Our School Board

The Board’s role is defined by the Constitution of The Knox School – a formal legal document.

Our responsibility is for the governance and strategic direction of the School. The day-to-day management of the School and public discussions about the School rests with the Principal and her team.

Our role is an oversight one which is focused on the following areas:

  • The appointment of the Principal
  • Policy development and ongoing review
  • Financial oversight
  • Strategic direction and planning
  • Risk management and oversight
  • Guidance on the development of the School’s property planning

A key element of the Board’s role is approving the annual budget. This effectively determines the structure and increases of the school fees. It also impacts the ongoing investment in our School in terms of buildings, equipment, our staff, and more. A key focus over recent years has been to keep annual school fee increases low to better position our School in the independent school sector.

The Board composition reflects the diverse School community.

The TKS Board is a skills-based board. Each Board member has extensive experience in their field and provides specific professional advice that enables the School’s continued development and growth. Our primary skills include Education, Finance, Legal, and Information Technology.

The Constitution of TKS determines the length of service for Board members as well as the discretion to provide an annual fee to Directors. Director fees are a discretionary payment and are subject to consideration by the Board and the company membership annually.

The Board is conscious of its governance responsibilities and places a high priority on ensuring our decisions are made in the best interests of the whole School community. We are committed to making The Knox School the best school for your children to enjoy their education.

Meet our Board of Directors

Wendy Lewis OAM - Chair

Craig Spagnol

Sandra Ball

Ahmad Samadi

Wendy Lewis OAM - Chair

With over 35 years’ experience, Wendy has worked in manufacturing, accounting services, independent schools and tertiary colleges. She has qualifications in accountancy, education and philanthropy.

Wendy’s experience includes financial management, strategic planning, risk management and governance. She is the Chair of the Invergowrie Foundation, a philanthropic Foundation focused on advancing the education of girls and women in Victoria.

Wendy is also Executive Officer of the Collier Charitable Fund. She was CEO of Girl Guides Victoria from 2004-2014.

Craig Spagnol

Craig is a Solicitor and Notary Public and is Principal of Spagnol Legal, a city-based legal practice.

Before taking up law, Craig was a teacher at The Knox School from 1989 to 1999. He held positions including House Coordinator and Head of the Commerce and Humanities Faculties.

Sandra Ball

Sandra currently holds the position of Chief Operating Officer at the VET Development Centre. Her business background includes executive management in the arts and education sector, including international students and the ESOS Act. She has attained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, together with additional studies in Human Resources, Education Law, Registered Training Organisation legislation, Compliancy, and Training & Assessment in the Vocational Education and Training sector. Sandra was also awarded an AbaF Margaret Lawrence Scholarship which enabled her to undertake professional development at Melbourne Business School, Mt. Eliza Campus.

Sandra’s first contact with The Knox School was when her daughter and son commenced Pre-Prep in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

 

Ahmad Samadi

Ahmad is a finance and accounting professional with over 14 years of experience in audit and assurance. He is a Director and Head of Audit & Assurance at Accru Melbourne and is passionate about helping the not-for-profit sector. Ahmad has served on not-for-profit Boards previously and works with numerous independent schools in achieving their financial objectives.

School leadership

Our Leadership Team is dedicated to improving teaching, learning and the success of our students. We use evidence-informed teaching and learning practices focused on a Personalised Learning strategy, coupled with expert educators dedicated to the delivery of outstanding education with excellent results.

Nikki Kirkup

Principal

Dwayne Wathen

Chief Financial Officer

Liana Gooch

Head of Learning, Teaching, and Innovation

Janelle Mathias

Head of Senior School and Head of VCE (acting)

Simon Cowell

Head of Junior School

Toni-Ann Bright

Head of People and Culture

Travis Parker

Head of Strategic Systems

Nikki Kirkup

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 seven 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 was Director of Senior Years at Melbourne Girls Grammar (MGGS) and Acting Deputy Principal. She was instrumental in leading various projects and teams in the Middle and Senior School.

Student agency and “leadership beyond the badge” are 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 continues to be excited about her role at The Knox School, especially a return to co-education and 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!

