Woodleigh School is a company limited by guarantee. The Board of Directors of Woodleigh School comprises 5-12 members and is responsible for the governance of the School, while the Principal, who is appointed by the Board, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the School. The Board operates pursuant to the School’s current Constitution.

Following is an extract from the Woodleigh School Board Member - Position Description which explains the role of the Board:

The Board’s role is to govern the School and not to be involved in its day-to-day management. It is senior management’s role to manage the School in accordance with the strategic goals set by the Board and under its direction. The Board does not have a management function.

Without limiting the generality of the Board’s role, its principal functions in relation to the School are to:

  • Set goals and provide strategic direction;
  • Appoint the Principal;
  • Assist in determining policies governing the School’s operations;
  • Approve the annual budget and any long-term budgets;
  • Recommend to the Company’s Annual General Meeting the appointment of auditors;
  • Make decisions about the School’s capital works program;
  • Manage the School’s borrowings;
  • Ensure appropriate risk management strategies are in place and monitored;
  • Approve material expenditure outside the approved budget;
  • Review the performance of the Principal and the Board from time to time as appropriate;
  • Establish and oversee the powers and function of Board committees such as the Finance & Executive Committee, the Projects Control Group, and the Board Nominations Committee;
  • Ensure that Board member succession plans are in place;
  • Ensure controls and processes are in place to ensure compliance with relevant legal requirements;
  • Undertake diligent analysis of all proposals placed before the Board.

The Board’s Composition is skills based as outlined in the selection process document.

The Board meets approximately eight times per year for standard Board Meetings and each of these meetings is usually preceded about two weeks earlier by a meeting of the Finance & Executive Committee. The Board also holds at least one Board Conference each year to focus on more strategic or complex issues.

In May each year the Board holds an Annual General Meeting at which it reports on its operations for the previous year, including its audited annual financial accounts.

The current Chair of the Board is Dr Vanessa Gabriel. She is a paediatrician and current school parent with children at both Penbank and Woodleigh Campuses. Any members of the School community wishing to contact her about matters to do with policy, strategic directions, or other appropriate governance matters may do so via email:

Please note: all matters to do with the day-to-day operation of the School or management issues should be referred to the relevant senior staff member or ultimately to the Principal, David Baker, who can be contacted on – phone 5971 6100 or email

The Board does not involve itself in specific management issues (such as discipline, the details of curriculum, staff concerns, or the payment of fees).


Board Members

I served almost 20 years in the Australian Navy before working for companies such as Linfox and BHP Billiton, and since then have been consulting to a wide range of businesses in logistics, project management, strategic thinking and general problem-solving.

I have had close ties with Woodleigh, with Peta, my wife who is a past student and an active member of the PFG, as well as sending our three children to Woodleigh over the last ten years. I joined the Board just over a year ago and was motivated to join because our children have received so much from their time at Woodleigh that I wanted to give something back. I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity of serving the Woodleigh community and participating in the Board activities, and particularly looking forward to some of the exciting initiatives that the school is putting into place.

Curiosity and passion ignite the ‘Adventurous Mind’ to explore in areas previously undiscovered, enabling vigorous learning and growth.

I graduated from Woodleigh in 1981 and have very fond memories of my four years at the school. My Woodleigh experience helped shape my interests, my career and who I am today. I was a primary teacher in Australia for 5 years and then spent 25 years teaching, and as a school leader, in international schools around the world.

These schools all offered IB programmes so I am very familiar with these. I am now a part-time consultant leading Senior Leadership searches for international schools in Africa. It is an honour to return to Woodleigh as a Board member.

To me, an “Adventurous Mind”, is an open and interested outlook on life. It involves taking risks and being resilient.

I am a paediatrician who is passionate about equity in healthcare and providing access for all, to good paediatric care. I have three children at Woodleigh, two at the Senior campus and one at the Penbank campus. I have been involved with the school for the past 10 years, initially as part of the PFG and for the past six years at a Board level.

