Paul Ferris QSM has been appointed chief executive of the NZ Catholic Education Office. Starting 1 February 2016, Mr Ferris replaces Sir Br Patrick Lynch KNZM, QSO, who announced his retirement last year. Ferris said following Br Pat Lynch’s 22 years of outstanding leadership would be an exciting challenge and their transition process will ensure a seamless passing over of the leadership role.
‘I’m very mindful about following someone so successful as Pat. For a start, I want to keep my hand on the tiller and make sure I don’t drop what’s been achieved.’
Mr Ferris identifies four priorities. ‘Firstly, it’s very important our teachers and staff know their faith. Secondly, we have a shortage of people with leadership potential so we have to recruit for and encourage people into Catholic leadership. Thirdly, our relationship with the Minister of Education is very important and that will continue. Fourthly, I want to continue to ensure people know what excellence we achieve in our Catholic schools so we continue to gain government support.’
A ‘southern man’ Ferris grew up in Gore and attended Otago University and Teachers College and has spent most of his life in the South Island. He has a strong leadership background in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and was a principal for 36 years in both state and state-integrated schools, including 20 years at Kavanagh College, Dunedin. He was involved in setting up TCI and, more recently, has worked with the Ministry of Education as a Commissioner and Limited Statutory Manager in a number of South Island schools.
His many Catholic education leadership awards include a NZCEO Laureate; a SPANZ Leadership Award and Life Membership; and a QSM in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List. He is married to Marie and they have six children and