THE BOSS: Dr Sally Towns is the new Diocesan Director of Catholic Schools and the Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Ltd.
THE BOSS: Dr Sally Towns is the new Diocesan Director of Catholic Schools and the Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Ltd. Marc Stapelberg

The big change coming to Catholic schools

THE governance of 46 Catholic schools located from Tweed to Port Macquarie will move from being administered by each Parish into a company structure within the next 12 months.

The schools, all part of the Lismore Catholic Diocese and with an estimated total of 17,000 students, will transition into a centralised governance model by 2020, in a new system implemented for the first time in NSW.

Dr Towns is in charge of all Catholic schools in the Tweed, Kingscliff, Casino, Byron Bay, Lismore, Grafton, Kempsey, Kyogle, Laurieton, Maclean, Murwillumbah, Sawtell, Wauchope, Woodburn, Woolgoolga, Port Macquarie and Yamba.

That company will be the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Ltd, and its chief executive officer is the recently appointed Dr Sally Towns, the new Diocesan director of Catholic Schools.

Dr Sally Towns, who started her new role in late July, confirmed the transition.

"We are doing this to become more effective and efficient, it comes back to who is accountable - currently it's individuals and from now on it will be a company," she said.

"A board hasn't been appointed. We are still in the establishment stage of that.

"That's a significant change for this diocese," Dr Towns said.

She said the 2020 timeline is achievable.

"Enough legwork has already been done, people are anticipating it, and although there is a lot of work still to be done, I'm very confident."

Dr Towns said the governance changes will not change the experience of parents and students at Catholic schools.

"I think students and parents won't see a change; school leaders will notice a change because their reporting and their accountability will change," she explained.

"For the students and the teachers in the classrooms, their role and their core business doesn't change.

"The parents connection to the school, it won't change."

The main change for teachers will be a new employer in their payslip - Lismore Catholic Schools Ltd.


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