The Role of the Advisory Council
The primary role of the Advisory Council is to oversee the financial management of the College. The Advisory Council is provided with a financial report at each meeting, as well as details of future budgets and proposed capital development. The Advisory Council approves capital project development and funding and any extraordinary spending requirements during the year.
The St Brigid’s College Advisory Council is provided with information beyond purely financial matters. This information, intended to provide a wider context for Advisory Council Members, is generally given in the Principal’s report and includes school activities, personnel issues including staff movements, student issues and enrolments.
The Advisory Council is essentially responsible for setting policy for the long-term future, while the Principal is responsible for implementing that policy.
Expectations of Advisory Council Members
- Advisory Council Members are expected to attend monthly meetings, generally held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Occasionally, sub-committees are formed to manage particular issues or projects.
- Advisory Council Members are invited to a number of College functions held during the school year including the Mercy Dinner, Presentation Night, Auction Night and the College Fair.
- All matters discussed at Advisory Council meetings are entirely confidential.
- Advisory Council Members are expected to declare conflicts of interest if applicable.
- The minimum Advisory Council term is two years.
Role of Principal and Chairperson
The Principal and the Advisory Council Chairperson need to be able to work well as a team, and this requirement is especially important between the Principal and the Advisory Council Chairperson. The people in these two key roles work in close cooperation with one another and communicate frequently outside the Advisory Council meetings. At each meeting, the Principal gives a report – the Chairperson is typically aware of any major issues before the meeting.
Laws applied to the College
The St Brigid’s College Advisory Council is an advisory body to the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy with no legal powers in its own right. The Sisters of Mercy are the legal entity of the College. All land titles are in the name of the legal entity. The Common Seal is held by the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy in Western Australia. Any legal documentation must be passed on to the Congregational Leader. All decisions made by the Advisory Council are recommendations to the legal entity.
Insurance Policies are in place to protect the Principal, Senior Leadership Positions, Advisory Council Members and the Sisters of Mercy as comprehensively as possible under current insurance options.
College Financial Information
Monthly financial information is distributed to Advisory Council members with monthly meeting agendas. The figures are up to date to the end of the preceding month.
Profile of Advisory Council Members
Sister Joan Buckham RSM (Chairperson)
Sister Joan Buckham is a member of the Sisters of Mercy Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG). Her career has been in Catholic Education in Western Australia teaching at both Primary and Secondary levels. She has enjoyed three Principalships and was a former Deputy Director of Catholic Education in WA. Sister’s last work in Catholic Education was as a Campus Minister.
Sister Joan has been a member of the Catholic Education Commission and its Standing Committee for six years and is presently a member of the Catholic Pastoral Institute Council.
Sister works in a part time capacity as Assistant Catholic Chaplain at Royal Perth Hospital.
Her special interest lies in Catholic Education and she firmly believes a good education requires the right combination of heart and mind. Sister is quoted as having observed this happening at St Brigid’s and explains that is why she felt honoured when invited to join the Advisory Council.
Fr Michael Separovich
Fr Michael joined the St Brigid’s College Advisory Council in March 2014 following his appointment as Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lesmurdie.
Father was educated at Spearwood State Primary School which was in close proximity to the family home and market garden, and then CBC Fremantle. His family were faithful members of St Jerome’s Parish in Spearwood.
Prior to joining the Priesthood, Fr Michael spent approximately 14 years in the State Public Service, highlights of which included a Public Relations/Marketing role during the heady years of the America’s Cup win off Fremantle.
Father also worked as a Laundry Assistant at Mercy Hospital and as a PCA with the St John of God Hospital group. He was employed for a short time as an Undertaker’s Assistant.
Fr Michael joined the Seminary at St Mary’s Mulgrave Victoria before continuing his studies at St Charles Seminary in Guildford and St Francis Xavier.
His first appointment was as Assistant Priest at Rockingham. He also worked in the Kalgoorlie and Wanneroo Parishes and as a full time Chaplain ministering at Royal Perth Hospital. Father was Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Rockingham before being transferred to Lesmurdie Parish.
He is looking forward to building on the relationship between the Parish and our College.
Linda was born in Perth and went to primary school in Gooseberry Hill and Jakarta in Indonesia. She went to high school at St Brigid’s College and graduated in 1982. Since then, she has had a very diverse career in both politics and the Army, has gained several post graduate qualifications and loves to travel every chance she gets.
After school Linda joined the Army Reserves and in 1990 went to work for a local politician, since then has worked for several Liberal Members of Parliament, Government Ministers, and the Liberal Party of Australia, She particularly loves election campaigning. Her last position with the Liberal Party was the Deputy Federal Director of the Party nationally (the most senior woman ever in this position).
