Our School Board

The Knox School Board is responsible for the governance, strategic direction and operations of our School to ensure effective management and strong future.

The day-to-day management of the School rests with the Principal and staff. The Board provides:

  • 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
  • Approval of the Principal’s appointment and performance appraisals

The Board composition reflects the diverse School community.

All Board members have leadership experience; many have financial, legal, educational or marketing expertise. Members include current parents, past students or parents of former students. All share the collective goals of protecting and enhancing the School’s welfare, and contributing to the School’s strategic direction.

Meet our Board of Directors

Wendy Lewis OAM - Chair

Ted Gale

Genia Janover

Craig Spagnol

Sandra Ball

Sarah Spencer

Andrew Wilson

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.

Ted Gale

Ted is an independent Information Technology (IT) consultant across a range of business sectors including Education, Federal, State and Local Government and utilities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

His background includes more than 30 years of Executive Management roles in the ICT industry, with experience in leading-edge technology including software development and requirements, business application consulting, plus technical, infrastructure and strategic ICT consulting.

Ted’s first contact with The Knox School was in 1997 when his son and daughter started in Years 7 and 5 respectively. In 2000 Ted joined the School Council, which he chaired from 2003 to 2007. Ted commenced as a member of the Board in August 2007.

Genia Janover

Principal of Bialik College for 20 years, Genia is one of Australia’s outstanding educational leaders, driven by her passion for educating children and maximising their talents and potential. She has demonstrated creative and inspiring leadership over a sustained period and led the way in educational innovation in a number of areas.

Genia is an ambassador for Independent Schools Victoria; a member of Council at Geelong Grammar School; Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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 Project Director 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.

 

Sarah Spencer

 Sarah is a former student of The Knox School, which she attended from 1988 to 1995. Sarah returned to the school in 1999 to form the Alumni Association and in 2001 joined the school council for four years until 2005, when she resigned to relocate to London to work at one of the Magic Circle law firms.

Sarah returned from London in 2009 and is currently a Senior Lawyer at ANZ.

Andrew Wilson

Andrew, a qualified chartered accountant, joined the Board in January 2017. Over the past decade, Andrew has had extensive experience as Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary with leading consumer businesses.

Andrew has been on Boards with several organisations in the retail and entertainment sectors and been involved with business strategy and development, project management, risk management, capital management and mergers and acquisitions.

He is currently Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of Fun Lab Pty Ltd, an international and leading entertainment and leisure company based in Melbourne.

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

Melinda Davis

Deputy Principal

Ian Foster

Director of Business Operations

Phillip Henniker

Head of Senior School and Student Wellbeing

Toni-Ann Bright

Head of Middle School

Catherine Samuel

Head of Junior School

Travis Parker

Head of Strategic Systems

Simon Cowell

Deputy Head of Junior School

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!

Melinda Davis

Deputy Principal

Melinda is a widely experienced educator whom over the last 25 years has held leadership roles in single sex, co-educational and boarding schools across a range of government, catholic, independent and tertiary educational contexts. Melinda was most recently the Head of Teaching and Learning at Xavier College.

She is a courageous leader with a focus on the contemporary education of young people, where academics and wellbeing are symbiotically connected and prioritised equally across the entire school. She is especially committed to inclusion, diversity and equality within school communities.

Melinda is a passionate Media teacher and an advocate of Arts education. She has worked for ACARA where she wrote the Australian Curriculum for The Arts, for VCAA in a range of roles including Chief Exam Assessor and VCE Study Design writer for Media, and also at The University of Melbourne in their MGSE Master of Teaching program as a lecturer in teacher education and pedagogy.

She is currently writing a Doctorate on the leadership experiences of women in boys’ schools which is due for completion in 2023.

Melinda is a mum to twin boys who have just started high school. She once ran a half marathon (never again) and is currently obsessed with her Peloton bike. She loves art, live music and travelling, and can’t wait to see more of the world.

Ian Foster

Director of Business Operations

Ian commenced as Director of Business Operations at The Knox School in October 2012, following an eight-year tenure as Business Manager at Westbourne Grammar School.

Ian’s career has been diverse, including key roles working in a Chartered Accounting Practice, the childcare Industry, the privatisation of the Victorian Rail and Tram network and financial services, before venturing into education.

He has worked in Auckland, London and New York in financial services.

Ian is married to Michelle and has two daughters and two grandsons. Chloe, who has sons Sam and Noah; and Paris, who is in her fourth year at university studying to be a secondary school teacher. The family also has a pet cat, Chardonnay.

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

He has been travelled extensively and would one day love to visit Scandinavia.

Phillip Henniker

Head of Senior School and Student Wellbeing

Phillip joined TKS from mid-2022 with over 17 years’ experience as a passionate Teacher of History, specialising in Ancient History, and educational leader having worked in several of Australia’s high-profile schools.

His educational philosophy is entrenched in the importance of ‘belonging’ and the development of each student as a whole person – mentally, physically, and socially/emotionally – and giving them every chance to lead, flourish and grow whilst helping them develop the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st Century.

Phillip has a keen passion for travel, and has visited some amazing countries in the world with highlights including Iran, Papua New Guinea, and Nepal.

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 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.

As the Head of the Middle School, Toni-Ann is committed to enhancing students’ academic, cultural and social outcomes, fostering continuous improvements in teaching delivery and maintaining best practice.

The adolescent years are challenging. Toni-Ann is determined to provide students the opportunity to explore, discover and achieve their full potential in a safe and nurturing environment.

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.

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, in 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. She regularly reflects and draws 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.

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.

Simon Cowell

Deputy 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.

Heads of House

  • Ms Cassie Beveridge – Head of Paterson House
  • Mrs Joanne Vanderpol – Head of Flinders House
  • Mr Chris Brand – Head of Chisholm House
  • Mrs Lindi Chiu – Head of Lawrence House

Heads of Faculty

  • Mr Darragh Sheehan – Head of Science
  • Mr Ben Ritchie – Head of The Humanities
  • Mr Brenden Morris – Head of Mathematics
  • Miss Emma Kenny – Head of English
  • Ms Gemma Beard – Head of Languages
  • Dr Jane Lawrence – Head of Differentiated Learning
  • Dr Jingjing Wang – Director of International Program
  • Mr Tim Collins – Director of Music and Performing Arts
  • Mrs Birgit Verhagen – Head of Technology, Art and Design
  • Mr Alex Wilson – Head of Sport
  • Mr Travis Parker – Head of Strategic Systems

Enrolment

  • Mrs Tania Castles – Registrar
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