Tony Farley is stepping into his new role as Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools at a challenging time for Catholic education.
His appointment was announced by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP on Tuesday.
With debates swirling in the media about government funding for faith-based schools and religious freedom in running Catholic institutions, Mr Farley, currently Executive Director of the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, says he is determined to focus on all that unites us—the love of Jesus Christ and the dignity of every human person.
“There are obvious challenges, issue by issue, and case by case. But the message of Jesus Christ is that we’re all loved. We’re made in the image and likeness of God and we are truly loved no matter who we are, or where we come from,” he said.
“Our message is life-giving, we’re very much about the dignity of the human person. It’s about the common good. It’s about solidarity and caring for the most vulnerable.”
Mr Farley will replace Dr Dan White who has led Sydney Catholic Schools for the past ten years.
In his CCER role, Mr Farley already has a decade of experience working with directors of education in 11 dioceses in NSW and ACT.
Archbishop Fisher expressed his delight in appointing Mr Farley to the new position.
“Tony comes to the position with a deep knowledge and understanding of the Church and our school systems,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“I am confident that Tony will build on the good work of his predecessors and work in collaboration with our school leaders to promote excellence in our schools, wisely using our resources and upholding the mission and identity of Catholic education.”
“Most of all Tony is a man of God who leads by putting his faith first in everything he does.”
Mr Farley said Catholic education is currently at a crossroads in terms of the expectations parents and students have and as the workforce changes rapidly in the digital world, education must keep pace.
“In the end it’s about providing excellence in teaching and learning,” Mr Farley said.
“That’s what we’re called to do in terms of the Gospel message. To follow the example of Jesus Christ is to provide excellence in education. In order to do that, we have to care for the people running our schools and our systems and they in turn will provide care and excellence for our students.”
He also hopes to work with parishes in seeking to re-engage parents of Catholic students with their local parish communities.
“It is with a real sense of joy and anticipation that I welcome Mr Anthony Farley to the community of Sydney Catholic Schools,” said out-going Executive Director, Dr Dan White.
“In conjunction with Tony’s fine academic background and distinguished professional service in both the Public Service and Church agencies, Tony comes to the role as a close friend of Sydney Catholic Schools.”