canberra - Colleen Rowe

St Mary MacKillop College, ACT - Michael Lee

St John Paul II College, Nicholls

Catherine Rey

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory We are located in Gungahlin, in the north of Canberra.
What is the nature of your College We are a 7-12 co-ed systemic College
How many students 800
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2012
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Principal of Merici College Braddon.
What gives your great satisfaction as a Principal

We are a new College in our 6th year of operation with our first Year 12 cohort this year. We were purpose-built, with state of the art facilities and the brief to provide a 21st century education to our students.

What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of

 Our educational philosophy is one of self-directed learning. This includes having students plan and work for one third of the week independently, with access to teachers for one on one support. For teachers, it involves working in very different ways, including team teaching and coaching students and supporting families individually in a unique mentoring model. The leadership structure is also very different. I am immensely proud of how both staff and students rise to the challenges.

What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  •  a very fast growing area, where we work with our parish and with 3 feeder primary schools 
  • a population which is very diverse ethnically and religiously
  • funding issues with the ACT government 
What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally

- the precarious situation with regard to federal government funding 

- ensuring our Catholic identity in a very secular and evolving society

- growing mental health issues with both students and staff

St Edmund's College

Joe Zavone

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory South Canberra
What is the nature of your College Boys 4-12 EREA
How many students 810
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2018
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Deputy Principal, Christian brothers' High School, Lewisham (NSW)
What gives your great satisfaction as a Principal

having contact nwith all members of the College community staff, students, parents, friends, members of the wider school community, old boys and those in partnership with the school.

What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of

The College has a very rich history and heritage in the Canberra region and has made a great contribution, since its establishment in 1954, in the making of modern Canberra.

What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area

The main challenge is the changing demographics in areas around the centre of Canberra with families tending to settle in newer areas further out the challenge is to position ourselves in such a way that parents still wish to have the sons attend St Edmund's despite having to travel to do so.

What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally

(1) Funding of course is an issue that all Catholic schools are facing and working through at the moment (and in years to come no doubt), and

(2) the ever increasing secularisation of society with our families becoming less familiar with their faith background and less exposed to their faith traditions.

Matthew Hutchison

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory Pearce, Canberra
What is the nature of your College Boys 4-12 Congregational
How many students 1600
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2018
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Head of Senior School, St Augustines College, Brookvale, NSW
What gives your great satisfaction as a Principal

My richest and most rewarding experience as a leader in schools has been watching people grow ... whether 5, 15, 25 or 55

What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of
  • Very strong faith culture and purpose of mission
  • Strong culture of doing your best
What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  • Faith formation of staff
  • Teaching yourng people how to rest - we need to allow our students to discover their comtemplative nature
What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  • Catholic Identity
  • Filling the expectations of those it serves if it is to survive against the need to change those expectations if it is to be truly educational

Hennessy Catholic College, Young

Trazel Scott

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory Hennessy Catholic College is located in Young NSW, approximately 2 hours west of Canberra and 4 hours west of Sydney.
What is the nature of your College We are a 7-12 co-ed Catholic school.
How many students 500
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2017
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment I was a Deputy Principal at Merici College in Canberra, a position I held for 11 years.
What gives your great satisfaction as a Principal
  • I have experienced great satisfaction in getting to know all the members of my new community. It is a great privilege to be part of a community which is so rich and diverse.
What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of
  • I am particularly proud of both the Staff and Students as they demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning.
What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  • The main challenge I see for us and other schools in the area would be enabling parents to access our school for their children given the distances they have to travel.
What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  • I think that in light of the Royal Commission findings the challenge for Catholic Schools nationally is to continue to ensure that Catholic Education is a viable, tangible option for parents.

Daramalan College, Canberra

Rita Daniels

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory Inner North of the City.
What is the nature of your College Co-educational Years 7-12 school operated by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC).
How many students 1432
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2009
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment From 2001 I was the Principal of St Clare's College in Canberra, a systemic Catholic school for girls in Years 7-12.
What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of
  • Daramalan College is one of the oldest Catholic colleges in Canberra and over time we have successfully transitioned from being a school for boys into a fully co-educational school. In 2012 we celebrated 50 years of providing education in the MSC tradition and this charism is integral to our culture.
  • We offer an extensive formal curriculum that caters for students of all academic levels with outstanding facilities particularly for vocational training as well as our co-curricular program.
What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  • We have strong competition from Government schools that into which the ACT government is investing heavily to make them attractive to parents.
  • Another challenge is finding enough time in the crowded curriculum for providing students, particularly older students, with formal Religious Education classes as well as spiritual development opportunities through retreat programs, Masses and access to guest speakers.
  • While a high percentage of our students are nominally Catholic, the reality is that few are practising Catholics so we carry a significant responsibility to
What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  • I think there is a challenge ahead gaining high quality staff who will maintain the Catholicity of our schools. It is quite hard to fill some REC positions or other Mission/Catholic Identity related positions with people who can effectively engage with young people.
  • We are faced more and more with families who choose Catholic schools for reasons other than their Catholic identity. This can cause issues when trying to develop a culture that has Catholic values and practices as priorities.

