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Executive of The Knox School

Allan Shaw, Principal and Chief Executive

Allan has skills and experiences built over many years in schools and three careers outside of schools. These were as a goldsmith, a professional white water rafting guide and as Chief Executive to The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) .

Allan worked in all three school sectors prior to his appointment as Foundation Principal at Peter Moyes Anglican Community School (PMACS) in 1999. During the years at PMACS (1999-2005), the school grew from prospective earth works to a school of 1000 boys and girls from four year olds through to Year 12.

As Chief Executive to AHISA (2005-2012), Allan had regular contact with members, visiting many schools, meeting Ministers for Education and their staff.

Allan was a foundation member of the board of AITSL (Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership) in 2010. He became a Fellow of the Australian Council for Education Leaders in 2008 and is active on social media discussing educational topics.

Allan has been Principal of The Knox School (TKS) since 2014. At TKS a strategy of personalising schooling is being actively pursued at multiple levels. One of the major threads to this strategy is the development of an innovative culture of learning focussed on student outcomes by the highly skilled, professional staff of the school.

Allan and Susan have two adult children and they now look after two cavoodles who think they are human. Allan enjoys yoga and swimming in Port Phillip Bay as exercise and has practised meditation, twice a day for more than 30 years.

Nikki Kirkup, Deputy Principal

With over 20 years of experience in education, Nikki, originally from the UK, came to Australia from St George’s International School in Switzerland where she held the role of Head of the English and Drama faculty for 7 years. In this role, she implemented the International Baccalaureate Diploma and redesigned the Middle Years English program.

Prior to joining The Knox School at the start of 2020, Nikki held the role Director of Senior Years at Melbourne Girls Grammar (MGGS) and Acting Deputy Principal and was instrumental in leading various projects and teams in the Middle and Senior School.

Student agency and “leadership beyond the badge” are both areas that Nikki has championed, working closely with students to develop a range of philanthropic and enterprise initiatives.

With her passion for collaborative leadership, student-centred approaches, community engagement and innovation in education, Nikki is excited about her role at The Knox School, especially a return to co-education and a major role in furthering the four pillars of our strategy.

Outside of school, Nikki enjoys spending time at the beach with husband, Bren, and her pet spoodle, Dood!

Suzanne van Strien, Head of Senior School

A dedicated, lifelong educator, Suzanne has taught in leading independent schools in 4 states and territories, including 10 years at Knox Grammar School in Sydney and 14 years at Radford College in Canberra.

As an Educational leader, she combines a comprehensive knowledge of matters of governance with logistical and analytical strengths, student tracking and development, and curriculum design. She commits to the principles of these domains and maintains that an integrated, holistic approach is central to student engagement and success.

Suzanne is also an accredited PGA Community Instructor for golf, loves creating furniture in woodwork, an avid geocacher, and has been a dog-training instructor for over 15 years, not that it is evident if you meet her border collie and kelpie cross whippet!

Toni-Ann Bright, Head of Middle School

Toni-Ann started her teaching career in South Africa, cementing her belief that all students have the right to access quality education that is focused on providing the best opportunities available and meeting the needs of students, both academic and pastoral. Further teaching and leadership roles in the UK and Australia has provided a wealth of operational, administrative, curriculum and strategic experience across a range of learning environments.

As the Head of the Middle School, Toni-Ann is committed to enhancing students’ academic, cultural and social outcomes, to fostering continuous improvements in teaching delivery and maintaining best practice. The adolescent years are challenging and Toni-Ann is determined to provide students the opportunity to explore, discover and achieve their full potential within a safe and nurturing environment. It is her hope that her enthusiasm and love of learning inspires others to engage positively with their education.

Outside of School, Toni-Ann enjoys spending quality time with friends, motorsport and travelling extensively with her husband, Brian.

Catherine Samuel, Head of Junior School

As Head of the Junior School, Catherine believes in providing every student with opportunities to recognise and reach their full potential, experience personal success and find their passions. Her passion for teaching stems from her love of life-long learning and the opportunity to instil that in others.

Catherine has taught and led in several different educational settings from the country to the city, within the government and independent sector, and in single-gender and co-educational schools. These opportunities have provided her with many rich experiences that have shaped her beliefs and understanding today, and she still regularly reflects and draw on them today.

Catherine is excited to lead The Knox Junior School, focusing on developing the whole-child, designing engaging and challenging learning experiences for students and instilling strong values and attitudes towards learning. When Catherine is not focused on her role at The Knox School, one of her greatest enjoyments is heading home with her dog, Charlie, to her parent’s property in country NSW.

Ian Foster, Director of Business Operations

Ian commenced as the Director of Business Operations at The Knox School in October 2012, following a 8 year tenure as the Business Manager at Westbourne Grammar School. Ian’s career has been quite diverse whereby some of his key roles were working in a Chartered Accounting Practice, the Child Care Industry, the privatisation of the Victorian Rail and Tram network and particularly in the Financial Service sector, before venturing into the education sector.

Whilst working in the Financial Services sector he had some short working stints in Auckland, London and New York.

Ian is married to Michelle and has two daughters: Chloe who has provided two grandsons, Sam and Noah, and younger daughter, Paris, who is currently in her fourth year at University studying to be a secondary school teacher. The family is also comprised of a pet cat called Chardonnay.

Ian is very passionate about sports having played soccer in the NSL (now the A League) with Brisbane Lions, plays regular golf, follows Melbourne Storm in Rugby league and Richmond in the AFL.

He has been fortunate to travel extensively across the world and would love to visit Scandinavia one day.

Heads of House

Mr Travis Parker – Head of Paterson House

Mrs Joanne Vanderpol – Head of Flinders House

Mr Chris Brand – Head of Chisholm House

Ms Lindi Chiu – Head of Lawrence House

Heads of Faculty

Ms Karen Lucas – Head of Science

Mr Ben Ritchie – Head of The Humanities

Mr Brenden Morris – Head of Mathematics

Miss Emma Kenny – Head of English

Mrs Amanda McCleery – Head of Languages

Dr Jane Lawrence – Head of Differentiated Learning

Dr Jingjing Wang – Director of International Program

Ms Julia Stoppa – Director of Music and Performing Arts

Mrs Birgit Verhagen – Head of Technology, Art and Design

Mr Alex Wilson – Head of Sport

Enrolment

Mrs Tania Castles – Registrar

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