School Board Members

Vanessa Aikins

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.

Andrew Holmes


[email protected]

Professor Barry Down

BSc, GradDipEd, BEd, MEd, PhD

Vice Chairman

Barry Down has been involved in teaching and teacher education for the best part of 40 years. He has been active on local school boards both public and private as Chair, Vice Chair and General Board Member. In his role as the City of Rockingham Chair in Education (2004-2013) he engaged with local committees and organisations involved in school planning, youth development, and employment.  Barry has served in various leadership roles at Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University as well as professional associations including the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE). His research interests focus on student engagement, personalised learning and the small schools’ movement. He has co-authored seven books, among them: Critically Engaged Learning: Connecting to Young Lives; ‘Hanging in With Kids’ in Tough Times: Engagement in Contexts of Educational Disadvantage in the Relational School; The Socially Just School; Promoting Early Career Teacher Resilience; and School-to-Work Transitions: Young People Have Something to Say. Barry officially ‘retired’ from Murdoch University at the end of last year but continues to work on a large Australian Research Council (ARC) grant investigating school exclusion. He recently accepted an appointment as Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia. Barry and his wife Jenny live in Baldivis. He has two daughters and a delightful granddaughter.


Rachel Walker


Born in England and emigrated to Australia having already qualified as a Chartered Accountant I had my daughter in 1995 and enrolled her in Montessori from age 3.We moved to Western Australia in 2004 and she joined Beehive Montessori. In 2005 I started the first Montessori child care centre in WA called Southbank Montessori. This has now been going for over 15 years.

 Joined the board of Rockingham Montessori as I am a passionate believer in creating strong schools especially with high schools.



Jocelyn Tan


Jocelyn is the parent of two children at RMS and a PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame. As a research officer with more than fifteen years, including managing a reproductive laboratory, Jocelyn is experienced in regulatory compliance. Her research aims to improve the long term health of young people with developmental conditions


Shea O’Neill

General Board Member