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 Acting Principal, David Burton, 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 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 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 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.


I am an accredited business law specialist and registered trade mark attorney with around 20 years’ experience as a commercial lawyer in private practice.

Despite a traditional education, I was broadminded enough to marry a Woodleigh girl (Louise Mace, class of ’89) and am now fully converted, with three children growing up at Woodleigh.

An ‘Adventurous Mind’ looks beyond what is to what could be, has the vision and drive to explore those possibilities and is willing to experiment, learn and enjoy the journey.


Having worked in the property industry for around 30 years, I initially joined the Woodleigh School Board in 2011 to offer my skills in property development and project management as the school was about to embark on the development of a masterplan for the school and in particular the redevelopment of the Homesteads.

After working for several property development and management consulting companies for most of my career, I formed my own business at the beginning of 2016. 

I have a son who completed Year 12 at Woodleigh in 2015, a daughter who finished in 2017 and two further children at Senior Campus and Minimbah. We are a committed Woodleigh family who enjoys being a part of the community in various ways. As a Board member and father I feel proud to be involved in a school that develops its educational ideas in new and innovative ways.

An ‘Adventurous Mind’ finds new ways to tackle problems and find solutions, pushes the boundaries to explore different pathways and grows as a learner while doing so. They are not afraid to challenge normal conventions.


I am a Physiotherapist working for almost 30 years in the areas of adult neurology and disability. My work caseload includes varied and complex client programs, many of which are managed by large multi-disciplinary health teams.

My work is extremely fulfilling as it allows me to assist clients work towards their goals and reach their potentials.

My husband Brad and I have two children who have been extremely fortunate to attend Woodleigh since three year old ECC, with our eldest finishing year 12 last year (2018). A private school education was something we were aspiring to for our children’s secondary schooling, but after a tour of Minimbah we changed our minds and enrolled both children for ECC and primary at Woodleigh.

The association we have had with Woodleigh has lived up to all we could have hoped for and much, much more. Woodleigh is incredibly special to our family and is a place where the staff know and understand our children. It is a place where young people can work hard and stretch themselves in a supported and positive environment that provides individuals the self esteem and confidence to try new things, make mistakes and try again.

Woodleigh is a place of thinking outside the square, doing things differently, keeping people interested and inspired – the perfect place to nurture Adventurous Minds.

For our family, Woodleigh is not just a school, it has been a way of life. Being able to serve the Woodleigh community through my position on the Board is a huge honour and a way in which I can give back to this very special community.


I have worked in the Financial Markets for over 30 years in various roles including treasury management, systems implementations, project management and consulting and I now head up a Compliance team in one of the major banks. I have also been a director of a number of not for profit organisations across the Peninsula.

I have two boys who have thoroughly enjoyed the Woodleigh experience with one just completing VCE in 2020 and the other in 2021. There has never been a time during their period at Woodleigh where we have questioned: "Is this the right school?" There has only been thanks for having the privilege of being able to experience such a special school – from its environment, to its students, staff and community.

An Adventurous Mind is one of curiosity with awareness, flexibility and looking for opportunities. One that is  prepared to take risks and will answer with "When?" not "Why?"

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.