Dr Ken Avenell (Townsville)
Ken is the Director of Formation and Identity for Toowoomba Catholic Schools and has a Master of Educational Leadership; Doctor of Education and Diploma of Theology.
Lee-Ann Barton (Townsville)
Lee-Ann is a Religious Education Adviser with Townsville Catholic Education. She has 33 years teaching experience in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools in Queensland and South Australia and has held leadership positions with Catholic Education as Adviser and Consultant. Lee-Ann has attained Masters in Educational Leadership, Religious Education, Leadership and Management, Early Childhood Education, ECEC and Information Technology. Some of her accomplishments have been the construction and operation of 14 kindergartens on Catholic school sites and child care centres, and the Early Years Project initiative in Townsville Catholic Education schools. She was consultant for the recently published book: Inquiring, Connecting Learning: Framework for Early Years Spirituality and Religious Education.
Sharyn Bell (Townsville)
Sharyn has been an educator for 35 years, working in various roles including College Principal, System Curriculum Adviser, and Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher Assessor. Sharyn has attained a Masters of Educational Leadership and is passionate about working with school leadership to develop explicit improvement agendas leading to better outcomes for students and staff. Currently a Townsville Catholic Education Religious Education Adviser, Sharyn is part of a service team seeking to enhance the Catholic Identity of schools in the Townsville Diocese through her work with leadership.
Dr Gina Bernasconi (VIC)
Dr Gina Bernasconi is Education Officer: Enhancing Catholic School Identity for the Diocese of Ballarat Catholic Education.
Rebekah Black (VIC)
Rebekah Black is a Grade 5 & 6 Classroom Teacher at Lumen Christi primary school, Delacombe. She is an experienced and passionate educator who participated in the Recontextualising Pedagogy Victorian Research Project sponsored by CTC 2018-2020.
Dr Teresa Brown (VIC)
Teresa is a teacher and researcher in the School of Theology at ACU. Having previously worked in Catholic secondary schools as a teacher and leader of Religious Education and Professional Learning, she now works with Catholic Education partners around Australia and with research partners at KU Leuven to support schools in the articulation, enhancement, and practice of their Catholic identity.
Marcia Burgess (SA)
Marcia is the Senior Education Advisor: Religious Education Curriculum at CESA. She leads a team of advisors that developed the new Crossways curriculum and its interactive website. Marcia lectures in RE Curriculum Design for UniSA and has a passion for RE curriculum, pedagogy and the science of learning.
Dr Margaret Carswell (VIC)
Margaret is a teaching focussed academic at ACU, with extensive experience in Catholic Schools and the teaching of Religious Education. Her research and publications focus on the point at which Catholic biblical scholarship meets curriculum development, with a particular interest in classroom practices, methods, strategies and techniques which position passages for authentic meaning. Her work in critiquing the placement of scripture in religious education to enable a more hermeneutical engagement is recognised internationally. Margaret has worked in Catholic Education throughout Australia and overseas, where she has been and remains a critical friend, consultant, adviser, curriculum writer and team leader. Her current writing includes the production of school resources for primary and secondary schools in both Australia and England and Wales.
Lisa is Education Officer at Toowoomba Catholic schools and has a Master of Religious Education and Master of Special Education. She is an integral part of the Formation and Identity Team at Toowoomba Catholic Schools.
Michael Chisholm (VIC)
Michael joined Catholic Education Sandhurst LTD in 2019 and previously worked in the tertiary education sector for La Trobe university dedicated to Indigenous academic programs and student services. Michael’s work as the Aboriginal Education Officer has provided him with many opportunities to support all the schools within the Sandhurst Catholic school community with a purpose to engage with Aboriginal education. His work is dedicated to sharing his Aboriginal knowledge and worldviews to help inform the teaching and learning, curriculum, and pedagogical approaches to develop culturally rich school environments.
Antoinette Cole (Cairns)
Antoinette is Leader Formation: First Nations with Cairns Catholic Education Services. As a transformative leader, Antoinette leads with her heart to inspire hope and shared vision amongst her colleagues. Using the strength of her own Torres Strait Islander identity, she leans into her own ways of knowing, being and doing to create opportunities to engage in dialogue and deep listening through the richness of story.
Chris Dainton (VIC)
Chris is Deputy Principal, Catholic Identity, at St Mary of the Angels Catholic College Nathalia.
