Speaker Biographies

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Born in Melbourne in 1948, Archbishop Mark Coleridge was ordained priest in Melbourne in 1974. He served in parishes before studying Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He taught Scripture in Melbourne, where he was eventually made Master of Catholic Theological College. In late 1997, he was appointed to work in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. He was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2002 and named Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 2006. In 2012 he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane where he currently serves.

Rev James Winderlich

James Winderlich has served as an ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia for the past 25 years.  During that time he has lived and worked in parishes from Maryborough, Qld through to Adelaide, SA (5 in all).  This has given him exposure to the diverse needs of Christian communities who are active and thrive in both rural and urban contexts.

While serving as a parish pastor James also contributed to the development of indigenous Lutheran Churches in Central Australia through his time as chair of Finke River Mission.  This experience led to his interest in postcolonial theory and theology, which he has taken up at a post-graduate level.  One of the primary roles of Finke River Mission is education which, when applied in a distinctly cross-cultural context accentuates the need for the teacher to firstly be a receptive hearer and co-learner.  It was in this context that James also began to understand the vital connection between identity and learning.  In the indigenous pedagogical practices and values that he was able to observe there was not just the need to acquire useful life skills, but also the vital need for identity and connection.

In 2014 James was invited by the Lutheran Church of Australia to serve as the Principal of Australian Lutheran College (ALC).  ALC provides foundational and advanced theological education, including pre-service programs for ministry preparation and in-service programs for professional growth and leadership development, leading to work in congregations and schools of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) as well as the wider community. ALC delivers Higher Education awards as a College of the University of Divinity (UD), a consortium of theological learning institutions.  ALC also delivers Vocational Education and Training programmes as a member College of the Australian Centre for Advanced Studies.

This appointment has stretched James, and he has approached his new role as a learner.  His learning has taken him back to his earlier central Australian experience as he considers the nature of the various intersections between Lutheran theology and education which is also primarily about identity and connection.

James and Karen (a teacher) have been married for 30 years and they are blessed through their three sons: Josh (26), Sam (24), Noah (14) who are all, themselves, life-long learners.  Oscar (8), who identifies as a person but is actually a dog, would also appreciate inclusion in this introduction.

Sr Elizabeth Delaney, NCCA

Elizabeth Delaney sgs is a Sister of the Good Samaritan. She is General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA). Prior to this appointment in 2015, Elizabeth worked for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for 10 years. During this time in her role of Executive Secretary for Church Life, she served as Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations. Her commitment to Catholic education is expressed currently in her membership of Good Samaritan Education.

Jodie Hoff

Br Damien Price

Damien Price is a Christian Brother of the Oceania Province. A native of Proserpine in North Queensland Damien has worked as a teacher and youth worker for many years. Damien has Masters degrees in both Counselling and Pastoral Guidance and his Doctoral thesis examined the meaning making that was occurring as young adults worked with people living on the streets. Currently Damien is the Coordinator of Developing Nations for the Province supporting the work of the Brothers in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. Prior to this role Damien was a Professional Officer in the Identity Directorate of Edmund Rice Education Australia. Damien has presented papers at numerous conferences linked to Youth Spirituality and Service Learning. Damien’s passion is the power of story to bridge the dualistic divide that so polaries our world.

Dr Jill Gowdie

Jill is well known for her work as teacher, leader, presenter and writer in teacher and leadership formation. Her expertise is grounded in professional qualifications across the disciplines of education, theology, journalism, religious education, liturgy and spiritual formation. Her PhD studies in Educational Leadership, awarded Summa Cum Laude by the international examiner, broke new ground in the area of contemporary formation, drawing together the areas of theology, formation, missiology, change theory and best practice in adult professional learning. She is currently PEO Identity, Mission and Religious Education Services for Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Jill has developed a system wide approach to staff formation for mission for Brisbane Catholic Education, and she has also established the national network for Formation for Australian Catholic Educators (FACE), a genuinely collaborative and collegial network for those involved in formation of Catholic educators in Australia. As visiting fellow, Jill has returned from a writing sabbatical in Leuven university and Oxford University, during which time she was invited to present at an international conference at London University on the future of catholic education. That paper is now published in a new book highlighting international perspectives on ‘New Thinking in Catholic Education since Vatican II’.  Jill has since completed a new book – Formation for Mission – Stirring the Soul of Catholic Education is to be published in late May 2017. In all her work, Jill is known for her creativity and sense of humour.  She always enjoys what she does! Jill is married to Geoff and they have raised four children. She has been a member of the Kalinga community in Lutwyche Parish, Brisbane for 25 years. Her favourite movie is ‘Like Water for Chocolate;’ her favourite chocolate is Toblerone and her favourite beach to eat it on is Mooloolaba.

Anne Dohnt

Dominique Jacqueline

Dominique Jacqueline works for Lutheran Education Queensland (Education Officer – Identity and Formation). Her passion is teachers along with theology and pedagogy. High on her list of priorities is the support of teachers of Christian Studies through the production of curriculum materials (LIFE (1999); The Christian Studies Curriculum Framework, 2005 revised 2012; Equip (2007) a training course for teachers of Christian Studies) when she was National Christian Studies Coordinator (2004 – 2009), professional development opportunities and projects to equip teachers to be effective practitioners in the classroom. She liaises with curriculum officers in each of the three Lutheran regions across Australia and enjoys participating in the delivery of workshops to teachers. Since 2009 she has formed connections with numerous teachers teaching the Equip course which gives teachers both the tools to teach Christian Studies as well as accreditation status. She believes that positive, meaningful and relevant support of teachers will flow into classroom practice and benefit students.

