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 4 year term with an option for a further 4 years on the 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 Frances Neuss (Executive Secretary).

The 2017 Membership of the Commission is:


  • 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 3 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 3 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.

  • Mrs Loretta Wholley

    Principal – Merici College, Braddon ACT

    Loretta was appointed to the Commission in 2017. She is the Principal of Merici College and has been since 2013. Prior to this, Loretta worked in system and independent Catholic Schools as Teacher, Religious Education Coordinator and Deputy Principal in Perth, Western Australia.

    Loretta holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Arts in Education (ECU), Bachelor of Education (NDA), Masters of Religious Education (NDA) and is currently undertaking a Master of Educational Leadership at ACU.

  • Mrs Gaye McManus

    Principal - Mt Carmel School, Yass NSW

    Gaye was appointed to the Commission in 2017. Gaye is currently Principal of Mt Carmel School Yass, and has been in this role for six years. Prior to this, Gaye was Principal at St Joseph’s Primary School North Goulburn from 2008-2010. Gaye has taught in Catholic schools in the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese and Sydney Archdiocese for over 30 years, including roles in six different primary, central and secondary schools.

    Gaye has three children. Her eldest son is currently working in London and her two younger children (a boy and a girl) 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).

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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.