Melbourne Montessori School is a not for profit independent school and an incorporated entity under the Corporations Act 2001.

The MMS Board has the responsibility for the governance of the school, its vision and strategic direction. As part of this governance, the Board determines and implements the School’s key values and principles, it appoints and works closely with the school Principal, regularly reviews the schools financial performance and ensures that the school maintains compliance with legal obligations and approves policies for the school.

The MMS Constitution, the Corporations Act and the relevant state and federal regulations pertaining to early childhood education and schools determine the governance structure.

The Board meet on a monthly basis. The Members of the school community elect board members for a 2-year term, with the Board appointing the relevant office bearers, Chair, Deputy Chair, Finance Director and Company Secretary. Board members also sit on various working groups and hold other portfolios. All Board members volunteer their time and expertise.

Much of the Board’s work is done through committees and working groups comprised of parents representatives and at least one Board member. Working groups including:

  • Finance
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • MMS Foundation
  • Risk and Compliance

The Principal is the School’s Chief Executive Officer and responsible for the day-to-day management of the School, and is charged with implementing the Board’s Strategic Plan and effectively managing the School’s resources.

Neil Cook
MMS Board Chair
chair@mms.vic.edu.au

Meet Our MMS Board Members

Neil Cook, Board Chair

  • Qualifications: Graduate Diploma in Construction Management, in addition to various qualifications in change management, design thinking and operations management.
  • Experience: Neil brings to MMs over 25 years’ of experience in strategy and operations within the legal sector. He is currently working as the Global Legal Operations Director for Computershare, focusing improving the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the legal team across eight countries. Appointed as Board Char in 2021, Neil brings a vision for the future betterment of Melbourne Montessori School.
  • Connection to MMS: Neil is the father of two children at Melbourne Montessori; his daughter started in Cycle 1 in 2021 and his son is in Cycle 2. Neil shares: As someone who came up through a traditional education system, I saw the drawbacks of such a learning environment, and I was really drawn to how Montessori encourages a deep love of learning and self-led discovery. This is clearly something which is critical if our children are to maximise their potential in jobs of the future, as well having connection to and care for each other and country.

Court Haas, Finance Director

  • Qualifications: BBA (Finance and Accounting) and United States Certified Public Accountant
  • Experience: Court was appointed as an MMS Board Member in December 2020 and brings over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting. Currently, Court is part-time CFO of communications agency Think-HQ as well as an independent  CFO advisory consultant. Previously, Court has held senior finance roles with ASX listed businesses Vicinity Centres, Federation Centres and Centro Properties Group, as well as chartered accounting firm EY in both Australia and the United States.
  • Connection to MMS: Court has a daughter at Melbourne Montessori School in Cycle 2 and we look forward to welcoming his son to Cycle 1 in 2023.

Alice Champion, Company Secretary

  • Qualifications: BSocSci (Psychology), BArts (Honours), AMI Montessori 6-12 Orientation Certificate.
  • Experience: Alice was appointed as a Board director in May 2021 and currently works for the national representative body for Montessori education in Australia, MSCA. Prior to 2020, Alice was undertaking a PhD in Sociology before deciding to focus on fully supporting and progressing Montessori education. She has experience in qualitative research, administration, events, marketing and also as a university lecturer and tutor. Alice holds an AMI Montessori 6-12 Orientation Certificate and is currently completing a Graduate Diploma of Education (Montessori 6-12) part-time.
  • Connection to MMS: Alice is the mother of three children at Melbourne Montessori School; a son and a daughter in their first year of Cycle 2, and a daughter in her last year of Cycle 2. She shares: I remember first investigating Montessori education when my eldest daughter was one year old. I was so pleased to have found an approach that aligned with our family values and what my husband, James, and I understood about child development and psychology. Since 2015, my children have been attending Melbourne Montessori School; all three beginning in the parent-toddler group and progressing through Early Learners to Cycle 1 and Cycle 2. As the years have passed, my passion and advocacy for Montessori education has grown. Training as a sociologist helped me to understand and appreciate the methods by which Dr. Maria Montessori established her principles and practice. In 2017 I completed the AMI 6-12 Orientation Certificate and learnt so much more about the theory behind the Montessori methods. Although I already knew this was a form of education for a modern world, reading and engaging with the theory, and understanding more about the scientific methods involved, further reinforced the deep importance of Montessori education for our children, our community, and wider society.