Dr Annemie Dillon (Belgium: online)
Annemie (Lier, 1978) is Professor in Pastoral and Empirical Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. Her research focuses on theology regarding families and children, domestic violence, religious education in families, empirical theology, and fundamental practical theological reflections. In addition to articles in journals and edited volumes, she has published a number of books (as author and editor), such as: Dillen, A. & S. Gärtner, Discovering Practical Theology: Exploring Boundaries, Leuven, Peeters, 2020; and many other books in Dutch, including a comprehensive overview of the ethical perspectives of the work of Ivan Nagy and other writings which focus on theology and ethics from the perspectives of children and the family. Annemie Dillen was also the editor of a number of English volumes: Dillen, A. & A. Vandenhoeck (eds.), Prophetic Witness in World Christianities. Rethinking Pastoral Care and Counseling (International Practical Theology, 13), Münster, Lit-verlag, 2011; Dillen, A. & D. Pollefeyt (eds.), Children’s Voices. Children’s Perspectives in Ethics, Theology and Religious Education (betl), Leuven, Peeters, 2010; Dillen, A. (ed.), When ‘Love’ Strikes. Social Sciences, Ethics and Theology on Family Violence, Leuven, Peeters, 2009. Her latest work is: Dillen, A. & A. Casteel, “Crossing Borders, Changing Faith” in Religion, Migration and Existential Wellbeing, London, Routledge, 2021.
Troy Firebrace (VIC)
Troy has been employed as an Aboriginal Education Officer by Catholic Education Sandhurst LTD since 2019. Previously Troy worked as a Professional Artist and Director of his own company Firebrace Designs Pty Ltd providing Aboriginal education and arts practice throughout Australia mainly based in Victoria. Currently Troy still works within both roles as an Artist and as an Aboriginal Education Officer as both feed into his life ambitions and passion. Troy strives to develop a better and wholesome education system for all students, from walks of life, insuring First Nations Culture and students have a voice in and outside schools.
Nelson Graham (VIC)
Nelson works for Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools as a Learning Consultant in Religious Education for the Northern Region. From his previous primary school-based role as a Religious Education Leader, Nelson brings his experience and love of learning and teaching from school settings into his present role. His main aim in working with teachers is to engage them in experiences of learning and teaching that brings the Catholic Tradition into today’s world. Within the parishes he has belonged to, Nelson has been involved in music ministry for over two decades. It is through coupling of the love of song with the Catholic story that Nelson continues to work with adults and students to help them engage in a deeper understanding of the Catholic Faith through music.
Carmel Hanley (VIC)
Carmel is the Deputy Principal at Lumen Christi Primary School Delacombe, in the Diocese of Ballarat. She is an experienced and passionate educator who participated in the Recontextualising Pedagogy Research Project sponsored by CTC 2018-2020.
Assoc. Prof. Robyn Horner (VIC)
Robyn is a teaching and research academic at ACU with extensive experience in academic leadership. Her research focuses on the intersections of continental philosophy with theology, especially using hermeneutic phenomenology, together with a variety of post-structuralist tools of critique. She is currently completing a monograph on revelation, and recently published with Professor Claude Romano an edited book on the relationship between atheism and experience. Robyn teaches and supervises in the areas of enhancing Catholic identity, post-structuralism and French phenomenology, and theological recontextualisation.
Dr Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer (VIC)
Christiaan is a researcher in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at ACU’s Melbourne campus. His primary areas of interest are the theology of grace, interreligious dialogue and the thought and legacy of Bernard J. F. Lonergan.
Sharon Kenyon Smith (VIC)
Sharon is principal at St Joseph’s Primary School Hawthorn.
Adrian Lacey (VIC)
Adrian is Education Officer, Religious Education Learning and Teaching at Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS). His research interests include factors that facilitate student engagement in religious education. Adrian supports the team responsible for the implementation of a hermeneutical, dialogical approach to RE learning (Pedagogy of Encounter) in the Melbourne Archdiocese.
Leonie Leviston (VIC)
Leonie is the Grade 2 Classroom Teacher and Religious Education Leader at Lumen Christi Primary School Delacombe. She is an experienced and passionate educator who participated in the Recontextualising Pedagogy Victorian Research Project sponsored by CTC 2018-2020.
Louise Levy (VIC)
Louise is employed as the Aboriginal Education Officer for Catholic Education Sandhurst LTD. Louise has been working in this role for the past 13 years. She has studied in range of areas and has achieved qualifications in, Masters in organisational leadership, Diploma of Theology and Diploma Wayapa Wuurrk. Louise is also a qualified practitioner and accredited administrator and facilitator in Myers Briggs personality indicator. Her role in Catholic education has enabled Louise to develop many positive and practical ways of implementing Indigenous curricula and ceremony into the Catholic Identity context. Louise’s interests outside of her occupation are, travelling and exploring other cultures through the lenses of her photography.
