Catholic educators from across Australia have been nationally recognised in the 2023 Australia Day honours list, announced by the Governor General of Australia His Excellency General David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).
Principal of St Mary MacKillop College, Canberra Michael Lee OAM (pictured above) received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to education.
The OAM not only recognised Michael’s service to education, which has spanned more than four decades – including 25 years as a principal – but also acknowledged his work beyond the role, such as the many leadership roles he has held on boards, commissions, and associations in service of the teaching profession including as member of the Catholic Education Commission of Canberra and Goulburn since 2020.
Michael told Catholic Voice he had been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in the community who reached out to congratulate him since the announcement of his award.
“I am incredibly humbled and embarrassed, which I think is the general reaction of award recipients,” he said. “There are so many people in education who are worthy of that kind of pat on the back.”
Michael said he believed schools are a social agent for good things. “We can give kids a community of faith and a Catholic experience that is positive, that they can rely on and build on in their own life,” he said.
Marist Brother Anthony Boyd OAM (pictured right) received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to secondary education as deputy principal, teacher and rugby union coach at St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill for more than 20 years.
Glenn Roff OAM received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to education. The Canberra Catholic was the first lay principal of St John’s College, Woodlawn, a principal of St Mary’s Primary School, Toowoomba and the director of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Cairns, from 1997-2000.
Warren Hopley OAM received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to education, particularly to the disadvantaged and Clare Hopley OAM received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to children who are hard of hearing, and to education.
Sr Mary Comer RSJ OAM (pictured left) received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community, including in her role as the founding director of Centacare Bathurst and a former leader of her congregation.
Dr Denise Anne Goodwin OAM, a board member, Edmund Rice Services Mount Atkinson from 2016-2020, presenter, Basic Theology Seminars presenter with the Catholic Education Office, 2006-2012, and a primary school teacher from 1979-2005, received a Medal of the Order of Australia, for service to the community through a range of organisations.
Sarah McGoram OAM, a Catholic school teacher from Holy Spirt, Nicholls in the ACT, received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to community health. Patricia Ellis OAM, a Catholic school teacher from Carroll College, Batesman Bay and St Bernard’s, Broulee was also awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the Indigenous community of the Eurobodalla Shire.
The Minister for Education, Jason Clare MP, is encouraging more Australians to nominate a teacher for an Order of Australia Medal to raise the status of teaching and respect for the profession.
Photos courtesy of The Catholic Voice and the Catholic Weekly.