St Patricks Parish School, Monaro

Frances Robertson

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory This school is located on the Monaro, south of Canberra.
What is the nature of your College We are a co-educational Kindergarten to Year 10 school across three campuses.
How many students 340
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2014
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Previously, I was Assistant Principal- Learning and Teaching at a large 7-12 school in the Wagga Wagga Diocese.
What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of
  • This is a school with a long history and a strong Brigidine charism. It has continued to evolve as the needs of the community and the challenges of learning have changed.
  • We are able to see the continuum of learning from a very young age until the students are ready to be very independent learners in another senior school in Canberra. This is a real privilege to have that continuity of relationship.Amazing Hospitality and Canteen area, incorporating a Kitchen Garden and Sustainability initiatives.
What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  • The biggest current challenge is being able to offer the same quality of education as students receive in metropolitan areas, especially Canberra. When approximately 25% of students do not have good access to the internet at home, we have to continue to explore ways to ensure that their learning is not compromised.

 

What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  • Engaging and empowering students to be active learners and committed Christians remains the goal in front of us.

Merici College, Braddon

Loretta Wholley

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory In Braddon, about 3km from the Centre of Canberra
What is the nature of your College Years 7 to 12 girls; Systemic
How many students 700
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2013
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Deputy Principal, Mercedes College, WA
What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of
  • Staff who are committed to Innovation in Education, they are always striving to get the most out of the girls and support them on their academic and spiritual journey.
  • Amazing Hospitality and Canteen area, incorporating a Kitchen Garden and Sustainability initiatives.
What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  1. Enrolments in the ACT - especially from Catholic families who have moved into the private, independent sector.
  2. Finding the balance between an affordable Catholic education and being able to provide first class facilities - it all comes down to funding.

 

What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  1. Issues of mental health for students, young adults and staff and effective strategies to deal with that.
  2. Raising awareness for families that an ATAR is not the only pathway to the future.

Saint Clare's Catholic College, Griffith

Brad Cooney

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory Griffith, 5 km form Canberra CBD
What is the nature of your College Years 7 to 12 girls; Systemic
How many students 1000
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2017
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Senior Officer, Teacher Formation, Accreditation and Development (Secondary) at Catholic Education - Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn
What parts of the role of Principal give you the greatest satisfaction:
  • Spending time in classrooms with teachers and students, focusing on student learning and continuous school improvement.
What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of
  • St Clare's College is a Spirited Learning Community based on the educational philosophy that all students can learn.
  • The students are eager to learn and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area
  1. Funding from ACT governments
  2. Changing demographics affecting enrolments on south side of Canberra

 

What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  1. Ongoing  Federal funding
     
  2. Maintaining our catholic identity in an increasingly secular society

Saint Francis Xavier, Canberra

 

Colleen Rowe

Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory Canberra
What is the nature of your College Catholic Systemic Co-Ed College Years 7-12
How many students 1189
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College 2018
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment Assistant Principal-Teaching and Learning
What parts of the role of Principal give you the greatest satisfaction?:
  • Improving teaching and learning outcomes for students and staff
  • Working with the College Executive
  • Getting to know students and their families
What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of

The wonderful committed staff and the support they give our students to help them fulfill their potential.

What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area

Having sufficient resources to ensure that we can offer courses and programs that attract enrolments in Years 11 and 12 in a very competitive market.

 

What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally
  1. Equitable funding for Catholic, and
  2. Independent Schools in to the future.

 

St Mary MacKillop College, ACT

Michael James Lee

 

In what year where you appointed as a Director of CaSPA:
2011
Where is your College located in relation to the Capital of your state/territory:
Canberra ACT
What is the nature of your College [e.g. single sex, 6-12, Order owned &c]:
Co-eduational Yrs 7 - 12 Archdiocesan
How many students:
1814
In what year did you commence as Principal of this College:
2008
What was your role prior to taking up this appointment:
Principal, Hennessy Catholic College Young

What are the one or two aspects of your College that you are especially proud of..:
I am particularly proud of the inclusive and welcoming nature of the MacKillop community and the growing emphasis on the spirit, legacy and charism of the Sisters of St Joseph.

What are the main challenges to you and other Catholic schools in your local area:

  • The main challenge to Catholic schools in south Canberra are a gentle decline in overall student numbers,
  • attracting Catholic families from other sectors and,
  • the continued challenge of building links with the broader community.

What do you believe are the one or two main issues confronting Catholic Secondary Colleges nationally...:

I believe that some of the main issues confronting Catholic Secondary College nationally are:

  • the evangelisation of our Church to an increasing number of families who are not members of the Catholic Faith Tradition,
  • the maintaining and strengthening of relationships with Parish and other Church agencies,
  • the demands made on local Clergy impacting on the availability to our schools and,
  • the wellbeing and nurturing of our school leaders.

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