Mieke Lochrie (VIC)
Mieke is the 5/6 Classroom Teacher and Faith Formation Leader at St Joseph’s Primary School Hawthorn. For more than a decade, St Joseph’s leadership teams have promoted a culture of dialogue and fostered teacher professional learning in Religious Education through regular dialogue sessions which unpack the learning foci and open the theology underpinning these.
Rachel McLean (Cairns)
Rachel is Leader Formation for Cairns Catholic Education Services. A passionate educational leader, Rachel is motivated by a pursuit of justice in all aspects of education: curriculum; pastoral care; leadership; outreach; and faith-based learning experiences. Her creative and disciplined approach to identifying needs, consulting and collaborating with communities and co-creating options for change has been honed through her experiences in Education settings in NSW, Queensland and Tanzania. Her faith is sustained through her practice of Ignatian Spirituality which forms and informs her ways of proceeding.
Dr Rina Madden (VIC)
Rina is lecturer in Pastoral and Spiritual Studies and Religious Education at Catholic Theological College (University of Divinity), East Melbourne, where she is also Project Officer for the Recontextualising Pedagogies Victorian Research Project sponsored by CTC and for this National Conference.
Alice Marquand (VIC)
Alice is the Grade 5 & 6 Classroom Teacher at Lumen Christi Primary School Delacombe. She is an experienced and passionate educator who participated in the Recontextualising Pedagogy Victorian Research Project sponsored by CTC 2018-2020.
Eloise Meyer (VIC)
Eloise is the Religious Education Leader at St Ambrose Parish Primary School Woodend and is currently studying for a master’s degree in educational leadership. She has worked within her own school and others to unpack the Religious Education Curriculum and has previously presented at the Northern Region Network Meeting for Religious Education Leaders. Eloise draws on a rich background in Catholic education and is highly motivated by her knowledge of her students and the community, often using music as a vehicle to engage them, both through Religious Education and in her role as a Performing Arts Teacher and Leader. She is passionate about creating opportunities for meaningful connections with the Catholic Tradition, the Gospel, and the core messages of the Catholic Faith. Eloise’s engagement with students, families, teachers, and leaders clearly reflects this passion.
Dr Christopher Morris (VIC)
Christopher is a lecturer in areas of spirituality and meditation at Catholic Theological College (University of Divinity). His research focuses on ‘wisdom knowing’ and ways to cultivate wholeness.
Mary Mudge (Townsville)
Mary is the System Learning and Teaching Adviser: Religious Education with Townsville Catholic Education, having spent 40 years in school and system leadership and teaching roles in urban and regional settings in the Townsville Diocese. Mary has made noteworthy contributions as an APRE and as member of committees, boards and councils in local, state and national forums. She has a passion for life-long learning and holds a particular interest in understanding the encounter between people’s relationship with the living Christ and their continual search for meaning, identity and spirituality.
Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta
Bishop Vincent Long was born in 1961 in Dong Nai in Vietnam. Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, his family has been dispersed: his mother, a brother and a sister are in Melbourne, three brothers are in Holland, a sister remains in Vietnam, and Bishop Vincent is now in Parramatta. In 1984, he became a professed Conventual Franciscan friar (OFM Conv) and studied for the priesthood in Melbourne. After his priestly ordination on 30 December in 1989, he was sent to Rome for further studies and was awarded a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure. He served as an assistant and then parish priest for seven years in Kellyville within the Diocese of Parramatta and for seven years in Springvale in Victoria before being elected Superior of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals in Australia in 2005. He served as Assistant General in Rome from 2008 until 2011, responsible for the Asia-Oceania section of his Order. In 2011, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in which role he served for nearly five years. Bishop Vincent is the first Vietnamese born bishop to lead a diocese outside of Vietnam and the first Vietnamese born bishop in Australia. During that period, he was Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Peace and for Social Services and was Chair of the Catholic Education Commission (Victoria). Nationally, Bishop Vincent is the Chair, Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service. On 5 May 2016, he was appointed the fourth Bishop of Parramatta in succession to Bishop Anthony Fisher OP following his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney in 2014. On 16 June 2016, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv was installed as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
Sharon O’Keefe (Cairns)
Sharon is the Director of Identity and Outreach for Cairns Catholic Education Services. In a career spanning over 25 years, Sharon has gained extensive experience in the education sector, both in independent and Catholic secondary and primary schools in the United Kingdom, Tanzania and Australia with a focus on educational leadership, Catholic Identity, curriculum design and experiential learning. Sharon is currently completing her third Masters degree with a focus on, ‘How Pope Francis’s view of intercultural dialogue and inculturation further animates Cairns, Catholic Education ‘Encounter Catholic Identity Framework’, especially its dialogue with First Nations Peoples?