Linda has had many diverse and rewarding roles in the Army including being a Commanding Officer. For the past five years she worked full time in the Army, most recently as the Army Adjutant General. Linda is very proud to be the first woman in the Army Reserves to achieve the rank of Brigadier and also for being awarded in 2011 a Conspicuous Service Cross by the Governor-General.
Linda also loves the time she spends training political candidates in countries such as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Bhutan, and she particularly enjoys working with women who are trying to make a difference in their local communities.
Linda is now living back in the hills and is the newly elected Liberal Senator for Western Australia.
Linda joined the St Brigid’s College Advisory Council in February 2014.
Amelia Toffoli (Principal)
Dr Amelia Toffoli has an extensive background in Western Australian Catholic Education. After teaching in single sex girls and boys Catholic Colleges, she discharged various leadership positions during two co-education school amalgamations, including the mercy-heritage Mercy College K-12 College. She gained insights into vocational education training as a Board Member of the Midland Technical and Further Education College for a number of years.
Dr Toffoli commenced at St Brigid’s College in 2004, as Principal. In this capacity, she has led a number of projects that have resulted in many favourable outcomes for the community. St Brigid’s became the first Catholic school in Western Australia to be authorised as an International Baccalaureate World School in 2008. A 13 million dollar building, aptly named The One World Centre, is situated on what had been a road separating the primary and secondary sections of the College, was blessed and opened in 2012. This heritage-sympathetic building offers many state-of-the-art, collaborative spaces for all members of the College to gather, learn, heal, welcome, lead and together strategically plan future possibilities for all our children.
During her time as Principal, the College’s mercy identity and sense of purpose has continued to be strengthened with the introduction of Staff Colloquiums and Mercy in Action, Making a Difference (MIA MAD), a service learning programme for all students from Year 6, which gives meaning and purpose to fundraising activities and culminates in overseas immersion activities to Cambodia and the Year 12 MAD Ball.
Dr Toffoli values life-long learning. She holds a Master of Education and an award winning Doctorate Of Education from the University of Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma in Administration from Curtin. She is currently reading for a Master of Education (Religious Education) at the University of Notre Dame. For her sabbatical in 2011, she studied at Oxford University and Boston College. Following her Doctorate she has given presentations at national education conferences and has published in peer-refereed journals.
Dr Toffoli is renowned as a strategic innovator with high level expertise and experience in academic development, leadership development, human resource management, change management, organisational analysis and development, knowledge management, project management and a passion for supporting people to reach their God-given potential.
Michael Murray QC, AM
Michael John Murray was appointed to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in February 1990 and retired from this position on attaining the age of 70 at the beginning of 2012.
Retired Justice Murray was born in 1942. He was educated at Governor Stirling Senior High School, of which he was School Captain. He graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Law from the University of Western Australia in 1963 and was admitted to practice in 1965. He joined the Crown Law Department and practised entirely as a Government Lawyer and as an advocate, holding at various times, the positions of Crown Prosecutor and then Crown Counsel for Western Australia. He was appointed Queens Counsel in 1984. During those years he was a member of Army Legal Corps and for over ten years served on the Council of the Law Society of WA, of which he was President in 1988. During the latter part of that period he was a member of the Council of the Law Council of Australia. He has served for ten years on the Governing Council of the Judicial College of Australia.
From 1990 – 1999 Justice Murray was a member of the Senate of Murdoch University and for five years of that period was its Pro-Chancellor. In 1999 he was awarded an Honorary LID for service to the University and to the law. He remains Chairman of the Supervised Release Review Board for juvenile parole and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Murdoch University.
Michael joined the College Advisory Council in August 2011.
In 2013, Justice Murray was appointed by the State Government as the new parliamentary inspector of the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).
Michael is a member of the Executive of the National Trust WA, pursuing an interest in the preservation of our history.
Justice Murray was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Australia Day Honours List. He was recognised for service to the judiciary, law reform, education and to the community.
Dave joined the Advisory Council in 2013. He is the current Parent Forum President, having taken over the role on the 9th May 2013, and has two daughters, one of whom is currently attending St Brigid’s College. Dave’s eldest daughter graduated from the College in 2013 winning many Awards including the prestigious Principal’s Award. Dave acts as a conduit between the Advisory Council and the Parent Forum body. Migrating to Australia from the UK in 2008, Dave has held senior IT positions in banking and the energy sector and is currently IT Operations Manager at Synergy. In his spare time he enjoys playing and watching sport and is an avid supporter of Bolton Wanderers who currently play their soccer in the second tier in England.
