The Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn is the President of the Catholic Education Commission (CEC). All CEC members are appointed by the Archbishop for a four year term with an option for a further four years by invitation of the Archbishop. The Archbishop appoints a Chair as an ex-officio member of the Commission.

CEC members are drawn from key stakeholder groups in the Archdiocese including:

  • Clergy
  • Parents (NSW and ACT)
  • Principals (NSW/ACT and Primary/Secondary and Congregational)
  • Catholic Agencies
  • Australian Catholic University

The ex-officio members are Mr Ross Fox (Director of the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn) who is the Executive Officer and Mrs Tiffany Wallace (Executive Secretary).

The 2019 Membership of the Commission is:



  • Archbishop Christopher Prowse

    Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn


  • Mr Ross Fox

    Executive Officer
    Director- Catholic Education

    Ross Fox was appointed as Director of Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in December 2016. He has held senior positions in Catholic education across Australia, including Director in the Catholic Education Office Melbourne and Executive Director with the National Catholic Education Commission.

    Ross grew up in country Victoria and studied Engineering at the University of NSW. Later, he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.

    Ross is inspired by the great contribution that Catholic schools and educators have made to Australia and shares a passion for seeing every child benefit from quality teaching and learning.

  • Dr Patrick McArdle

    Chair of the Commission
    Campus Dean- Australian Catholic University

    Patrick was appointed as Chair of the Commission from 2016. Prior to his appointment as Chair, Patrick had served on the Commission since 2007. He is currently the Campus Dean, Australian Catholic University, Canberra and has been an academic at the University for over 20 years after a career in Catholic schools.

    Patrick holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Theology (Sydney College of Divinity), Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (Catholic Institute of Sydney), Licentiate in Sacred Theology (CIS), Graduate Diploma of Education (UniSA), Master of Education (ACU) and Doctor of Philosophy (ACU). His academic specialisation is in the fields of Christian Ethics, Health Care Ethics and Practical Theology with research centred on the concept of relationality as the foundation for ethical reflection. He has been a consultant to various education and health care institutions and authorities and serves on a number of Boards.

  • Monsignor John Woods

    Vicar for Education

    Monsignor John Woods was appointed to the Commission in 2015.

  • Mr David Austin

    Principal- Good Shepherd, Primary School, Amaroo

    David was appointed to the Commission in 2020. David is currently the Principal of Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, Amaroo in the ACT. This is his fourth year in this position. Prior to this, David was Principal at St Francis of Assisi Primary School, Calwell (2011-2017) and St Michael’s Primary School, Kaleen ACT (2006-2010). David has taught in Catholic schools in the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese for 29 years including roles in seven ACT primary schools. David has been a member of the ACT Catholic Primary Schools Executive for the past four years including the role as President.

    David’s wife, Katherine is also a teacher in our System. They have four children: two at University, one at Marist College, Pearce and one at St Clare’s College, Griffith.

    David holds the qualifications of Diploma of Teaching (Signadou/ACU), Bachelor of Education (ACU), Graduate Diploma Religious Education (ACU), Master of Education (ACU) and Master of Educational Leadership (ACU).

  • Mrs Vanessa Gibson

    Deputy Chair of the Commission - Community Member- Solicitor

    Vanessa was appointed to the Commission in 2016, and became Deputy chair from 2017. Vanessa was admitted as a Solicitor in 2003 and has practised in Sydney and regional NSW. Vanessa worked as an employed Solicitor at Gordon Garling Moffitt Lawyers from 2005 until 2013 when she became a Partner. Vanessa lives and practises in Grenfell NSW and is a parent of St Joseph’s School Grenfell. Prior to commencing practise, Vanessa worked as a Policy Advisor at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Canberra.

    Vanessa holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (UNE), Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (College of Law, Sydney), Diploma in Government (Graduate Development Program, Canberra) and Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning (UNE). Vanessa is admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia and holds an unrestricted practising certificate from the Law Society of NSW.

  • Mrs Gabrielle Sullivan

    Community Member- Special Counsel

    Gabrielle was appointed to the Commission in 2016. Gabrielle is Special Counsel at Bradley Allen Lawyers in Canberra. She currently works in the Employment and Industrial Law Group, and has been a solicitor practising in civil law for much of the past 18 years. She has worked primarily in commercial private practice, but also for community legal centres and the ACT Government Solicitor’s Office. Following a country education in Catholic schools in Young and Wagga Wagga, she obtained a Bachelor of Economics (Soc. Sc.), a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Sydney, and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law, NSW. She is admitted to the roll of practitioners for the Courts of the A.C.T, N.S.W, N.T and the High Court of Australia, and holds a current practising certificate. She has three children currently in Catholic schools within the Archdiocese.

  • Mrs Karen Motyka

    Community Member- Chair of the Community Council - St Mary’s, Moruya NSW

    Karen was appointed to the Commission in 2016. Karen has over 24 years’ experience in financial and operational roles within international shipping companies, in London and Sydney. Since having three sons, she has worked part-time from home for Simpson Spence Young, a London based ship-broking house with offices and clients worldwide. She has daily communication with international ship-owners and companies in the mineral resources, steel and grain sectors.

    Karen holds a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance (Nottingham Trent University) and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.

    Karen was educated and married in the Catholic Faith in the UK and has over 10 years’ experience volunteering within the NSW Catholic schools her children attend. She is currently the Chair of the Community Council at St Mary’s in Moruya on the South Coast.

  • Mr Michael Lee

    Principal – St Mary MacKillop College, Tuggeranong

  • Mrs Gaye McManus

    Principal – Trinity Catholic College, Goulburn NSW

    Gaye was appointed to the Commission in 2017. Gaye is currently Principal of Trinity Catholic College, Goulburn. Prior to this, Gaye was the Principal of Mt Carmel School, Yass for seven years. Gaye has taught in Catholic schools in the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese and Sydney Archdiocese for over 30 years, including roles in seven different primary, central and secondary schools.

    Gaye has three children. Her eldest son is currently working in London and her two younger children are studying at the University of Sydney and Notre Dame University.

    Gaye holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Arts (UWA), Graduate Diploma of Education (UWA), Master of Education (CSU), Graduate Certificate of Educational Law (ACU) and Graduate Diploma of Theological Studies (ACU).

  • Ms Selina Walker

    Archdiocesan Parents Council President

    Selina was appointed to the Commission in 2019.

  • Mrs Frances Robertson

    Principal - St Patrick’s Parish School, Cooma NSW

    Frances Robertson was appointed to the Commission in 2017. She is currently the Principal of St Patrick’s Parish School in Cooma, a role that she has held for four years. She has held a variety of leadership roles in rural and regional Catholic schools for the last 30 years.

    Her teaching experience ranges from Kindergarten to Secondary to Tertiary. She has been an educational consultant and previously has taken on the challenge of being the Assistant to the Director in the Wagga Wagga Diocese.

    Frances holds the qualifications of Masters of Education, Licentiate of Trinity College London (Speech and Drama) and Grad Dip in Theology.

  • Mr Matthew Hutchison

    Headmaster - Marist College, Canberra ACT

  • Mr Robert Johnson

    Parent | Community Representative

The Archdiocesan Church welcomes and thanks these members of the community who have accepted an appointment to the Catholic Education Commission. Their participation in the education ministry of the Church is a challenge to provide authentic Catholic education for the children in our Schools.