Serving and supporting the Diocesan mission in education is Catholic Education Services (CES). As the education office for the Cairns Diocese, this diocesan agency operates under the authority of the Bishop and the governing relationships authorised by him.
As an executive arm of the Diocese, CES assists the Bishop in directing pastoral action through educational administration and support and is delegated to undertake responsibilities which serve, support and advocate for all educational ministries.
Its overall responsibilities are articulated in its delegations which in turn are pursued by dedicated people and supportive structures. Our relationship with school communities is an interdependent one, with mission as our collective focus and carriage of responsibilities that are complementary.
Within a ‘stand-alone’ education system offering services to families seeking a quality Catholic education for their children, a number of significant obligations and responsibilities are managed and facilitated by CES.
As part of the diocesan family of schools, although each school may be self-managing, it is not self-governing. Each school operates according to the mandate of the diocesan Church, and its leader, the Bishop of Cairns. The Bishop delegates responsibility for the provision of Catholic education and leadership and strategic management of the system of schools to the Executive Director of Catholic Education Services, and works through the Education Board of Governance to set and monitor policy and practice.
The Executive Director and CES staff members manage and facilitate a number of significant obligations and responsibilities:
- To develop, establish and model the distinctive Catholic Identity within schools and colleges
- To develop and monitor Strategic and Annual plans
- To provide Human Resources support to schools, colleges and CES
- To support and enhance Learning and Teaching within schools in areas such as Student Services, Curriculum, and Resource and Information Services.
- To coordinate communication and collaboration within and beyond Catholic Education
- To provide oversight of the financial and physical resources of schools, colleges and CES
- To develop and maintain communication, decision making and associated management systems
- To act for and on behalf of the Diocese in all matters related to employment within Catholic Education
- To support the professional development of all staff
- To represent and advocate for Catholic Education
- To be accountable to the Bishop, Vicar and Board of Governance through seeking authorisation, consulting and informing on matters of Catholic education within the diocese.
Catholic Education Services expresses its mission as follows:
We are a community of people who support the mission of the Church in the provision of quality, innovative education. We provide leadership, service, and stewardship to those involved in the life project of Catholic education. We seek to be a positive influence in our work within the Church and in the broader community. In the spirit of Christ, we undertake our work through life-giving relationships founded on collaboration, communication, integrity and respect. We look to the future with enduring hope that the human potential for growth and goodness will be realised.
Members of the Catholic Education Services Executive Leadership Team are:
Bill Dixon is the Executive Director of Catholic Education Services – Diocese of Cairns and has been in this role since the beginning of April 2014. Prior to Bill’s current role he was employed as the Manager, Capital Programs for the Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) where he was involved in the delivery of over $850 million of programs. He represented the QCEC Executive Director on the Queensland Schools Planning Commission and was responsible for leading negotiations on regulatory and financial reform of Government planning and development processes in relation to non-government schools. Bill is also the Chairperson Elect of the Queensland Chapter of Education Facility Planners International (CEFPI) and is one of two Queensland delegates on the Australasian Council of CEFPI.
Before moving to Brisbane, Bill worked for Catholic Education Services – Diocese of Cairns as the Capital, QA & Risk Manager from 2007 to 2010 and as the first Manager, Finance and Administration for St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch from 2004 to 2007, the largest school in the Diocese.
Bill has a wide and varied background which has included Banking, State Program Manager within the Queensland Department of Employment, Education and Training, Business manager at St Patrick’s Cathedral Toowoomba, and his employment with the Catholic Church and in Catholic Education over the past 17 years.
Ian Davis Dip T, Grad Dip Art – RE, Grad Dip Music Ed, B Ed, Med – Leadership, MBA
Deputy Executive Director
Ian Davis joined Catholic Education Service- Diocese of Cairns in January 2017 as the Deputy Executive Director – School Development. Prior to Ian’s current role, he was a senior strategy and planning officer for enterprise governance and performance with Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE). This role with BCE involves the provision of consultancy, advice, and support services on enterprise-wide strategy and planning activities, and contributes to developing strategy and planning capability across BCE.Ian also managed BCE’s transition of Year 7 to secondary providing support to secondary principals in planning for and managing this significant move of students. Mr Davis was principal of St Thomas More Catholic School, Sunshine Beach, for five years; principal of Star of the Sea Catholic School, Hervey Bay, for 10 years; and principal of St Joseph’s School, Childers, for three years.
Andrea O’Brien PhD, M Ed, B Ed, Grad Dip Arts (RE)
Assistant Executive Director
Andrea O’Brien joined Catholic Education Services – Diocese of Cairns in January 2019 as the Director of School Effectiveness for P-12 & Secondary Colleges. She now holds the position of Assistant Executive Director, with responsibility for Strategic Governance. Prior to coming to Cairns, Andrea worked as a Senior Leader in School Improvement within the Brisbane Catholic Education Office. Areas of responsibility included oversight of the School Improvement Unit and internal and external school reviews, along with beginning Principal Support and School leadership appraisals. Andrea has worked in Catholic education for over 40 years, across the Townsville, Brisbane and Cairns areas. Across that time she has been Principal at Clairvaux MacKillop College, at Upper Mt Gravatt, Ryan Catholic College in Townsville and St Margaret Mary’s College in Townsville.
Andrea is currently serving as a Board member of the Queensland College of Teachers.
Paul McArthur CPA, MBA, BBus(Acct)
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Rachel McLean BA/LLB (Hons), Grad.Dip.Ed, Master Educational Leadership (with Distinction), Master of Theology (with Distinction)
Director Identity & Outreach
Director Student Wellbeing & Diversity
Marissa Clark M EdL, BEd, Grad Cert (Gestalt Therapy)
Director Workforce Capability
Director First Nations Education
Sr Ann-Maree Nicholls SGS, Dip T, B Ed, M EdL
Director School Effectiveness
Lea Martin Dip T, B Ed, Grad Cert RE, M EdL, MBA, MDR
Director School Effectiveness
Director School Effectiveness P-12 & Secondary