The Governing Council of Good Samaritan Education (GSE), the ecclesial community established in 2011 to oversee the ethos, mission and stewardship of the ten incorporated Good Samaritan Colleges, has announced the appointment of a new Executive Director.
Leonie Keaney, currently Principal of Presentation College Windsor in Melbourne, will succeed GSE’s founding Executive Officer and Executive Director, Kay Herse, when she retires in mid-January 2016.
In a statement released last month, GSE’s Chair, Terry Creagh said that Leonie will bring to the Executive Director role “years of leadership and dedicated service to the mission of Catholic education in the Church, practical experience with a college incorporated board, and an understanding of the emerging governance models within the Church.
“Among other qualifications, Leonie holds a Master of Education Policy International, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and commenced her Doctorate of Education in 2014,” she said.
Leonie told The Good Oil she was “delighted” with her new appointment and felt “honoured” to be taking up the work begun by Kay Herse and the GSE Council.
“After 12 years as a principal I am very pleased that I will still be working in education but in a different role and from a very different perspective,” she said.
“My hope is that I will be able to make a contribution to the growth and continued flourishing of GSE and the life of Good Samaritan schools. I will learn a lot and hope to be able to offer learning to others as well.”
While Leonie is relatively new to education in the Good Samaritan Benedictine tradition (she has worked in various ways over the years with “good friends” at the Melbourne GSE Colleges Mater Christi and Santa Maria), she is “very drawn to the story and charism” of the Good Samaritan Sisters and to Benedictine spirituality.
She is also “very interested” in the current phase of the life of religious congregations and the Church, especially in relation to education.
“The emergence of PJPs [Public Juridic Persons] is a new frontier in the great story of Catholic education in this country and I feel very excited about working with this still-new organisation,” she said.
For Kay Herse, who has been instrumental in establishing GSE as a new entity in the Church, now is a good time to be handing over the reins to a new Executive Director.
“GSE is now at a point where this first phase is drawing to a close and it is time for GSE to consolidate and plan for the future as an established organisation,” she said.
“[It’s] a good time, therefore, for a new person to step into the role of Executive Director and lead the development of this next important stage.”
As Kay prepares to hand over to Leonie, Terry Creagh is mindful of Kay’s “very significant role” in the life of GSE.
“GSE is indebted to Kay for her outstanding leadership. She is our voice and our face in Catholic education. With her collegial working style, her skilful and strategic management, Kay leaves GSE firmly established and well respected within Catholic education.
“Kay honoured the heritage entrusted to GSE. Her presence, guidance, wisdom and generous spirit will be missed,” said Terry.