Sister Beverley Stott
Sister Beverley Stott is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and has joined the Council in 2013. Beverley received her secondary education at St Brigid’s College and since joining the Sisters of Mercy has done tertiary studies at University of Western Australia and at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania USA. Beverley has taught at St Brigid’s in her early years of teaching and later has spent a large proportion of her life in the leadership of the former Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy West Perth. Beverley considers herself very fortunate to have been closely involved in the life of St Brigid’s College over many years and is pleased to serve at this time on the Advisory Council.
Siobhan arrived in Australia from Ireland twenty years ago and settled with her husband Wayne in the Perth Hills.
Siobhan is currently Executive Director with the Parents and Friends Federation of WA Inc, a role she took on in 2016. Her responsibilities in this role include ensuring that the parent perspective is heard in relation to the education and wellbeing of children and young people at Catholic schools. Siobhan works closely with PFFWA Council to ensure the aims and objectives of the governing body are carried out. Siobhan’s particular area of passion is around Parent Engagement in student learning and wellbeing and the benefits this brings to all, and is currently an ARACY (Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People) Parent Engagement champion in WA.
Siobhan is a regular participant on working parties and reference groups of the Catholic Education Commission of WA. Siobhan has more recently been elected to the executive committee of Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA), the national peak parent body representing the parents of children and young people in Catholic schools across Australia. She is also a member of the Faith Formation and Religious Education Standing Committee of the NCEC.
Previous to her current role Siobhan worked as the Liaison Officer with the PFFWA. She was encouraged to apply for the role by the Principal of her children’s school at the time, who felt that Siobhan’s positive attitude towards volunteering at the school, through the P&F Association, the school board and her involvement with the Quality Catholic Schools initiative would contribute positively to a role such as this.
PFFWA, the first parent group in Australia to be successful in securing recurrent government funding for children in Catholic schools, has a very strong grass roots connection to parent groups. Siobhan continued to develop these relationships by visiting parents in their own communities and providing support and advice for parents, teachers and principals alike on a daily basis.
Growing up in Ireland, Siobhan experienced the benefits and joys of a Catholic education and wanted nothing less for her own children. Her son is in Year 11 at Mazenod College and her daughter is in Year 10 at St Brigid’s College. Siobhan is involved in the communities at both schools and an active member of the Parent Groups on both campuses. Siobhan joined our College Advisory Council in August 2017.
Outside work Siobhan’s interests include: gardening with her Mum in the garden they now share since her parents have moved into a granny flat on Siobhan and Wayne’s property, singing (usually at the request of her father who thinks she is gifted and talented in this area!), and watching her children play sport at weekends (provided it’s not too cold!).
Dr Louisa O’Connor
Dr O’Connor was invited to join the St Brigid’s College Advisory Council in March 2017.
Louisa was educated in England at Tormead School for Girls in Guildford, Surrey. She then went on to study at the University of Leicester, University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines, the University of Nottingham and most recently, the Curtin University’s Graduate School of Business. She is a Chartered Professional and has two degrees in earth sciences and a doctorate in mining engineering, most recently undertaking a Master in Business Administration which is ongoing.
Louisa’s career thus far is diverse. She has worked in industry and academia, starting in London and moving to Australia. Currently she works full-time and is the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at the Western Australian School of Mines and is a Senior Lecturer, course and unit coordinator, as well as supervising doctoral research projects. Louisa is an advocate for enabling girls to study in science and engineering with some emphasis in the mining disciplines. She actively encourages any students at the College to ask her questions relating to careers and STEM related areas as she is happy to offer her professional and personal opinions.
As well as working full-time, Louisa has two small children, one who currently attends St Brigid’s College kindergarten and the other is waiting to start in 2018. Louisa loves swimming, cricket, playing the sax, doing home crafts and gardening when there’s time.
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CONSTITUTION FOR COLLEGE ADVISORY COUNCILS
The College Council provides advice and support to the Principal and the Staff of the College. Members of the College Council are valued for their wisdom and the contribution they make to the functioning of the College and work together to ensure that the Mercy Ethos underpins the life of the College.
The name of the College Council is: St Brigid’s College Advisory Council.
