The executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) Jacinta Collins has appointed Robert Tonkli as director mission and operations and Anna Howarth as director of strategy to the commission.

As director mission and operations, Robert will oversee the NCEC’s work in faith formation and religious education, financial management and corporate operations. He will also coordinate the Faith Formation and Religious Education Standing Committee and the Finance Audit and Risk Standing Committee.

Robert, who is a legal practitioner, brings extensive mission and executive leadership experience to the role.

Having worked with senior leaders in the higher education sector, Catholic Church, multinational businesses, and not for profit organisations, Robert has a proven track record in strategic management as well as a deep understanding and commitment to the Catholic faith, theology and education.

Most recently, Robert was acting associate director identity and mission and senior advisor policy and projects in the office of the vice president at the Australian Catholic University, managing a broad range of projects, and overseeing stakeholder engagement and policy development. He has worked in a number of roles for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association over a 22-year period including as assistant secretary-treasurer and senior industrial officer.

Robert said he was grateful for the opportunity to work at NCEC and contribute to its overall mission within Catholic education.

“It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students, the people we are here to work for and contribute to the continued delivery of high-quality Catholic education throughout Australia,” Robert said.

Anna Howarth will commence in her role as director of strategy on 3 July, overseeing the NCEC’s work in leading excellence and improving access and coordinating the Educational Excellence Standing Committee and the Resource Strategy Standing Committee. 

Anna said she was excited to be joining NCEC and play a part in supporting quality educational outcomes for the one in five Australian students attending Catholic schools.

“I believe education empowers young people to achieve their potential and affect positive change in the world,” Anna said. “I’m passionate about providing access to a quality education for all young Australians and I’m pleased to be joining Catholic education – the nation’s largest provider of education outside of government.”

Jacinta said Anna brings extensive corporate, government and non-profit experience in executive leadership and senior strategic consulting roles to the position.

“Most recently she has worked with the NSW Department of Education and Mary MacKillop Place developing strategic direction, change management programs and project delivery and performance improvement systems,” Jacinta said.

“Anna has also worked with leading corporate businesses including Microsoft, Optus and the Commonwealth Bank, as well non-profit organisations supporting global education and philanthropy.” 

Jacinta said she was looking forward to working with Robert and Anna in progressing the NCEC’s strategic priorities and managing the day-to-day operations of the secretariat.

NCEC director mission and operations Robert Tonkli and director of strategy Anna Howarth.