Who We Are

At Mater Dei we work together with families and carers to provide innovative and contemporary education and therapy services to babies, children and young adults with an Intellectual Disability or developmental delay.

Mater Dei School is the oldest and original educational offering of Mater Dei, which began as an orphanage by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan Order in 1910.

More recently, Mater Dei’s offerings have expanded to include: Mater Dei Early Childhood EducationNextPath Continuous Learning and NextPath Assessment & Therapy.

You can explore the Mater Dei community by clicking on each logo below.

Mater Dei is a registered charity and tax deductible gift recipient. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Your generosity ensures we can continue to provide groundbreaking, Research and Evidence-based education and support to our school students, as well as high-quality, innovative services and resources across all programs.

Our Impact


Young Adults enrolled in NextPath Continuous Learning, and counting. Up from just 6 Young Adults when it launched in 2018.


in educational innovation and Universal Design for Learning.


years experience providing services to children and young people with intellectual disability.

Organisational Leadership Team

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Richard Drinnan

Interim CEO

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Melissa Eather

CFO/Business Manager

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Jennifer Foldes

Principal of Mater Dei School

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Pamela Templeton

Director of Mater Dei Early Childhood Education

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Sarah Ryan

Director of Development

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Vanessa Black

Manager of NextPath Assessment & Therapy

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Alycia O'Neill

Manager of NextPath Continuous Learning

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Tony Lehner

Head of HR (Interim)

Mater Dei Board

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Michael Lavorato

Chair of Board

Michael has been a member of the Board since 2014, Deputy Chair since 2015 and in 2020 was announced as the new Chair of Board. Michael is the General Manager of the Campbelltown Catholic Club. Member of the Development Committee. Member of the Governance, Risk and Compliance Committee.

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Sherie Avalos


Sherie has been a member of the Board since 2016. Sherie has 23 years experience in the Disability Sector as Executive Management. Chair of the Early Childhood Education Committee. Chair of the NextPath Committee.

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Krystle Wolthers


Krystle joined the board in May 2020. Krystle is a Partner at Marsdens Law Group, having joined the firm shortly after admission as a Lawyer in 2012. Marsdens Law Group have always been a proud supporter of Mater Dei and Krystle has worked closely with the past Chair, John Adam for many years. Krystle has a keen interest in social justice and enjoys working with a number of pro-bono programs. Chair of the Governance, Risk and Compliance sub Committee.

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Alan Ibbett


Alan joined the Board in June 2021 and is an Electrical Engineer. He comes to the Board with a wealth of experience – specialising in IT. Alan has taken up a new role at CE Net (Catholic Education Network) and has previously held the roles of Chief Information Officer for Eurobodalla Shire Council and Chief Information Officer for the Diocese of Wollongong. Alan has also assisted Mater Dei with IT over many years in these capacities. Member of the Foundation committee and the Building and Property sub committee.

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Paul Burgess


Paul joined the Mater Dei Board in May 2023. Paul is a CPA-qualified Accountant and since 2002 has been a Shareholder and Group Financial Director of Paul Wakeling Motor Group. Member of the Early Childhood Education Committee.

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Adam Quinn


Adam joined the Mater Dei Board in May 2023. Adam is a Senior Partner of the firm Kelly Partners, Chartered Accountants and brings a wealth of experience to the Board. Member of the Audit & Finance Committee.