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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 in Lewisham NSW from 2014, an EREA school educating boys from Years 5 to 12. Joe has also been Deputy Principal at St Scholastica’s College in Glebe and Assistant Principal at 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.


Wendy Brookman

Wendy joined the Advisory Council in 2022.  Wendy is currently the Cultural awareness teacher at CIT Yurauna . She is also a committee member of the Winnunga, Baringa Early learning center and Tuggeranong Valley Dragons and has served on the Board for Mental Health Australia.  Wendy’s interest and passion is her community. She has worked for many years with youth and organisations helping with support and advice on cultural understandings. St Edmund’s College has been a part of Wendy’s family for four generations.  Wendy currently has a son and several family members attending the College.

Deborah Clayton-Baker

Deborah joined the Advisory Council in 2022.  Deborah moved to Australia in 2013 from Lancashire in the UK. Since moving to Canberra, Deborah has worked for the ACT Government in a number of roles across Education, Economic Development and currently Corrective Services. Deborah has extensive knowledge across corporate support functions such as finance, human resources, ICT systems, project management, workplace health safety and wellbeing, risk management and governance. Deborah has shared these skills in other volunteer roles, mostly with a focus around the development of cricket in both England and Australia. Deborah has a passion for cricket and the positive impact it can have on those involved of all ages and abilities.  She was the First XI coach at St Edmunds College for the 2019/20 season. Deborah has one son still attending the school, in addition to a son who was in the graduating class of 2020.

Chris Collett

Chris joined the Council in 2022. Chris is a senior public servant with diverse experience across policy, corporate, program management and operational areas. Chris has served as the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO at AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency and anti-money laundering regulator. He is currently the Head of Attorney-General’s Department Children and Families Division. Chris and his wife Sarah have two boys at the College.

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.  Julie is also a member of the Finance Committee.

Jamie Haynes

Jamie joined the Advisory Council in 2022. Jamie is an Old Boy (Class of 1992) and after studying journalism at the University of Canberra, played professional cricket for Lancashire County Cricket Club. Jamie now works for Department of Defence as a Media and Communications Manager and has previously worked within the Department as a Ministerial Liaison Officer and Project Manager. Jamie is the current SEC First XI coach and he also manages and coaches basketball and rugby at the school. Jamie’s son attends St Edmund’s College.

John Owens (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.  John was appointed Advisory Council Chair in 2022.

Gerard Tiffen

Gerard joined the Advisory Council in 2019 and is also Chair of the Finance Committee.  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.