Julian Isaacs, Board Member

  • Qualifications: B Business (Accounting) Swinburne University of Technology, CPA, Registered BAS Agent
  • Experience: Julian was appointed to the MMS Board in 2020 and contributes more than 25 years of experience working in SME’s as Head Accountant and / or Financial Controller across a broad subsection of industries with intrastate, interstate and overseas subsidiaries. For the last 11 years, Julian has run his own bookkeeping business helping a multitude of clients navigate their way through the pitfalls and successes of running a business. Julian has been involved in many committees and boards, mainly community based and NFP’s for over 35 years. Julian is currently also a director of the NFP charity Impact For Women.
  • Connection to MMS: Julian has a child currently completing Year 12 in our Senior School. I chose MMS for my child because it fitted their learning style and they also wished to complete the IB.  The community is one of warmth, friendliness and inclusiveness.  I would not have volunteered for a seat on the board if I didn’t feel it matched my personal values and I could do something to improve the schools future.

Pradeep Philip, Board Member

  • Qualifications: B Economics (Hons) University of Queensland, PhD (Economics)  University of Queensland
  • Experience: Pradeep is a Partner and Head of Deloitte Access Economics. Prior to this, he established his own boutique advisory firm, Ergo Consilium, following a long career in the public service. He has served as Director of Policy in the Prime Minister’s office, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria, CEO of LaunchVic, a company established by the Victorian Government to promote startups and entrepreneurship and Associate Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Queensland. He is a national Board member of the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and also serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Melbourne School of Government (University of Melbourne).
  • Connection to MMS: Pradeep has two children at Melbourne Montessori School, a son in Cycle 2 and a son in Cycle 3. Having many family members familiar with the Montessori philosophy, we chose to send our boys here knowing that the education they would get would ignite their natural curiosity for learning.

Emily Dacal, Board Member

  • Qualifications: BS Child Psychology with a Minor in Child Development (SDSU)
  • Experience: Emily was appointed a Director in May 2021 and has been an active parent/community member of Melbourne Montessori since 2008. In addition to having worked as an Educator at Forestville Montesorri (NSW), Emily founded the Northern Beaches Spanish School in Sydney (NSW) as well as serving as one of the original founding members of Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland California in the USA.
  • Connection to MMS: Emily has two children currently attending MMS in Cycles 2 and 5. Emily shares: my partner and I chose a Montessori education for our three children because our parenting style aligns with the Montessori philosophy. We believe and have experienced through our children that a Montessorian will be curious about their environment, humanity, community and each moment is an enjoyable learning opportunity that becomes a lifelong gift rather than an education that ends once the school day is done. We chose MMS for our children because from the moment we walked through those front gates, we felt excepted, understood and welcomed into the community.

Skye Tipler, Board Member

  • Experience: Skye founded Mkt. Communications in 2006 with a vision to create an agency underpinned by her guiding business principles – respect, collaboration and creativity. Skye is a highly accomplished marketing professional with broad experience gained in some of Melbourne’s most respected advertising, public relations and communications agencies. She is responsible for crafting and managing successful campaigns, delivering tangible results for many Australian and international brands. Skye has a unique approach to her work with an emphasis on strategy and creative ideas that deliver to a client’s broader business agenda. Intrinsically passionate about people and the planet, Mkt. Communications has grown and so has its relationships with like-minded organisations. A Certified B Corporation, Mkt. has worked closely with a number of engaging brands with social missions, such as Patagonia, TOMS, Australian Organic, Lord of The Fries, Miele, Bugaboo, GreenPan, Tourism Tasmania, Grace Papers as well as many other consumer and corporate brands. Mkt. Communications has won the B Corporation, Best for the World – Culture and People Award four years running and has also been awarded Best PR Employer in the Mumbrella Comms Con Awards.
  • Connection to MMS: I believe the conventional education system does not provide students what they need to grow into happy thriving adults. The Montessori approach addresses a greater need in our children and seeks to support the ‘whole human’ experience, providing valuable life tools and an approach to ‘being’ in the world that is more aligned with a life well lived. To that end, I would love to see more children have the opportunity to be educated in a Montessori system, creating happier, healthier and more resilient children to will in turn create a happier, healthier and more heart-centred world. In addition to this, my daughter attends MMS in Cycle 3 so I have a vested interest in supporting the school to be the very best it can be and a leader in Montessori and more broadly progressive education models.