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Commissioning of New and Transferring Principals: CEWA 2019


The Principals of Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) gathered at The Chapel of St Michael the Archangel, Leederville, on 22 November for the Commissioning Mass of New and Transferring Principals. Photo: Eric Martin.

By Eric Martin

Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), celebrated the commissioning of new and transferring Principals last Friday 22 November.

The Mass was celebrated at the Chapel of St Michael the Archangel, Leederville by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, who was joined for the occasion by Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders, Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan and Geraldton Bishop, Michael Morrissey.

Executive Director of CEWA, Dr Debra Sayce said the presence of all serving WA bishops demonstrated the importance that the Church in WA places on the provision of Catholic education for our children.

“It was wonderful to celebrate the Eucharist with all Western Australian Bishops this evening and to have them joining us now,” Dr Debra Sayce said.

“Your presence Bishops, here this evening, exemplifies your commitment to our staff, we are most grateful for your support and leadership in our work in providing a Catholic education for the children and young people of our state.”


Mr Wayne Bull accepts the role of Deputy Executive Director of CEWA from incumbent Mr Peter Lynch; Dr Chris Cotter accepts the role of Director of Religious Education, and; Ms Mandy Connor accepts the role of Director of Teaching and Learning at CEWA; from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB. Photo: Eric Martin.

Though the evening was primarily a celebration, recognising the valuable work that occurred in 2019, it was also an opportunity to announce a subtle but important change taking place for the organisation at the beginning of 2020.

“As you may know, from the beginning of 2020 Catholic Education Western Australia will become Catholic Education Western Australia Limited, but we won’t be limited,” Dr Sayce announced.

“For the most part, incorporation will change little in the running of our schools and I am confident that over time, we will see it as a significant and very worthwhile change, bringing greater clarity and transparency to our system.

“We will have support available for you as Principals and your leadership teams for any changes that do impact on your school,” she assured the gathered educators.


New and transferring principals came forward to be presented with an honourary crucifix, by Dr Debra Sayce, the Executive Director of CEWA, and Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB: the cross is a keepsake and reminder of their commission from the bishops of WA. Photo: Eric Martin.

“The incorporation process has involved listening and learning, we have spoken with other systems who have gone through this process. We have consulted widely with our principals, our finance officers, our bursars as well as school board chairs.”

In support of the new structure, CEWA welcomed three new directors to the executive team at the Mass, who each made an oath of commissioning.


The Brady Award: presented to retiring principals in thanks for their lifetime of achievements in education with CEWA. Photo: Eric Martin.

Mr Wayne Bull will take on the role of Deputy Executive Director of CEWA from incumbent Mr Peter Lynch; Ms Mandy Connor is now the Director of Teaching and Learning at CEWA, and; Dr Chris Cotter will be responsible for the delivery of Religious Education in Catholic schools across the state.

“We the Bishops of Western Australia are confident in the belief that Wayne, Mandy and Chris have the necessary knowledge, attributes and gifts to provide leadership as members of the executive team of Catholic Education at this time,” the gathered Bishops said.

“Wayne, Mandy and Chris, may God, who in Christ shows his truth and love, guide you in proclaiming and witnessing to the Gospel. May the Lord Jesus Christ, who promised that he would be with his Church until the end of time, lead you and fill your words with power. May the Spirit of the Lord be upon you as you go about supporting the Church’s vision for Catholic Education.”

Retiring principals from across the state were also bid farewell at the Mass, with the bishops from each diocese given the opportunity to pass on their personal thanks for each principal’s achievements throughout a lifetime of service to teaching.


The Mass was followed by an evening of light refreshments on CEWA grounds, with The Chapel of St Michael the Archangel providing a picturesque setting for the gathered principals. Photo: Eric Martin.

The departing principals were presented with The Brady Award, a framed certificate accompanied by a written description of their achievements in the field of education.

Two key figures, were also given a fond farewell at the evening: the incumbent Deputy Executive Director, Mr Peter Yensch and the former Director of Teaching and Learning, Ms Eileen Climo, who together, have worked tirelessly in service of the organisation and have left an indelible mark on Catholic Education in WA.

“Eileen and Peter have made an invaluable contribution to our system of leadership in their respective roles and I would like to thank them for all their wisdom, their expertise and their insights; and we wish them well and the best for the future…,” Dr Sayce said.

“They have truly demonstrated what servant leadership is all about.”