2.1 In this Constitution, unless the contrary intention appears:-The College Council means the College Advisory Council referred to in Clause 1 of this Constitution.Meeting means a meeting of the College Advisory Council in accordance with this Constitution.Member means a member of the College Advisory Council holding office in accordance with this Constitution.Mercy Education means Mercy Education Limited.Parents means the father and/or mother and/or guardian in relation to a student of the College.Principal means the Principal of the College.College means St Brigid’s College.2.2 Words importing the singular shall include the plural and vice versa where the context so requires.Words importing gender shall include the masculine gender and/or the feminine gender and/or the neuter gender where the context so requires.3. Purposes The purposes of the Council are as follows:-
(a) To act as a consultative Council for the College and the Principal in the provision of Catholic education.
(b) To promote the Mercy ethos and to ensure the charism is alive and central to all deliberations.(c) To assist the Principal and staff in policy making, including the formulation of foundational documents.
(d) To assist in the preparation of the College budget and to recommend its adoption.
(e) To provide advice concerning the financial administration of the College. This could include supporting the Principal with fund raising activities organised by auxiliary bodies associated with the College.
(f) To give such practical support to the College as required in matters such as capital development, the maintenance of College facilities and equipment.
(g) To take part in the strategic planning for the future operations of the College.
(h) To assist generally in developing relationships both within the College community and between the College and the wider community.
- To facilitate the welcome of parents and children new to the College.
(j) To develop strategies for the local promotion of Catholic education.
(k) To provide advice according to members expertise.
- Membership of Council
- The Council shall consist of no fewer than seven (7) and no more than twelve (12) members comprising the following:-
- The Principal;
- No fewer than six (6) and no more than eleven (11) persons appointed by the Principal, some of whom shall be parents of current students of the College.
- As a general principle all members of Council will hold a Working with Children Card unless exempted from this requirement by the relevant State law.
- Except as provided hereafter Members of the Council shall be appointed for a period of three (3) years commencing on the 1st February of the year of their appointment and concluding on the 31st January three (3) years following.4.4 All persons who are appointed members of the Council pursuant to this Constitution shall be entitled to be re-appointed subject to them remaining eligible to be a member of the Council up to a limit of three (3) consecutive three (3) year terms.4.5 In special circumstances, a Principal may re-appoint a member of Council for a further period not exceeding twelve (12) months.4.6 A person who is a member of the Council shall cease to be a member in any of the following circumstances:-
(a) If such person ceases to belong to any of the categories referred to in Clause 4.1 herein.
- If such person resigns.
- If such person becomes bankrupt or enters into an arrangement with his or her creditors or assigns the benefit of his or her estate for the benefit of his or her creditors.
- If by reason of physical or mental health the person is unable to perform his or her duties.
- If such person is convicted of any offence involving fraud or dishonesty or any other serious offence which is punishable by imprisonment.
- If such person is absent from three consecutive meetings of the Council without an apology.
- If the Principal, within his or her right, and after due consideration, decides to withdraw his/her appointment of a member of Council.
- Membership of Council
The Principal shall give Mercy Education written particulars of the members of the Council before February in each calendar year.
- Formation in Mercy Ethos
During the period of appointment, each member of the Council is expected to participate in Mercy Ethos programs provided by the College, Mercy Education or the Institute. New members will be provided with induction materials by the Principal.
- Meetings of Council
7.1 The Council shall meet no less than six (6) times per school year. The Principal shall give prior written notice of each meeting to the Council members specifying the date, time and place of the meeting. At least one week in advance of an upcoming meeting, the Principal shall provide for all members, an agenda for the meeting, a copy of the minutes of the previous meeting and all relevant papers. The agenda shall be prepared by the Principal in consultation with the Chair of the Council.7.2 Fifty percent (50%) of members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for meetings.7.3 While the term of appointment of a Council member is three (3) years, the position of Chair is appointed annually by the Principal prior to 1st February.7.4 A minute secretary for Council meetings who need not be a member of Council shall be appointed by the Principal. The Principal shall arrange for the Minutes to be typed and for the circulation of copies as aforesaid. A copy of the Minutes shall also be sent to Mercy Education and to each Director of the Mercy Education Board. The original Minutes shall be kept in an appropriate and secure register and shall be signed by the Chairperson. The Minutes shall record the names of all members of the Council present at the meeting.
- Chair of Council
- The tasks of the Chair of the Council shall include:
- chairing of meetings;
- consulting with the Principal on the agenda of each meeting;
- representing the Council at relevant forums;
- participating in formation activities for Chairs as requested by the Principal.
- Custody of Records
All records of the Council shall be kept in the custody of the Principal and archived as appropriate.
- Amendment of Constitution
The Council shall not have power to amend this Constitution. Amendments may be made from time to time by Mercy Education.
MERCY EDUCATION LTD – Revised May 2015