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Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools


Jan and Paul Watkins began their adventure with Toowoomba Catholic Schools 40 years ago!

During the last week Toowoomba Catholic Schools recognised those staff throughout the diocese who have achieved a significant tenure within the organisation. 

“Each year during Catholic Education Week we acknowledge those who have given 20, 25, 30 ,35, 40 and 45 years of service; whether this has been in the Toowoomba Diocese or across other Catholic Dioceses within Australia. The awards are presented throughout the week at each school’s Catholic Education Week celebrations,” said Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools.

“This year eight of our staff are celebrating 40 years of service.  Two of those staff members are Jan and Paul Watkins who are married and have both worked in the Diocese, often at the same school for 40 years.”

Jan and Paul moved from the United Kingdom in January 1980 to join family living in Australia. Paul’s father was principal of the Catholic school in Monto and his mother was a staff member at the school. He also had two brothers living in Australia. Paul and Jan had just finished their education degrees in Birmingham before they embarked on their Australian adventure.

Work was scarce at the time but after a few months Paul received a phone call telling him there was a teaching position available at St Joseph’s School, Stanthorpe.

“I remember packing everything we had in the car and driving from Monto to Stanthorpe, it was the coldest place I had ever been in my life,” said Paul. Shortly after Jan began teaching at the school too. They stayed for three and a half years.

Following Stanthorpe Jan was transferred to St Mary’s, Warwick, and Paul to St Patrick’s, Allora.  Paul then became the first lay principal at St Maria Goretti, Inglewood and Jan a teacher.

“We had a great time in Inglewood, our son was born there. Back in those days we didn’t have a lot of choice about where and when you were transferred, we spent a lot of time in small western schools. They were great towns, the schools had good staff and teachers who supported each other and there were very few issues with the students,” said Paul.

Thereafter Paul was principal at St Joseph’s School, Millmerran and finally principal at St Mary’s School, Goondiwindi where their children grew up. Jan also taught at both schools.

“I have fond memories of when we first joined the Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools, back then it was relatively small and like a family and our children also grew up within this family,” said Jan.

“We always depended on each other as we had no family close by, we appreciated the support of our local school communities,” said Paul.

In 1999 Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office (TCSO) was starting to grow and train staff in IT. They built a facility in Dalby where all staff from around the Diocese received training in IT skills. Paul was moved here and ‘after that jobs kept morphing at TCSO,’ said Paul.  He has been the Information Services Operations Manager for the last five years. Paul said that he totally enjoyed his teaching days and looks at opening one of the first Prep facilities at St Joseph’s, Millmerran and at St Mary’s Goondiwindi as highlights of his time in the schools.

“It’s great to see the infrastructure now in schools in terms of IT. We employed our first tech in 2004 and now we have fourteen techs in schools and five techs that travel to various schools. The new TCSO building was a challenge for our IT services, we had the opportunity to build the infrastructure and associated services from scratch, something that rarely happens in any organisation.”

Jan has been working as a Teacher Librarian for Sacred Heart Primary and St Anthony’s Primary, Toowoomba since 2015.  She began working as a Teacher Librarian in the year 2000.  A big challenge at first as Jan was visiting seven schools.  

“I always loved my work as a classroom teacher and initially missed having my own class however I soon realised that I could have an impact on every child in every class.”

Jan hopes to continue in her current position until she decides to retire.

“Catholic Education Week aims to raise awareness and celebrate the strengths and distinctiveness of Catholic schools. It provides an opportunity for us to celebrate our Catholic identity, the fundamental role we play within local communities across the Diocese, and the many positive learning experiences that take place every day. 

“It seems fitting that we should acknowledge our staff members who have provided such long service and been integral to student’s success during this week,” said Dr Coughlan.


A full list of those receiving Long Service Awards is detailed below. 

20 years of service 
Toni Cox Assumption College, Warwick
Karen Lambert Assumption College, Warwick
Cara Haig Sacred Heart Primary School, Cunnamulla
Kelli Pacey Good Samaritan College, Toowoomba
Linda Charlton St Joseph's School, Stanthorpe
Frances Gregory Mater Dei Primary School, Toowoomba
Nicole Kemp Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Toowoomba
Christine Fisher Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Toowoomba
Kathleen Follington St Stephen's School, Pittsworth
Ellen Regan St John's School, Roma
Chris Rosentreter Sacred Heart Primary School, Toowoomba
Lucy Burton St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Debbie Ditchman St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Madeleine Minns St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Jennifer Stead St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Annette Warby St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Liz Frame St Mary's College, Toowoomba
Sheryl Pilkington St Mary's College, Toowoomba
Sallyanne Callaghan St Mary's College, Toowoomba
Anita McVeigh St Saviour's Primary School, Toowoomba
Julie Robinson St Saviour's Primary School, Toowoomba
Deb Murphy St Thomas More's Primary School, Toowoomba
Jane Murphy Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office
Sharon Young St Mary's School, Warwick


25 years of service 
Peter Gordon Assumption College, Warwick
Debra Dunsdon Sacred Heart Primary School, Cunnamulla
Jacqueline Jenkinson Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby
Katrina Walton Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby
Craig Faessler Mary MacKillop Catholic College, Highfields
Kylie McKenzie Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Toowoomba
Andrew Fellenberg St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Narelle Jackson St Saviour's Primary School, Toowoomba
Paula Wagner St Saviour's Primary School, Toowoomba
Tracey Cullinan St Joseph's School, Stanthorpe
Erin Hilton St Mary's School, Warwick


30 years of service
Naomi Goddard Mary MacKillop Catholic College, Highfields
Linda Hodges St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Carol Denis St Thomas More's Primary School, Toowoomba


35 years of service
Liz Wagner Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Toowoomba
Fr Ray Crowley St Joseph's College, Toowoomba
Johanna Campbell St Joseph's School, Stanthorpe
Catherine Kimmorley Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office


40 years of service
Paul Watkins Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office
Marg Dornbusch Mater Dei Primary School, Toowoomba
Damian Mollison Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Toowoomba
Jan Watkins Sacred Heart Primary School, Toowoomba
Jennifer Guild St Mary's College, Toowoomba
Rodney Logan St Mary's College, Toowoomba
Roland Poulton St Joseph's School, Tara
Loretta McGill Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office