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Governance a priority for new CEC chair

Dr Mark Sayers relishes his new role as first lay Chair of the Catholic Education Council

NEW Chair of the Catholic Education Council, Dr Mark Sayers is looking forward to going back to school.

However, the practising barrister is not returning to the classroom to teach, but to observe.

As Chair of the council his role is to provide advice along with other members of the council to Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane in the exercise of his governance responsibilities in the area of Catholic schools.

As the first lay Chair of the council Dr Sayers said he was conscious of the history of the council and the people who had dedicated their life to bringing Catholic education to the people.

He said his role would be to facilitate the shared wisdom of council members around the table in how to be supportive of the Archbishop and to formulate the policies to take Catholic education into the future.

To help this process he said school visits were an important aspect of the role.

“For some of us it’s been a while since we’ve visited a school, and we all seem to have a residual knowledge of what we say Catholic schools are like and we know how schools operate.

“But there’s nothing quite like the eye-opening experience of meeting kids in their first three or four years of formal education and seeing schools from their perspective.

“Trying to understand how it is as a reality in their world now as opposed to just simply relying on our own memories and collective conscious.

“It is something that gives life to, and breaths life into the process of policy formulation that we are engaged in,” he said.

Archbishop Bathersby announced Dr Sayers’ appointment as chair of the council from the beginning of 2011, replacing Good Samaritan Sister Mary McDonald.

The Archbishop, in announcing Sr McDonald’s replacement, praised her outstanding dedication and leadership during a time of significant expansion in the educational mission of the archdiocese.

He said Sr Mary had brought great expertise, experience and wisdom to the role in the 10 years she had been at the helm.

As incoming Chair Dr Sayers, who has extensive interests and qualifications in the areas of philosophy, theology and law, will join with other council members from many areas of education and the Catholic community, to prepare and update policies and guidelines for implementation in all Catholic schools administered by the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Bathersby said the council was an important advisory body to him in his work governing the archdiocese.

He said he was grateful to all council members for their dedication and advice on governance issues relating to Catholic education.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101