Dr Chris Hackett, Director

B A (UWA) B Ed (UWA) Grad Dip Arts in RE (ECU) M REd (UNDA) Ph D (UNDA)


Phone: (08) 9241 5249

Chris has extensive experience in teaching and coordinating Religious Education in Catholic secondary schools and tertiary institutions. During the 1990s, he worked as a Religious Education consultant for the Catholic Education Office of Western Australia developing RE materials. Chris is currently the Chair of the Religion and Life Curriculum and Assessment Committee for the School Curriculum and Standards Authority. He has been the Chief Examiner and Chief Marker for the WACE exams in Religion and Life. As Director of the Catholic Institute, Chris is a commissioner on the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia. He is also the Associate Dean of Religious Education in the School of Education at The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Chris teaches in the areas of Religious Education and Catholic studies at the undergraduate and postgraduate tertiary levels as well as teaching in the areas of pastoral care, values education, and spirituality education. He also supervises doctoral students at Notre Dame in Religious Education and in values education. Chris has a particular interest in teacher formation and has published articles and presented at conferences on this subject, especially in regards to the formation of beginning RE teachers. He has also co-published with Associate Professor Shane Lavery in the areas of service learning, student ministry and school retreat training.


Pina Fiorenza, Office Manager

Diploma of Business


Phone: (08) 9241 5250

Pina commenced with the Catholic Institute in October 2016. For more than 14 years, she has held a variety of administrative and management roles within the State Government. This includes roles in human resources, finance, and policy within the Department for Child Protection and Family Support and as a Management Officer at The Women’s Policy Office.


Damian Doyle, Coordinator; Teaching and Learning

Dip Tch (Ballarat CAE) B Ed (ECU) Grad Dip RE (ECU) MR Ed (UNDA)

Phone: (08) 9370 6735

Damian obtained his teaching degree in Victoria in the late 1970s and came to Perth in 1981. Since then, he has taught in a number of Catholic schools (both small and large) holding the positions of classroom Teacher and Assistant Principal Religious Education.

In 1991, he commenced employment with the Catholic Education Office of Western Australia as a Religious Education Consultant before he was appointed to the position of Coordinator of the K-7 Religious Education Team in 1999. Following that, Damian was appointed Coordinator of the K-12 Religious Education Team in 2005. His role as Coordinator was to oversee the teaching of Religious Education in Catholic schools in Western Australia.

Damian commenced his current position with CIWA at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in 2005. He teaches units in Education, Religious Education and Theology at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Damian has a special interest in the spirituality of teaching and religious education pedagogy and is currently completing his PhD in the area of the spirituality of teaching.


Jessica Fic, Coordinator; Professional Learning and Formation

B Ed (UNDA) M Ed (RE) (UNDA)


Phone: (08) 9241 5247

Jessica came to CIWA after working as a Primary School Teacher in both country and metropolitan areas for ten years. She completed her Bachelor of Education (Primary) at The University of Notre Dame Australia and began her teaching career at St Mary’s Primary School in Kalgoorlie. For eight years, Jessica worked at Mater Christi Catholic Primary School in Yangebup where she held the positions of Teacher, Curriculum Co-ordinator and Key Literacy Teacher.

Jessica completed a Master of Education (Religious Education) at The University of Notre Dame in Fremantle and received the prestigious Knights of the Southern Cross postgraduate award for Religious Education. She has a strong interest in the use of storytelling in Religious Education and has completed training to become an accredited Godly Play storyteller.

John Topliss

Dr John Topliss, Senior Lecturer



Phone (08) 9241 5250

John comes to the Catholic Institute having spent the last 30 years as a teacher in six Catholic schools in Western Australia. He has also over 23 years experience as either an Assistant Principal or as an Acting Principal in both city and country locations. John enjoys implementing latest teaching methodology and engaging active learning in the Religious Education Learning Area, whilst relishing the opportunity to mentor both teachers and leaders. The former involved a major part of his PhD thesis completed at The University of Notre Dame Australia, with John also assisting Catholic Education WA with the re-introduction of their Early Career Teacher program.

Dr Jacinta Petersen, Senior Lecturer

MEd (UNDA) PhD (Curtin)


Phone (08) 9241 5250

Jacinta was previously an Assistant Principal and was highly respected for her leadership and initiative in building the curriculum and life of the school. She has postgraduate qualifications in Religious Education and Science Education. She has a strong research interest in engagement with student learning. Jacinta previously taught part-time at UNDA as Coordinator for Primary Religious Education courses and in the postgraduate RE Course: Critical and Creative Thinking in RE.


Megan Franken, Lecturer

BA Grad Dip (Merit) (University of Sydney) Grad Dip (RE) (ACU) Grad Cert (Special Needs Education) (UNDA) M Ed (RE) (UNDA)


Phone: (08) 9241 5248

Megan joined CIWA after many years teaching in secondary Catholic schools in NSW and WA. She has taught classes from Years 7 to 12 in a diverse range of subjects and has worked in a number of roles including Head of Department, Year Coordinator, and Faith and Liturgy Coordinator. Megan began her involvement with CIWA on a sessional basis delivering courses at The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Dr Nathan Leber, Lecturer

M Ed (RE) (UNDA) PhD (UWA) Grad Dip Ed (UNE) BA (UWA) Dip Music (WAAPA)


Phone: (08) 9241 5250

Nathan comes to CIWA after working on both sides of Australia in tertiary, secondary and primary spheres of education as an Associate Lecturer, Classical Languages Teacher, Head of House and Deputy Principal: Student Services.

He holds a PhD in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Education (Religious Education) from the University of Notre Dame. Nathan has a passion for pastoral care, faith formation and social justice both in schools and in the world in general, having previously worked for Caritas Australia, the International Aid and Development Agency of the Catholic Church in Australia. He is also an accomplished musician and a graduate from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Board Members

Chair (Ex-Officio)

The Most Reverend Gerard Holohan

Bishop of Bunbury

Deputy Chair (Ex-Officio)

Dr Chris Hackett

Director, Catholic Institute of Western Australia

CEWA Executive Director Nominee (Ex-Officio)

Mr Paul Leuba
Team Leader
Finance and Property

Dr Chris Cotter
Director, Religious Education –  Catholic Education Western Australia

Catholic Primary Principal Association Nominee


Conference of Catholic Bishops in Western Australia Nominee

Sr Joan Buckham RSM

Peter Yensch

Catholic Secondary Principals Association Nominee

Clare Kanakis

Principal, St Clare’s School

Catholic Religious Western Australia Nominee

Sr Catherine Warner

IONA Presentation Sisters

Executive Secretary

Pina Fiorenza

Manager, Finance and Office Administration
Catholic Institute of Western Australia