Jack O’Toole (VIC)
Jack is Deputy Principal and Religious Education Leader at St Joseph’s School Hawthorn. For more than a decade, St Joseph’s leadership teams have promoted a culture of dialogue and fostered teacher professional learning in Religious Education through regular dialogue sessions which unpack the learning foci and open the theology underpinning these.
Lee PethyBridge (VIC)
Lee works for Catholic Education Sandhurst LTD as an Education Officer: Religious Education. With David Walker they have been supporting schools in Sandhurst through all aspects of the ECSI surveys for a number of years including as part of the Recontextualising Pedagogies Victorian Research Project conducted by Catholic Theological College University of Divinity.
Brett Rangira (Brisbane)
Brett has been a teacher and has held school and system leadership roles in Catholic education for over thirty years. During this time, he has taught secondary school Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Religious Education, and he has served school communities in Head of Department, Assistant Principal, and Deputy roles. Throughout his career he has been deeply fascinated with questions that explore the fundamental nature and purpose of Catholic education. He has recently completed his doctoral studies and his research project explored the nature of the professional identity of teachers in Catholic secondary schools. He is currently with ACU.
Theresa Redgwell (Cairns)
Theresa is Assistant Principal Mission at St Mary’s Catholic College Woree. Theresa’s approach to education and leadership has been framed by the Gospel invitation of hospitality. In her current role as Assistant Principal Mission, this way of welcome has been animated for students and staff through: pastoral accompaniment; encouragement and empowerment of personal faith witness; and a collaborative and co-creating way of operating. Her desire to open dialogue and encourage spiritual and personal growth drives Theresa’s way of proceeding.
Christopher Reed (VIC)
Christopher is the foundation Principal of Mother Teresa Primary School Mt Ridley, a position he has held since 2009. He has been a part of Catholic Education Melbourne for 33 years. His current research focuses on the key contributing factors that impact on leading the implementation and development of a Recontextualising Dialogue school.
Prof. Richard Rymarz (VIC)
Richard Rymarz is the Head of Religious Education and Director of Research at the BB – TAITE. Prior to this he held the Peter and Doris Kule Chair in Catholic Religious Education, St Joseph’s College, University of Alberta. He has had wide experience in educational research and teaching, especially work on Catholic schools, teacher formation and religious education. His most recent books examine classroom religious education in Catholic schools and the history and future directions of teacher formation.
Angela Travers (Townsville)
Angela is the Manager for the Formation and Identity Team at Toowoomba Catholic Schools. She has a Master of Educational Leadership and Master of Religious Education.
Michael Vial (SA)
Michael is the Manager Religious Education and Faith Formation for Catholic Education SA. He is interested in supporting school leaders in their religious leadership, developing RE curriculum and pedagogy, exploring contemporary Catholic identity of schools, and fostering the formation of staff. Michael is a member of the NCEC Faith Formation and RE Standing Committee.
Margaret Waldeck (VIC)
Margaret is a team leader on the Catholic Mission and Identity Team for MACS. A teacher in Catholic schools for over 20 years, 15 of these were spent as Religious Education Leader, in the Eastern Region of Melbourne. Holding a Master is Religious Education from Australian Catholic University, she has spent the last 10 years working in Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools as a Learning Consultant in Religious Education. In her role as team leader, she spends a large part of her time supporting consultants, school leadership teams and religious education leaders in particular, working in school improvement with a focus on religious education outcomes for students.
David Walker (VIC)
David works for Catholic Education Sandhurst LTD as an Education Officer: Religious Education. With Lee PethyBridge they have been supporting schools in Sandhurst through all aspects of the ECSI surveys for a number of years including as part of the Recontextualising Pedagogies Victorian Research Project conducted by Catholic Theological College University of Divinity.
Lee Ann Weekes (Townsville)
Lee Ann is an Education Officer with Toowoomba Catholic Schools. She has a Master of Educational Leadership and is an integral member of the Formation and Identity Team at Toowoomba Catholic schools.
Amer Youhanna (VIC)
Amer was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University and his Licentiate of Sacred Theology STL (Moral Theology) from the Alfonsianum Academy, Pontifical Lateran University. Amer has been involved in Catholic schools in Melbourne for more than 10 years and since 2019 has been a member of the Catholic Mission and Identity Team at Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools.