Advisory Council

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.

College Annual Advisory Council Report

The College produces Annual Advisory Council Report and Letter which can be read from this link in Adobe PDF format.

Profile of Advisory Council Members

Sister Joan Buckham RSM (Chairperson)

Sr Joan Buckham

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 Brigidís 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 Jeromeís 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 Americaís 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 Undertakerís Assistant.
Fr Michael joined the Seminary at St Maryís 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 Reynolds

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 Brigidís 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 Brigidís 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 Brigidís 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 Collegeís 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

Justice Michael Murray

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.

 

David Thomasson

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 Allen

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. Siobhanís 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 childrenís school at the time, who felt that Siobhanís 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 Brigidís 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 Siobhanís interests include: gardening with her Mum in the garden they now share since her parents have moved into a granny flat on Siobhan and Wayneís 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 itís not too cold!).

 

Dr Louisa O’Connor

Dr O’Connor was invited to join the St Brigidís 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 Exeterís 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.