I am also a Board member with a philanthropic trust set up to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and homeless children, access educational opportunities. It is a great privilege to be involved at the Board level at Woodleigh and to Chair such a dynamic, cohesive and forward-thinking Board. Woodleigh is well placed to meet the challenges that our students face in the future. It embraces change which enables it to continue to be a leader in education.

An ‘Adventurous Mind’ is not afraid to stand out. It is a mind that is willing to take journeys, follow new paths, that are sometimes unchartered but always lead to discovery and possibility. It can swim against the tide and strive to achieve goals that at times seem unattainable. It is innovative, willing to explore, lateral thinking but above all is happy in its own skin.

I am a consultant specialising in providing corporate finance advice to the owners of substantial private businesses. In addition, I am an experienced executive and non-executive director across various industries including retail, property, media, financial, and children’s disability services.

My three children were destined for “traditional” private school education until my wife and I discovered Woodleigh and thought about how best to equip our two daughters and son with the values, energy and skills they will need for an exciting, but uncertain future. It is a pleasure to be involved with the passionate and skilled team on the Woodleigh Board as we manage the present, chart the way forward and continue to develop and deliver the best possible academic, social and experiential education for our children’s futures.

An ‘Adventurous Mind’ is energetic, not bounded by convention, courageous, strategic, passionate, analytical and collegiate. Change is not a threat, it is stimulating and an opportunity.

Melanie is the founder and CEO of the endota group and has since 2000, been instrumental in developing and leading all aspects of the business.

Melanie’s vision and passion was, and still is, to help people feel better, and in turn, live more fulfilled lives. The ethos of the endota brand was fueled by her personal belief in the power of connection. 20 years on, endota is an iconic Australian brand, with more than 100 day spas nationwide, over 2000 employees, 3 training campuses with 300 students per annum, distribution in overseas markets, manufacturing in Australia and New Zealand and online wellbeing platform.

The values Melanie built the business on were Intent, Connect, Truth and Balance.

Melanie believes in cause and effect and that there must be balance with nature and humanity within our own relationships. We need to connect with the community, with each other and importantly with our own needs.

As a recognised wellness entrepreneur, Melanie is regularly featured in print and broadcast media. Melanie’s profile in Australia and overseas has contributed greatly to the growth and success of the endota Group.

Melanie is a regular speaker and contributor to knowledge in the wellness industry and on heart-led leadership. Melanie holds board positions in numerous businesses in the wellness industry.

Melanie is a proud ex-Woodleigh student who holds the 3Rs close, her two boys are current students.

An ‘Adventurous Mind’ is a mind that questions everything and understands it can shape its own way in this world.

I am a commercially astute finance executive with a strong focus on continued growth and quality of purpose. Committed to contributing to a resilient community that strives to create the future we want to live. I'm never done learning.

An 'Adventurous Mind' loves learning and is not afraid to ask questions. Adventurous minds are innovative, dreaming new solutions for the future, with the agency to challenge conventional thinking and effect change.

I have 20 years experience in the People, Culture & Safety industry, with the past ten years in senior leadership positions across organisations with a strong public service and community impact. I have a daughter at the Senior Campus, and many friends who passionately describe the positive impact that their Woodleigh experience has had on them. I am proud to be part of a Board committed to supporting this exceptional school to continue delivering a holistic education and experience to help our young people thrive now and into the future.

An 'Adventurous Mind' describes someone willing to embrace all life throws at them. To be curious, to question the status quo, to try new things, to push their boundaries, to be brave enough to see what they are capable of. These are the people who inspire you when they succeed but just as much when they fail spectacularly and pick themselves up to give it another go.

I am a Sales & Marketing Professional with over 30 years of experience in Travel & Tourism. I took time out during the Pandemic to sidestep into the SaaS industry, which through my role in commercial partnerships, enabled me to gain a firm understanding of the importance of effective Governance. Lured back into Tourism, I now work with an organisation that facilitate immersion programmes, connecting people with Indigenous Australians on remote Homelands.

