RAY COLLINS: Dr Stephen Aitken

Today, representatives of the Catholic Education Community will gather at MacKillop Catholic College, Warnervale to celebrate the life of its foundation Principal, Dr Stephen Aitken, who passed away recently.

Stephen had a long history as a teacher and principal of a number of Catholic Secondary schools and MacKillop College, a Years K-12 school. He began his career as a member of the Patrician Brothers and forged an outstanding reputation as a teacher and principal.

On leaving the Brothers, Stephen became a lay Principal and in his retirement forged an equally outstanding reputation as an Education Consultant working with schools across Australia and supporting principals through his work as the Executive Officer of the Association of Catholic School Principals.

Whilst largely employed in the Parramatta and Broken Bay dioceses, Stephen’s appointment to the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Catholic Schools Council opened new avenues for his wisdom and passion for Catholic education to be shared with others. In doing so Stephen developed a real affection for the work of our schools and the principals and staff who provide a quality Catholic education to the children in their care.

As a member of the Catholic Schools Council, Stephen was actively engaged in every dimension of the council’s work, serving on the Finance Risk Management Committee and taking a particular interest in the faith education and pastoral care programs offered to our schools.

He often spoke with great affection of the school visits he undertook as a member of the council or as a consultant to our schools.

Despite being severely afflicted by cancer he maintained his busy schedule as a member of the council and acted as the research officer for the recent review of the Faith Accreditation Policy.

Stephen’s unexpected death in hospital came as a shock to all who know and love him, particularly his much loved wife, Kerry, their family, the Patrician Brothers for whom he had such great affection, the staff of MacKillop Catholic College and those who have worked with him in so many varied roles over the years.

Today his life will be celebrated with a joyous recognition of the qualities Stephen brought to his mission in Catholic Schools and pride in the many roles he undertook, all of which impacted so strongly on the lives of so many young people across NSW.

To his wife Kerry and their family I extend our deepest sympathies for the grief they are experiencing, knowing it is tinged with the privilege of having had Stephen in their lives. From a Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle perspective the gifts he brought to our Catholic Schools Council and to our schools will be remembered for many years to come.

May he rest in peace.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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