Dear brothers in the ordained ministry, colleagues and friends, Throughout the first phase of the Archdiocesan Transition, an extensive discernment was undertaken with contributions made by the Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General, Episcopal Vicars, clergy of the archdiocese, agency directors, agency staff and a variety of other stakeholders, including Committees of Management, with respect to the dedicated ‘Agency Project’ as one of the identified archdiocesan Transition projects.
Subsequently, and through ongoing dialogue with directors and coordinators of archdiocesan agencies, further discernment was facilitated with respect to an identified outcome of the ‘Agency Project’ which was the development and implementation of a new role that would be dedicated to directly supporting directors and coordinators of archdiocesan agencies, the role of Head, Mission Enhancement and Outreach – Archdiocesan Agencies.
A recruitment process for the role of Head, Mission Enhancement and Outreach – Archdiocesan Agencies subsequently proceeded in partnership between the Archdiocese of Perth and Marvin Consulting. This process has now concluded, and I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Debra Sayce to the inaugural role of Head, Mission Enhancement and Outreach – Archdiocesan Agencies.
Debra is a well-known and highly regarded leader in Catholic education, both within the four dioceses of Western Australia and at a national level. Debra is currently the Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia, a role that she has held since 2018, following her completion of a term as the Interim Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia (2017 – 2018).
As Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia, Debra has eminently led a Christ-centred and child-focussed system of schools and staff across the four dioceses of Western Australia. Within the apostolate of Catholic education, Debra has served with distinction as the Director of Religious Education (2010 – 2017), a sessional lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia (2015-2016), as a Principal at La Salle College, Middle Swan, and as both Assistant Director, Religious Education and Assistant Director, Teaching and Learning, at Catholic Education Western Australia, in addition to appointments as a Deputy Principal, Head of Department and secondary teacher.
Debra holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Notre Dame Australia, a Master of Education (Religious Studies) from Edith Cowan University, a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Diploma of Education from the University of Western Australia, as well as Graduate Diplomas in Religious Studies (Edith Cowan University) and Health Science (Curtin University). Debra is currently completing a Master of Business Administration.
Within the Archdiocese of Perth, Debra is an active member of her parish of Our Lady Help of Christians, East Victoria Park, having served as a previous secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council and as the Coordinator of the Children’s Liturgy. Debra has further served as a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Committee, the Board of Clergy Life and Ministry, and as a Trustee of the Education Foundation of the Knights of the Southern Cross.
At a national level, Debra has made noteworthy contributions to the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) and both its Resourcing and Risk Standing Committees, in conjunction with her previous membership of the University of Notre Dame Australia’s School of Education and School of Philosophy and Theology Advisory Councils. A key leader within both the Plenary Council’s Executive Committee and Coordinating Committee, Debra’s wide-ranging and diverse experience of, and contribution to, local, archdiocesan and national Catholic life has demonstrably enriched the life of the Catholic Church across our nation.
In Debra’s own words, she has shared with me her observation that:
‘The Church in the Archdiocese of Perth is looking towards bringing to life the fruits of the recent Plenary Council, the future outcomes of the Synod on Synodality and the Archdiocesan Assembly. The thought of working in this environment strongly appeals to my understanding of ecclesiology as it embraces a synodal path of engagement with the People of God and the opportunities afforded to the Church in spreading the Good News within the local context’.
Debra will commence in this inaugural role on Monday, 8 January 2024.
I take this opportunity to acknowledge the discernment undertaken by the members of the interview panel:
Bishop Don Sproxton VG EV, Auxiliary Bishop of Perth & Episcopal Vicar, Parish Renewal
Fr Vincent Glynn EV, Episcopal Vicar for Education & Faith Formation
Mr Daniel Lynch, Executive Director, Office of the Archbishop
Ms Marina Re, Chief Executive Officer, Identitywa
In consultation with Ms Eva Skira AM, Chair – Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia, the bishops of Western Australia will commence the consultation and recruitment process for the next Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia during 2024, for appointment in 2025. I take this opportunity, on behalf of the bishops of Western Australia, to express our personal gratitude to Mr Wayne Bull (currently Deputy Executive Director, Catholic Education Western Australia) for accepting our appointment to serve as Executive Director for 2024.
I invite you to join with me in welcoming Debra to this inaugural leadership role in the life of our archdiocese as together we seek to strive to be well-formed and committed missionary disciples in a changing era.
Yours sincerely in Christ,