I am passionate about learning beyond the walls of a traditional classroom, likely sparked by the opportunity to embark on a 12-month exchange programme at a boarding school in Sri Lanka as a wide-eyed 15-year-old. Woodleigh was, therefore a natural choice for our two children, who are currently at the senior campus and enjoying the incredible array of opportunities that a Woodleigh education offers. I have a keen interest in community relations and am delighted for the opportunity to join the Woodleigh board.

An Adventurous Mind embraces challenge, is brave, curious, and open to new ways of thinking. They look left when everyone else is looking right.

I have operated and worked with commercial galleries for over 15 years, most recently in the non-profit sector as Gallery Director, supporting an art gallery to get off the ground in Healesville. Throughout my years running numerous galleries, I have worked on exhibitions across various creative industries and as a producer and a mentor for festivals independently from gallery institutions.

I've worked with local councils and communities to begin and build art initiatives where I was Advisor to many public art programs in Melbourne and cities in Australia. School is a privilege. As my father would say, no one can take education from you, and as a father of three boys who go to Woodleigh, the School imbues a culture and ethos I wish all children could experience.

To me, having an Adventurous Mind is to know yourself, to challenge the ordinary and to pursue exactly what you want.  

Selection Process

​The Nominations Committee of the Board is responsible for making recommendations to the Board regarding new members. The Committee makes recommendations based on skills criteria, having regard to gender balance and current vacancies.

The Board welcomes expressions of interest on an ongoing basis from interested and suitably qualified people from within the Woodleigh community and from the wider community. Expressions of interest will be added to the pool of potential candidates for the Board to consider when vacancies become available.

The Board is open to expressions of interest from people with governance experience and competencies in one or more of the following areas

  • Governance, compliance and legal
  • Organisational development and culture
  • Finance, accounting and risk management
  • Property and development
  • Brand and marketing
  • Education
  • Strategy and business development
  • Information technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability

All Board members must declare conflicts of interest. No Board member receives any remuneration or reimbursement of expenses in their role as a Board member. All positions are voluntary. Woodleigh is an unlisted public charitable company limited by guarantee and administered by ASIC and the ACNC. Directors of Woodleigh are subject to the same obligations as directors of public companies, including obligations of confidentiality and good faith.

Board members ensure good governance of the school, oversee strategic direction, ensure compliance, set the budget and must maintain confidentiality. The Board members must understand the separation of governance and management.

Board meetings are held approximately 8 times a year and the Finance and Executive Committee meet an additional 8-10 times a year. Nominations and Project Control Committee meet when required. Board members are elected for a 3 year term.

Expressions of interest can be forwarded to

Please include your connection to Woodleigh, employment history, any previous director or governance roles, your skill set and your CV.

Source of Obligation

The Minimum Standards for registration of schools require that the programs and teaching at Woodleigh School must support and promote the principles and practice of Australian democracy.

These include a commitment to:

  • elected government;
  • the rule of law;
  • equal rights for all before the law;
  • freedom of religion;
  • freedom of speech and association; and
  • the values of openness and tolerance.
As stated in the Standards, the requirements of the above commitment are not intended to affect the rights accorded to, or the compliance with any obligation imposed on, the School under a law of the State or of the Commonwealth.

Statement of Democratic Principles

Woodleigh School is committed to the principles of a liberal democracy.​

  • We believe in an accountable, democratically elected government
  • We respect and observe the rule of law, and believe that no person is above the law
  • We believe in equal rights for all before the law, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, or other attributes
  • We believe in the freedom of religion and the need to practice tolerance and understanding others’ beliefs
  • We believe in the value of freedom of speech and freedom of association. We also acknowledge that we have the responsibility not to abuse this freedom
  • We believe in the values of openness and tolerance. We value and respect all Woodleigh School community members regardless of background.

This Statement of Democratic Principles is communicated to all staff, students, parents and guardians, and the wider Woodleigh School community.