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College Advisory Council

The St Edmund’s College Canberra Advisory Council works collaboratively with the Principal, Leadership Team and EREA Executive to ensure faithfulness to the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition and quality stewardship aimed at offering the best possible learning at the College.

The College Advisory Council provides advice to the Principal and has particular responsibilities for:

  • Faithfulness to the EREA Charter and Touchstones
  • Collaborating with the Principal on submissions to EREA for Strategic Planning, Budget and annual audited statements and capital works and master planning
  • Endorsement of major policies that are consistent with EREA
  • Support for the Principal in relation to compliance with EREA Risk Policy

The College Advisory Council also provides advice and support to the Principal on any matters referred to by the Principal, and any significant matter that falls within its delegated responsibilities. It is also represented on selection panels for some senior appointments, and participates in School Renewal and leader appraisal processes.

Appointed by EREA on the recommendation of the Principal and Advisory Council Chair, Members are chosen to meet the expertise needs of the College Advisory Council, not as representatives of any body. The Principal is an ex officio member of the Advisory Council.

EX OFFICIO MEMBER: Joe Zavone (Principal)
Joe commenced as Principal at St Edmund’s College in 2018. Prior to this he was Deputy Principal of Christian Brothers’ High School Lewisham NSW from 2014, an EREA school educating boys from Years 5 to 12. Joe has also been Deputy Principal and Assistant Principal in a number of Catholic schools in Sydney, including St Scholastica’s College in Glebe and St Patrick’s College in Campbelltown. Joe has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Educational Leadership and a Master of Religious Education from the Australian Catholic University and a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education from the University of Sydney.


Brian Berg CFC
Br Brian Berg is Christian Brother who was the former Deputy Provincial of the Christian Brothers’ NSW/ACT Province. He has taught in Australia and South Africa and was Principal of St. Leo’s College Wahroonga and St. Dominic’s College Penrith. At present he is Parish Pastoral Associate of St. Bede’s Parish Braidwood, NSW.

Julie Fitzgerald
Julie joined the Advisory Council in 2022.  Julie has more than twenty-five years’ experience in senior finance and administration leadership roles, including the last thirteen years as a business manager of a large non-government school.  She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), is an invited member of the Golden Key Honor Society and a member of the Association of School Business Administrators.

Sarah Kelly
Sarah joined the Advisory Council in 2022.  Sarah has been on the Committee of Karinya House since 2004, serving as Vice President and now President for the past 8 years. Sarah has vast experience, knowledge and connections of various charities and the philanthropic sector. She is also Director of My Fashion Empire (Australia) Pty Ltd as has held a number of government related positions. Sarah currently has two sons attending the College.

Lara Kirk (Lara is currently the Acting Deputy Advisory Council Chair)
Lara lives with her husband Tim and their five teenage & young adult children in Murrumbateman where Tim is CEO and Chief Winemaker of Clonakilla Wines. Lara has training in Theology, Education and Management and has worked variously as a youth minister, secondary teacher, public servant and political staffer. Lara currently works for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn as Marriage, Family and Relationships Co-ordinator bringing relationship education programs into primary schools and high schools.

John Owens (John is currently the Acting Advisory Council Chair)
John joined the College Advisory Council in 2019. John Owens is an Old Boy of Christian Brothers schools in Tamworth.  A former Army officer, he served in the Australian Intelligence Corps for around 15 years.  Leaving the Army, he joined the Australian Public Service where he had senior roles in Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Finance.  He now works for the University of Canberra where he is Associate Vice President Campus Estate, responsible for the facilities and grounds of the University, as well as its Campus Development Program.  John’s children have attended St Edmund’s College and St Clare’s College.

Gerard Tiffen
Gerard is the Managing Director of Tiffen & Co, a business which he established over 20 years ago and has received industry recognition as Australia’s most awarded and successful boutique mortgage brokerage and financial planning business. Gerard’s experience in sourcing and correctly structuring a wide range of finance portfolios has seen him sit on multiple committees to provide financial expertise. Gerard and his wife Jenny are parents to four children, one of whom attends St Edmund’s College. Gerard is also an Old Boy of St Edmund’s College

Craig Wagstaff
Craig joined the Advisory Council in 2022.  Craig is an old boy (Class of 1993) and is currently the General Manager of Canberra FM Radio. Craig has held a number of significant positions including director level, general management, leadership, financial stewardship, regulatory compliance, strategy and marketing/communications which have seen him work in Australia, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates with further project work in Indonesia, China and India.