Prior to this she was Head of Christian Studies in two Queensland Lutheran Colleges. She began teaching Christian Studies in 1987 with no formal training in this key learning area but now has a Graduate Diploma of Theology in Education (Luther Seminary) and a Masters of Religious Education (ACU). The struggles and challenges faced then and the journey of learning and growth means that she empathises with the task Christian Studies teachers face. While secondary trained, she has learnt much about the primary and early years. This has been a highlight. Being with her six young grandchildren keeps her grounded and gives her much joy.



Dr Leigh Stower

Dr Leigh Stower is the Principal Education Officer Religious Education with Brisbane Catholic Education.  A key part of Leigh’s work is managing the design, development and implementation of the Archdiocesan Religious Education Curriculum (P-12). Leigh has been a successful leader of curriculum development in a variety of settings and across a wide range of age groups. This expertise comes from her experience in several roles within, across and beyond schools including: Curriculum Support Teacher, Assistant to the Principal, Acting Principal, university lecturer (Australian Catholic University and Central Queensland University) and Diocesan Consultant: RE and Curriculum (Rockhampton Diocese). In 2010, Leigh and a colleague worked with ACARA to develop the Personal and Social Capability, one of the General Capabilities within the Australian Curriculum.

Dr Nora Amath

Building bridges is what Dr Nora Amath does best. Born in Vietnam, Nora belongs to the Cham people, a Muslim minority. Nora and her family fled their homeland when she was just four, after facing persecution from the communist regime. Finding refuge in the United States, and later settling in Australia, Nora has become an internationally-respected expert in Islamic studies. Passionate about human rights, Nora draws on her academic insight to share stories of the Muslim world, and to enhance interfaith understanding between all people. Nora has also served on many boards and committees, has founded women’s shelters and youth groups and helped develop the first Muslim playgroup for mums in Brisbane. She’s helped refugees learn leadership skills, published books, obtained a PhD, all the while raising three children. The chairperson of the Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity, Nora is also the Board secretary for Islamic Relief Australia, the largest Islamic humanitarian aid agency in the world.

Dr Meg Noack

Dr. Meg Noack, Director. Identity & Formation. Lutheran Education Queensland.

Meg’s current role at Lutheran Education Queensland includes documenting and collating key aspects of Lutheran Schooling’s distinctive identity. She also supports school leaders as they build a Formational culture in Lutheran Schools that is centred on the Gospel Message of God’s love, forgiveness, grace and service. It is an exciting time to be involved in Lutheran Education.

Meg is an educator who has been a classroom teacher, a Deputy Principal and an Education Adviser [Curriculum and Religious Education & Chaplaincy] for Education Queensland. She has also been a Lecturer at Central Queensland University. Meg belongs to a number of professional associations including the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement and the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching. She obtained her doctorate [and Masters] from ACU and holds a Graduate Diploma Arts [Children’s Literature] and in Religious Education.

Doug Ashleigh

Dr Doug Ashleigh

Dr Doug Ashleigh is currently Deputy Executive Director at Brisbane Catholic Education with responsibility for Learning and Teaching, Catholic Identity and School Services across 139 schools involving 73,000 students and 9,000 staff. Doug commenced this role in 2016 and has established a clear priority to grow student achievement, progress and engagement in literacy and numeracy as well as strengthen Catholic Identity in BCE schools.

From 2010 – 2015 Doug worked as Director of Financial, Corporate and ICT Services with Sydney Catholic Schools with core responsibilities inclusive of system and school finances, school staffing, school planning and capital works, IT services, eLearning, school libraries and corporate services. Prior to his time as Director in Sydney Catholic Schools Doug worked as Regional Administrator for Edmund Rice Education in the Eastern Region with responsible for 8 Secondary Colleges, a secondary college for students with a wide range of disabilities and special education and a primary school for students with hearing impairment and other special needs.

Doug holds a Doctor of Education with a research focus on educational change and ICT having previously undertaken postgraduate studies completing a Master of Education and Graduate Diploma in Religious Education. Doug is currently in the final year of a Master of Theology.                                       

Doug has extensive experience in eLearning having presented Keynote presentations at a range of conferences and professional learning seminars. He cites his greatest achievement as his family, with four children very successful products of Catholic Education in the Christian Brother, Marist and Good Samaritan traditions.

Derek Bartels

Director of innovation and technology
Lutheran Education Queensland

Derek Bartels is the driving force behind innovation in Queensland Lutheran schools. He has drawn from the most up-to-date research globally to lead educators to innovate according to their individual school contexts. Bartels has promoted and encouraged innovative practices through face-to-face interaction, public speaking, social media and study tours. As a direct result of Bartels’ leadership and passion for innovation, Queensland Lutheran schools are leading the way in contemporary and innovative practices in pedagogy, physical learning spaces and technology. With a focus on employment in Lutheran education, Bartel’s influence also extends to other sectors and industries in Australia and internationally.