School Board Members
BA, BEd, MEd
Principal (ex officio)
Vanessa Aikins 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 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.
Lisa has been fulfilling the role of Secretary on the Rockingham Montessori School Board since May 2016. Lisa is the mum of a child in the Primary School. Straight out of college and into full time work, Lisa worked for British Telecom for over 20 years fulfilling various roles in the UK, Ireland, India and now Australia. Lisa is currently the IT Operations Manager at Fiona Stanley Hospital. Lisa holds qualifications in ITIL and Six Sigma. She is passionate about people, team management and customer service. In her spare time, she enjoys crossfit.
Neil has been consulting with Rockingham Montessori School since 2013. For 16 years he was the Director of Finance and Administration at St Stephen’s School (three campuses) and Secretary of the School Council. He set up his own consulting business in 2012 and assists independent schools in the areas of governance, finance and administration. Prior to that, for 13 years he was General Secretary of the Baptist Churches of Western Australia.
Professor Barry Down
BSc, GradDipEd, BEd, MEd, PhD
General Board Member
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.
General Board Member
Kath was Coordinator of Kerry Street Community School and worked at the International School of Western Australia, reflecting her commitment to independent schools and alternative education. Her three children attended Kerry Street and Lance Holt Schools. She recently completed her Master of Business Administration and is currently researching conflict in small nonprofit organisations for her doctorate. She is Secretary of the Kardinya Tennis Club and recently picked up a racquet and had her first tennis lesson.