The Spirit of Catholic Education Award are statewide awards that recognise outstanding contributions by individuals
within the Catholic education community, and are presented annually as part of Catholic Education Week
Maureen Burton a consultant in inclusive education based at the North School Service Centre received a Spirit of
Catholic Education Award. This award recognised Maureen’s role in providing emotional, financial and physical
support to a fellow Brisbane Catholic Education employee, a refugee from a country besieged by war. Maureen
supported her co-worker in seeking immigration advice and lobbying politicians for Australian visas for the other
family members stuck in a war zone. When the visas were finally granted, Maureen inspired the office community and
many schools into providing donations of furniture and other needed items. Maureen, deeply committed to the spirit
of Catholic education, is a deserving recipient for the Spirit of Catholic Education Award.
The Tom Fitzsimon Award is a peer-nominated professional learning award sponsored by Brisbane Archdiocesan Catholic
Primary Principals’ Association, which recognises a strong commitment to professional learning in the fields
of leadership and education made by a leader in a Catholic school. The award consists of a professional reading
grant. In 2019, John Spillane from St Mary MacKillop Primary School, Birkdale was presented the Tom Fitzsimon award.
John was recognised as a principal demonstrating great integrity and professionalism. He creates a safe space to
support and facilitate problem solving. John is a respected leader that builds rapport and relational trust to
foster communication, respect and mutual growth.
Nick Hurley was awarded the prestigious 2019 Neil Bloxsidge Leadership Award at the annual Brisbane Catholic
Education Leadership Dinner. Named in honour of former colleague, the Brisbane Catholic Education Leadership Team
presents the award annually to an outstanding leader who has demonstrated the qualities of the outstanding
leadership or has made an outstanding contribution to the development of educational leaders.
Bernie Toohey was named the 2019 ACHPER (Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation)
Inspirational Teacher of the Year at the annual Women in Sport Breakfast. Bernie, the Health and Physical Education
teacher and Years 7/8 coordinator at St John Fisher College, Bracken Ridge runs the college’s Years 7 and 8
HPE program as well as the college’s netball program.
Sue Williams was named School Leader of the Year at the annual Catholic Leader Community Leader Awards. This award
recognises a school leader who made an outstanding contribution to the spiritual, personal, and academic life of
students. Sue, the Assistant Principal, shaped the Holy Spirt Primary School’s Catholic Identity by
coordinating numerous religious events and working closely with parish staff to support various Church events. Sue
created a vision for the school that encompassed the Mercy charism in a personal and effective way. Sue also has
been involved in reach out programs for families dealing with illnesses and coordinated food relief or
San Sisto College, Carina, teacher and author Richard Yaxley received the 2019 ACU’s Book of the Year award and
the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Literature, with his book ‘This is My
Song’. The judging committee lauded Richard’s fourth novel for young adults as a “rich,
beautifully written and multi-layered novel”. This is My Song, Richard’s fourth novel for young adults
was inspired by visit to the Holocaust Memorial in Prague.
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
2A Burke Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Australia
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
Fax: (07) 3844 5101