Dwayne Wathen

Chief Financial Officer

Dwayne, a Chartered Accountant, worked for 13 years as Financial Controller of the Australian Football League (AFL). He has amassed a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit and professional sporting sector, having held various roles during this time working with Boards and Executive teams across the country.

Dwayne enjoys spending time and travelling with his family, playing football, basketball and golf, and enjoying learning how to make his own wine at a family vineyard in the King Valley.

Liana Gooch

Head of Learning, Teaching, and Innovation

Liana has amassed a wealth of experience in the field of education, having worked in five schools across three countries in various leadership positions focused on enhancing teaching and learning.

Passionate about education, Liana exhibits a fervent interest in numerous facets, such as curriculum design, pedagogy, learning spaces, professional development, student well-being, project-based learning, technology integration, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Janelle Mathias

Head of Senior School and Head of VCE (acting)

Janelle successfully completed a double degree at the University of Melbourne, specialisng in both Science and Education. Her passion for teaching led her to commence her career in education, teaching Mathematics, at The Knox School in 2009.

Throughout her tenure at The Knox School, Janelle has held various roles that have contributed to her development as both a teacher and a leader within the school community.

Janelle is dedicated to the holistic development of her students and is committed to fostering a learning environment that provides opportunities for students to grow and achieve their personal best.

Outside of her professional life, Janelle finds joy in spending quality time with her family and traveling the world.

Simon Cowell

Head of Junior School

Simon is a TKS alumni from 1995. Upon graduating from TKS, he completed a degree in Community Development at Deakin University, leading him to work in the international community development sector. He was a board member of an educational charity in Cambodia, and this position directed him to education. Simon completed a degree in both primary and secondary education. He has taught in various roles across both primary and secondary in the UK and  Australia, with his last position being at Melbourne Grammar School.

Simon has a strong focus on the inquiry process through a concept-driven curriculum and the Design Thinking Model. In the Junior School, Simon oversees curriculum development with a strong emphasis on student agency and voice. He collaborates and plans with all Junior School staff.

In his own time, he enjoys travelling, especially to Cambodia, where he still maintains strong connections to the educational set.

Toni-Ann Bright

Head of People and Culture

Toni-Ann started her teaching career in South Africa, cementing her belief that all students have the right to access quality education that provides the best opportunities available and meets students’ academic and pastoral needs.

Further teaching and leadership roles in the UK and Australia provided a wealth of operational, administrative, curriculum and strategic experience across a range of learning environments.

She hopes 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.

Travis Parker

Head of Strategic Systems

Travis is an Educational Leader at The Knox School.

He is an authority in Learning and Teaching with expertise in Assessment, Digital Project Implementation, Mentorship and Timetabling.

He is a passionate advocate for designing and teaching transdisciplinary electives that encourage student agency and choice who believes the skills and dispositions acquired by students through these programs are of vital importance as they leave school and enter an increasingly uncertain world.

Heads of Stage

  • Mr Christian Stuckey – Deputy Head of Senior School and Head of Student Wellbeing (acting)
  • Miss Emma Kenny – Head of Students, Years 11 and 12
  • Mrs Lindi Chiu – Head of Students, Years 8 to 10
  • Ms Nicole Wong – Head of Academics, Years 8 to 10
  • Miss Brittany Morgenthaler – Head of Students, Year 7

Heads of Faculty

  • Mr Darragh Sheehan – Head of Science
  • Mr Paul Rossiter – Head of Humanities
  • Mr Bryden Chew – Head of Commerce
  • Mr Chris Brand – Acting Head of Mathematics
  • Ms Liesl Schultz – Head of English
  • Ms Gemma Beard – Head of Languages
  • Mr Nico Di Stefano – Head of Music and Performing Arts
  • Ms Erin Rollason – Head of Personalised Learning: Diversity and Inclusion
  • Mrs Birgit Verhagen – Head of Technology, Art and Design
  • Mr Alex Wilson – Head of Sport

Enrolment

  • Mrs Tania Castles – Registrar
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