The current Directors of the Canberra Montessori Society Board are:
Board of Directors
Jacqueline GellatlyBoard Chair - Member since 2012
Jacqueline currently works in the Federal Education Department on the subject of “Parent Engagement in Children’s Learning”. She feels she can particularly contribute to the section in the current CMS Strategic Plan that relates to parent engagement. Parent Engagement in Children’s Learning has recently been made one of the current Government’s four pillars of national education reform, in recognition of the great benefits it can make to a child’s learning outcomes. She would like to explore opportunities to bring this concept to life for both staff at the school and for parents so they can understand exactly what it means and what the benefits are for all, teachers, parents and most importantly our children. Jacqueline has served on the Communications and Bursary Committees of the Board and is now Board Chair.
Douglas AmarfioBoard Member since 2016
Douglas and his family have been part of the school since 2013. Douglas has a keen interest in supporting community, mentoring and educational groups. He has worked with many community arts programs for children and adults and toured over two decades as a national artist and educator. He has several formal tertiary qualifications in Visual Arts, New Media, Times Based Arts, Dance and Performance Art, Digital Media and Education. Douglas served as Board member for the Strathnairn Arts Association in 2014. He is currently a member of the National Aboriginal Indigenous Skills Development Association’s Board of Studies. Douglas has a keen interest in embracing diversity, positive change and collaboration. He is seeking to share his valuable skills and experience with the school community
Jodie BeitzelBoard Member since 2016
Jodie would very much like to contribute to the CMS community and bring the skills she’s gained through volunteering, work in the public secotr, in the private sector as a patent and trademark attorney, and her academic background in science to assist the CMS to achieve its strategic aims and troubleshoot any issues. She has experience as a co-Chair of the PM&C Women’s Network in 2015 and on the committee of her son’s ANU daycare. Jodie is keen help CMS run well financially and operationally, communicate more effectively, streamline policies and process and deliver on its strategic outcomes. Jodie believes that any community position is a gift to the person serving as much as it is to those being served. She feels being on the Board and serving the school will allow her to make further personal connections with other parents of the school and provide her with experience on a Board, which she is very interested in.
Mel BuswellBoard Member since 2017
Mel's children have attended a Montessori school since 2014 and feels every day has been a journey of discovery for their family. As an Air Force engineer she has had experience in project, strategic, contract and financial management and would like to be able to utilise that experience to help build the school, Montessori education and the community. She has enjoyed assisting with the Fundraising Committee and creating wonderful landscapes at the school working bees and she would like to be a part of ensuring CMS provides education to future generations.
Tony ButlerBoard Member since 2015
As an enthusiastic contributor to CMS over the past 3 years since arriving in Canberra, Tony joined the board and the finance committee in 2015, his first year was both challenging and richly rewarding journey in these roles. Jointly leading the organising committee for the School Fair in 2015 capped a very busy year. Tony is a Chartered Accountant and Project manager with experience in multiple industries and several charities. Tony is active as a mentor in the ACT Menslink community as well as coaching the Karri class rugby team.
Martin DrinkwaterBoard Member since 2017
Martin is currently the General Manager for the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. In this role, he manages the Faculty’s budget, undertakes monthly tracking against educational and financial targets and oversees strategic initiatives of academic and professional staff. Before taking up his current role he headed up the University’s Corporate Planning and Data Analytics unit for 15 months. He has a professional interest in the use of metrics as well as qualitative evaluation of educational performance. He offers a varied skill set to the Board, having worked previously as a lobbyist and public relations officer for the university sector, and as a workshop facilitator in a variety of educational contexts. He is passionate about promoting and advancing the value of education in transforming the lives of individuals as well as the self-directed model of learning provided for by Montessori.
Nemanja JovanovicBoard Member since 2017
Since his son started attending CMS, Nem has been impressed by the CMS approach, the teachers and the existing leadership team’s drive to improve every aspect of the school. He believes that the Montessori approach is very likely to produce successful, confident and socially intelligent young adults and would like to see more children educated in this way. Nem has a background in governance and leadership which will be helpful to the school in working towards its strategic goals. For the past six years, Nem has worked in strategic management roles and has been responsible for the implementation of governance at various levels in a private sector organisation, including business development, project plans, stakeholder management, risk, quality assurance and more. Much of his work has focused on optimal team structures and effectiveness and he has extensive experience with all aspects of service performance management. Nem also has experience in negotiation and management of contractors delivering services, both as part of the team delivering the service and as part of the organisation receiving the service. Perhaps most importantly, he is passionate, energetic and has the leadership skills necessary to create cohesive teams that strive for higher maturity and success levels.
Felix PirieBoard Member since 2017
Felix would like to contribute to further developing and setting the strategic agenda for the future of the school and feels the Board is an avenue suited to his skills and experience. He has first-hand experience of the important distinction between the strategic role of a Board of Directors and the work that is undertaken in operationalising the strategic direction of the Board. Both are vital and distinct contributions to our community and Felix would like to use his experiences and understanding of both to benefit CMS. Felix has skills and background in education policy, the design of regulatory systems in education, education quality assurance and a clear understanding of how the strategic development of organisations can deliver outcomes over time. Engagement with leaders and decision makers in the education policy sphere, in industry as well as across politics and public sector, is an area he is active in regularly and is able to bring those skills and experiences to the Board. As a person who works in a not-for-profit organisation and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Felix welcomes the opportunity to bring those skills and experiences to the CMS Board.
Nick SurawskiBoard Member since 2016
Nick is a sworn member of the Australian Federal Police with 13 years' experience in community policing and as a Federal Agent. Nick’s skill set includes inter-agency liaison, strategic planning and operational leadership, risk analysis and mitigation, governance and policy. Nick has substantial experience working as a member of small teams and has a good grasp of how to contribute positively to the outcomes of the team as a whole. Nick’s wife Cheryl is an employee of the school and as such he is aware that some of the matters discussed by the board will result in manageable conflicts of interest. Nick knows that he able to determine when this may occur and that he will actively avoid any problems arising. Most importantly, Nick has a vested interest in improving the educational and community outcomes of the school as Nick’s two children are students in Cycle 1 and 2, and he knows he can contribute actively.