School Board Members
BA, BEd, MEd
Principal (ex officio)
Vanessa Aikins has over 25 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 Canning District Education Office as a Curriculum Officer and was Principal of Warnbro Community High School’s Education Support Centre. Vanessa joined Rockingham Montessori School as Principal in 2011, and completed the AMI Montessori Teachers Association Orientation to Adolescent Studies Program in 2013.
Shea moved into the Acting Chair role in March 2018, after being a General Board Member of Rockingham Montessori School since March 2016. In addition to being the parent of two students in the Primary School, Shea is a Director and Principal Consultant of an environmental consultancy and is the Auskick Coordinator of the Port Kennedy Cats Football Club.
Professor Barry Down
BSc, GradDipEd, BEd, MEd, PhD
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 and have two teenage daughters and two pampered dogs for company.