Staff Structure

The overall governance for the School lies with the School Board of Governors.  The current School Board comprises the following members: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and other members as agreed by the Board. These members are nominated and elected annually by the members of the parent body. The Principal is also a member of the Board.  Whilst the School Board maintains its legal responsibilities for ultimate control over school affairs and is responsible for governance and strategy, the school’s operations are managed on a day-to-day basis by the Principal.

RMS School Board 2016

Chairperson:       Sonja Neame

sonja_1Grad Dip Bus. Mgmt, MAICD, CSA Cert. Sonja has served as chairman since 2011 and previously as treasurer when nominated to the board in 2009. She is also a member of the Finance and Risk Management Committee. Sonja Neame is managing director of mining consultancy Ravensgate and has spent over 20 years in the mining industry in Australia and internationally. Sonja completed the Australian Institute Company Directors Course in 2010 and is a certified member of the Governance Institute of Australia.

Vice Chair:       Matthew Watt

Principal:       Vanessa Aikins

Vanessa Vanessa Aikins (BA, BEd, MEd) has over 20 years experience in education and teaching. Vanessa commenced her teaching Career as a Home Economics, Physical Education and Health Education teacher, then moved into school administration in Department of Education Senior High Schools and District High Schools as Head of Department, Deputy Principal and Principal. Vanessa worked in the Department of Education Canning District Education Office as a Curriculum Officer and was Principal of Warnbro Community High School’s Education Support Centre. Vanessa has had over ten years as a school administrator prior to joining Rockingham Montessori School as Principal in 2011. Vanessa completed the AMI Montessori Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies (12-18) in 2013.

Secretary:       Lisa Daley

Treasurer:      Rachel Walker

Rachel is originally from England where she qualified as a chartered accountant. Rachel moved to Australia in 1993 and continued working as a chartered accountant in public practice and other corporations. Rachel’s daughter commenced Montessori education at age three and graduated from Beehive Montessori School where she is now undertaking training to become a Montessori teacher. Rachel started Southbank Montessori in 2004. This is a group of Montessori child care centres based in East Victoria Park.

General Board Member 1:      Barry Down

Barry Professor Barry Down BSocSc, GradDipEd, BEd, MEd, PhD Murd
Barry Down is City of Rockingham Chair in Education at Murdoch University. He has been involved in teaching and teacher education since 1980. His research interests focus around student engagement, personalised learning and the small schools movement. He has co-authored a number of books, among them: Critically Engaged Learning: Connecting to Young Lives (New York: Peter Lang); ‘Hanging in With Kids’ in Tough Times: Engagement in Contexts of Educational Disadvantage in the Relational School (New York: Peter Lang); and recently The Socially Just School (Dordrecht: Springer) and Promoting early career teacher resilience (London: Routledge). Barry and his wife Jenny live in Baldivis, have two teenage daughters, and two pampered dogs for company.

General Board Member 2:      Nigel Denny

Nigel DennyNigel has a B.Arch (1985) from UWA. He has worked for a number of architects in Perth as well as in the UK. In 2007, Nigel started his own practice; Nigel Denny Architect. Nigel has a history in school and university projects and currently the majority of his work is residential. Nigel has two children at RMS.

General Board Member 3:      Shea O’Neill


Members of the School Board chair a number of committees and report monthly to the Board on the activities of each committee.

Finance Committee: Responsible for overseeing the financial management of the School and advising the Board of matters of strategic importance.

Governance Committee: Facilitates best practice governance by the School Board.

Risk Management Committee: