Our Leadership structure ensures College cohesion and enterprise through alignment of structures, policies and practices with the College Ethos.

Downlands is advised by a College Board, members of which are appointed by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart who have the ultimate responsibility for the College and set its future direction; our College Executive Leadership Team is responsible for the planning, strategic direction and management of the College and is supported by Junior, Middle and Senior School Team Leaders and Year Group Leaders, all of whom work with the Pastoral Care teams in each year level; and our Student Leadership takes on the responsibility of representing our students at the highest level.

Our Principal


A welcome from our Principal, Mr Stephen Koch

Downlands College extends a warm welcome to you and your family.

I am very proud and privileged to be the Principal of this exceptional school that has developed leaders, entrepreneurs and individuals who have made a difference in the world. Founded by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in 1931, Downlands College has a rich history and continues to be characterised by its strong Catholic ethos and MSC spirit which underpins all we do.

At Downlands we acknowledge and embrace the diverse heritage, cultures and backgrounds of our students, staff and broader school community. The development of strong, life-giving relationships forms the cornerstone of a Downlands education, and our unique MSC heritage ensures that the Downlands journey is intertwined with an ‘education of the heart’.

A focus on relationships allows our core values of love, courage, compassion, understanding and humility to be woven through all our interactions.

Widely recognised as a leading coeducational day and boarding school, Downlands College is known as the ‘school of choice’ and a school ‘where your heart finds a home’. At Downlands there is a niche for every student. We journey with each individual student academically and pastorally to provide the best possible school and post-school pathway. Opportunities include a very broad curriculum offering (academic and Vocational Education and Training), sport, performing arts, agriculture, leadership, social justice projects and community service.

Our goal is to have happy students who perform to their personal best in all situations and who take responsibility for their learning and relationships. This includes student presentation, excellence in academic pursuits, co-curricular involvement, treating peers and community members with respect and kindness, and having a sense of humour.

We will continue to ensure the wider community recognises that a Downlands educational journey is one that will develop selfless leaders who are advocates for values-based communities. Our distinctive culture is informed and guided by our beliefs and commitment to community, personal growth, relationships, spirituality and individual learning journeys.

The historical character of our buildings, incorporated with modern facilities, our stunning gardens, expansive grounds and the smiling, friendly students and staff can provide you with an insight into a Downlands education. I invite you to come and experience the Downlands difference.


Mr Stephen Koch
B Rural Sc (Hons), GDip.Ed. GDip.RE

College Board

Downlands College is advised by a College Board, members of which are appointed by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) who have the ultimate responsibility for the College and set its future direction.

The MSC recently reviewed and revised the Constitutions of all four MSC schools to allow for changes to aspects of governance which involve a more inclusive model involving lay people. The Downlands Constitution explains how the College Board operates - click to read the Constitution

Briefly, the College Board is responsible to the corporate regulators (ASIC - ACNC) for legislative requirements and to the Non-State School Accreditation Board (NSSAB) for accreditation and registration. The Board approves College Policy through its four sub-committees (Ethos, Education, Finance and Audit, Risk Management) and provides advice to the Principal/MSC regarding strategic, financial, capital or educational changes envisioned for the College. The Board oversees the corporate governance of the College and while very interested in the day-to-day achievements/undertakings at Downlands, plays no role in managing the operational matters as they unfold in the normal course of operating a school. As an example, the Board would set the fee structure and approve the budget for the following year but would not intervene in curriculum, assessment or student management procedures. The Board expects the College to manage the education of students by following the policies it has approved, with all these policies reflective of and consistent with the Philosophy and Vision of Education in MSC schools. It is then the College’s role to set and implement procedures based on these policies.


2019 Board Members 

Mr Jon Wiedman

Appointed 2017


Mrs Julie Raitelli, Chair

Dip Ed, B Ed

School Principal 35 years


Dr Dorothy Andrews


Associate Professor, Education, USQ, Director of Leadership Research International (LRI/USQ)


Mr Stephen Koch

B Rural Sc (Hons), GDip.Ed. GDip.RE

Downlands College Principal from 1 January 2019


Mr Ian Mendes

BCom (Accounting) Hons, FCPA

Business Manager

Company Secretary


Fr Bob Irwin MSC

BA, M Ed, B Rel Stud, ACP, ATCL, CELTA

14 years as an MSC College Principal and previous staff member of Downlands


Mr Tom Khoo

B Pharm


Ms Kathy Doherty

Appointed 2017


Mr Jon Wiedman

Appointed 2017

Student Leadership


Student Leadership at Downlands is characterised by alignment of philosophy, process and practices with the MSC Vision for enhancing student growth, and is characterised by a focus on servant leadership as core, relationship building, gentleness and affirmation.

Our student leaders are committed to upholding MSC values and acting as role models for the rest of the student community. They are expected to stand with and for the charism and be able to articulate it in their own words. 

Numerous opportunities exist for students to develop leadership skills across all Year levels, whether this be through election to year level Student Representative Councils (SRC), active participation in liturgical celebrations, leadership in the co-curricular spheres of Sport, Performing Arts, Social Justice, Cattle show Team, Boarding houses or in Day houses.

Towards the end of Year 11, students participate in a specific Leadership Program which focuses on what it means to lead according to the Ethos, Vision and Mission of Downlands as a Catholic MSC school. This program is inclusive of physical activities requiring teamwork, and culminates in a process through which College Leaders are identified. The process aligns with the College Levels System. It requires nomination, initial voting, interview, presentation of speeches and final voting.