Dear Havergal Community,

Principal Catherine MissonOn behalf of the Board of Governors and the Search Committee, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine Misson as Havergal College’s 12th Principal. This appointment follows a thorough and rigorous nine-month global recruitment process.

With more than two decades of experience, Catherine is an accomplished, progressive and respected educator. At the helm of Melbourne Girls Grammar since 2008, she has led the contemporary evolution of learning across the Junior, Middle and Senior Years Programs. She also established the Centre for Educational Enterprise in 2015, taking its agenda international in 2016 with the launch of the Enterprising Schools Network for like-minded educators. Catherine was also the visionary behind the Artemis Centre, the school’s facility for the well-being of girls, which opened in September 2017. I am delighted that Catherine will be joining Havergal this August, following the retirement of our current Principal, Helen-Kay Davy.

I am excited to have Catherine, an innovative and inspiring leader, join our community, both to build upon Helen-Kay’s legacy and to guide us into the future. Catherine is a champion of girls’ education. She is a firm believer in the potential of students to be nurtured and engaged in order to make their mark in the world and become, as she would say, “women of action.” Catherine’s philosophy of education supports Havergal’s values and our mission to prepare young women to make a difference.

Prior to her tenure at Melbourne Girls Grammar, Catherine was the Deputy Headmistress, and Teaching and Learning Director at St Catherine’s School, in Sydney. She earned her Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education, and Master of Education from UNSW Sydney (the University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities.

Catherine has earned many distinguishing honours, including being nominated for 100 Women of Influence: Australian Financial Review Women of Influence 2018 and she was also a finalist for School Principal of the Year, the Australian Education Awards 2018. In 2017, the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) bestowed upon Catherine the Victorian Fellow for her services to education and Principals Australia Institute (PAI) presented her with the John Laing Award for Professional Development for outstanding leadership in providing professional learning in schools. In 2016, her significant contribution to the Kindergarten to Grade 12 education sector was noted in The Educator Magazine’s Hot List, which documents the top 40 most influential people in education.

Catherine is an energetic and dynamic leader. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to fostering positive learning environments unique to the development of girls. She values collaboration, community and connection. In my time with her during the recruitment process, I have found Catherine to be a passionate and articulate big-picture thinker who will carry the torch onward for Havergal.

I am looking forward to introducing her to all of you in the coming months. Catherine and her husband, David, have three children, Georgia, Conor and Isabella. This fall, David and Isabella will join Catherine in Toronto.

As we welcome Catherine and her family to our community, we will also rightfully acknowledge and honour Helen-Kay’s contributions to Havergal. As the school’s 11th Principal, she has had an enormous impact. Since her arrival in 2014, she has led the creation of our strategic plan and the launch our largest fundraising and capital build in the school’s history. We hope to share details of this celebration soon.

I would also like to acknowledge the dedication and tireless efforts of our Search Committee in this extensive recruitment process. Finding the right candidate for such an important post was no small feat. Additionally, I would like to thank all of the Board members, faculty, staff, parents, students and Old Girls who took the time to reach out to me personally to share insights during our consultations. I am humbled by the care, passion and purpose of this Havergal family.

At this pivotal time in our history, I know you will join me in welcoming Catherine and her family to our community as we celebrate Havergal’s 125 years of excellence.


Martha Cohen Simmons, PhD
Chair, Board of Governors
Class of 1999