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Thursday 18 May, 2023

Mr Paul Desmond, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Education Sandhurst Ltd, has recently indicated his intention to retire from his current role at the end of this year and to commence richly deserved retirement from full-time work. After nine years of outstanding leadership and loyal and dedicated service, Paul intends to focus his time and energy on other pursuits in service to the Church, which will allow him greater flexibility and more time with family.

Throughout his years at the helm of Catholic education in the Sandhurst Diocese, Paul has served as an inspirational leader and a person of the highest professionalism and integrity. He has gained the deep respect and appreciation of all with whom he has worked. Principals, staff, students, and families have been touched by Paul’s clear vision for quality Catholic education as well as by his kindness and empathy for all. Paul’s wise leadership was particularly apparent throughout the years of the COVID pandemic when there was great appreciation for his clear and effective ongoing communication, his calm decision-making amidst the uncertainty of sudden lockdowns, and his consistent positivity and encouragement. Parish Priests across the diocese have also found in Paul a staunch advocate for strong partnerships between Church and school and an appreciation of the long history and rich tradition of Catholic education across the diocese.

 Through his own faith commitment, Paul has modelled to the community what it means to be Catholic, living the values of the Gospel in both word and deed, and ensuring that our Sandhurst schools pursue excellence in fostering the development of each person in all the dimensions of human existence and in the provision of opportunities and outcomes that foster this. His focus on initiatives to support the wellbeing of Principals and senior leaders across the many educational settings is evidence of his profound appreciation for those charged with the education and care of learners in our schools and communities.

Since 2021, as Chief Executive Officer, Paul has worked tirelessly to guide the successful establishment of Catholic Education Sandhurst Ltd – a new company that saw a change in responsibility for the 52 diocesan schools from the canonical administration of parish priests to oversight of an incorporated board. This has meant the development of new policies and frameworks, procedures, and structures for systemic schools. In addition,

Paul has overseen Catholic Education Offices throughout the Diocese, which have been charged with supporting and resourcing all Catholic schools in the Diocese, including the Colleges owned and operated by Religious Institutes, with whom Paul has ensured that CES Ltd has maintained a strong and supportive partnership. In all these endeavours, Paul has ensured that students and their families remain at the heart of our ministry of Catholic Education.

At the same time, Paul has served as Executive Director for Sandhurst Catholic Early Childhood Education and Care Ltd, a subsidiary company of Catholic Education Sandhurst Ltd. Paul’s positive approach and visionary grasp of the possibilities for Catholic schools’ provision of high-quality educational opportunities for children from birth to adulthood have enabled the development of clear strategic goals in this area, which will serve the needs of young families into the future.

Beyond the Diocese, Paul has represented Catholic Education Sandhurst effectively in a number of broader educational settings. His many contributions to the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) and to bodies such as the Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) are appreciated and respected by the broader educational community. His commitment to ensuring that education for all students in regional and rural Victoria is of the highest quality has had a significant impact throughout this Diocese. Paul is a wise and courageous Director who has never shirked from representing our community respectfully but firmly in the most difficult of contexts. His legacy will continue to enhance Catholic schools and Early Learning Centres across the Diocese for many years to come.

Over the coming weeks the advertising and selection process will commence for the role of Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Education Sandhurst Ltd. At the same time, arrangements will be made to celebrate Paul’s outstanding contributions to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Sandhurst and to gather together to wish Paul and his wife Gabrielle, every blessing as they commence a new stage of their lives together.

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