New appointments bolster governance in Catholic education

New appointments bolster governance in Catholic education

Australia’s largest system of Catholic schools has announced a suite of senior leadership appointments to support its transition to a new national governance structure.

The new appointments by Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) include Human Resources Director, Kym Bakaric, and six Board Chairs and CEOs who will oversee EREA’s new subsidiary companies.

Dr Stephen Brown has also been appointed as Executive Chair of the EREA Ltd Board until January 2024, an evolution of his interim appointment in 2022 due to Stephen’s already significant contribution to EREA. 

Bakaric, a highly experienced HR professional, with more than 20 years of experience and a passion for education and organisational development, has held various senior HR roles at Victoria University and was most recently at the helm as Executive Director of People and Culture, where she was principal advisor to the CEO and executive group.

During this time, Bakaric also supported staff through the extraordinary changes and challenges that resulted from the pandemic. She joined EREA in November 2022 and is already embedding herself in the organisation, with plans in place to strengthen the ways in which EREA supports, encourages and develops its national network.

Interim Executive Director Ray Paxton said Bakaric would work to “nourish relationships within the EREA network”.

“Creating a new HR Director role was central to our commitment to bolster EREA’s service offering and ensure that our entire network gets access to the most highly qualified, specialised expertise possible,” Paxton said.

“It is wonderful to see Kym already working proactively and strategically to ensure EREA is a place where people feel equipped to support our schools and students, and enact the charism and tradition of Edmund Rice.”

The additional appointments of subsidiary Board Chairs and CEOs strengthen EREA’s new organisational structure and enable more specialised and targeted support to be delivered to EREA schools across the country.

Amongst these include specialised companies for EREA Flexible Schools, which serve some of the most marginalised young people in Australia, EREA Colleges, which will oversee the colleges and early learning centres across Australia (with the exception of Victoria and New South Wales), and EREA New South Wales Colleges, which will govern seven NSW colleges. EREA schools in Victoria will continue to be governed by the Trustees of EREA.

New subsidiary Board Chair appointments to date include:

Pauline Gately, an accomplished economist, who has been appointed as Chair of EREA Colleges Ltd; Sam Hardjono, who will serve as the Board Chair of EREA NSW Colleges Ltd; and Thelma Parker, who will head EREA Flexible Schools Ltd.

New CEO/Director appointments include Chris Woolley for EREA Colleges Ltd; Maura Manning for EREA NSW Colleges Ltd; Matt Hawkins for EREA Flexible Schools Ltd, and Andy Kuppe as Director of Victorian Schools.

The appointments bring significant experience and expertise to the EREA network, and Executive Director of EREA Ltd, Dr Stephen Brown, believes they will support EREA in providing a positive, safe and healthy culture of learning for all students in every state across the country.

The original version of this article appeared as a media release by EREA and has been edited for length.