Board of Directors

Introduction to the School Board

The School Board is empowered by the constitution to govern the business and legal functions of the School.  For practical purposes, the day-to-day operation of the School is delegated to the Principal.  Some of the matters considered by the Board include setting fees and charges, fee collection, fee relief, formulating short and medium term budgets, building and maintenance projects, formulating policies and practices and other governance issues.

The Board consists of between 6 and 8 Directors.  3-4 Directors are elected by the Membership of the Association and 2-4 Directors are appointed by the Board. The Principal attends all Board meetings as an ex-officio member and there are 2 Teacher Consultants to the Board, elected annually by the College of Teachers.

Current Directors:

  • Steve Heptonstall – Chairperson
  • Salakesh Ananda – Treasurer
  • Jenny Henderson – Secretary
  • Toni Appleton
  • Neil Young
  • Christian Edwards

Teacher Consultants to the Board:

  • Teera Palmer
  • Rachel Holt

From The Board

Hello. My name is Neil Young, I’m an active parent at the school – I have daughters in Class 1 and Class 4 at CBRSS – and I’m a member of the CBRSS Board. As well as introducing myself, I wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light on a part of the school that gets little recognition and give some praise and thanks to those that don’t often receive it.

As parents, it’s easy to make assumptions and become judgemental about the school, as we only see the external day-to-day workings and front-line interactions with teachers and staff. But being a member of the Board has given me a fascinating insight into how our school is run. As you might imagine, in today’s world, there are a lot of policies, procedures, regulations, accreditation and other compliance issues that need to be completed in order to keep our school running – particularly as an independent school.

You may not know, but recently our school had to apply for ‘accreditation’ (NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registration and Accreditation). This is required every 5 years to meet quality standards and is essentially a licence to operate – it directly links to continuing funding for the school. Accreditation allows our students to take RoSA and the Higher School Certificate (RoSA is the record of student achievement in years 7-10).

Nerrida – our Principal, the Leadership Team, teachers and the Admin Staff started work on preparations for Registration and Accreditation back in Term 4 of 2018. This included attending Association of Independent School (AIS) briefings on current Registration requirements and updating policies to meet new standards. It’s a big deal! Changes to the NSW Syllabus throughout the year leading up to Registration also made the task more complicated. This included integration of the new Science & Technology Syllabus with our Steiner curriculum. As you can imagine the National Steiner Curriculum takes a different approach in some areas, to that of the NSW Syllabus, particularly around the use of technology in years K-6, and it’s no easy thing to demonstrate that we meet the required ‘digital’ outcomes through a largely ‘unplugged’ approach.

In August, NESA inspected our school, finding that we are fully compliant in all areas and we have been notified that the school has received full registration and accreditation for the next 5 years.

I think our leadership team, particularly Nerrida, Teera, Rachel Knight and Katie, and all our rarely appreciated Admin Staff deserve praise and thanks from all of us for this dedicated work. They do not often have the light shone on them, especially for something that’s so positive, that all of our children will benefit from for years to come.

I hope this short insight into some of the background work that goes on at the school, helps you, like me, better understand and appreciate the work that our School Management and Admin Staff do. I know it’s sometimes easier to find fault than give praise, but I hope, like me, considering all the things going on in today’s complicated world and ever-changing education environment we can agree there’s a lot we are doing very well. And now with our renewed NESA Registration we can all continue to contribute to growing and supporting a great school community. See you around the school.

Neil Young

2020 School Fees

The School Board has met to set the School Fees for 2020.

The Board is cognisant of the need to keep fee increases to a reasonable level so that our rates remain manageable for our school community whilst also maintaining a level of income which will allow us to meet our costs and continue to provide a high-quality education. With this in mind, tuition fees and charges will increase by 4% in 2020. This is in keeping with other independent schools in our area.

The RC&M levy will increase to $500 per family per annum. Families will still be able to complete hours of approved Repair, Care and Maintenance work to the school each year (per family) in lieu of paying the levy, in 2020 this will be 20 hours per family. Note that the levy is charged at the beginning of the year and credited to your account once the required number of hours are completed.

Registration and Enrolment Fees will remain unchanged from 2019. Registration to enrol fees are $110 for the first child and $55 for each sibling. Enrolment fees are $550 for the first child and $200 for siblings.

Ensemble fees will increase slightly to $300 per year.

The Community Fee Assistance Program (CFAF) will remain in place for families experiencing short term financial difficulties and our Finance Manager Julia is happy to talk with any families who are experiencing need.

The Board feels the school continues to offer an excellent education which is good value for money. We feel the fee increases for next year will adequately allow the school to continue to provide a wonderful service for our children and allow the School to maintain our facilities and provide capital and educational improvements as part of our Master Plan.

An updated fee schedule for 2020 will be available on our school website next week.

Steve Heptonstall

From the Board

Toni Appleton

The Board – Who Are We?

It was with great honour that I was elected as Chair of the Board in May of this year. To follow in the shoes of a dear friend James Dods, who did such a tremendous job serving the school over many years to create such a solid foundation from which to build has made the transition easy.

At the same time we have been fortunate to gain the services of a number of fantastic new board members who have provided great enthusiasm and energy to review the strategy and direction of the school as we move into this next phase.

As a school we are already blessed to have such dedicated committed teachers and support staff that truly see their roles as guardians and guides of our youth.

Few of you will know me as I am not one of the many parents who congregate to pick up our children at the end of the day. Whilst I live in Ewingsdale, my 2 kids attend Shearwater Steiner having started there whilst being on the ‘wait list for Cape Byron’.

As some background, I grew up in Sydney and worked as a Corporate lawyer and in the area of Leadership Development for many years, until I met my beautiful artist/author wife Jennifer Black, a long term Byron Bay resident, some 14 years ago. I soon moved to Byron with the birth of our 1st child. After some 5 years of being here we had the incredible opportunity to live and work in Mongolia for a few years, and returned back to Byron after a stint in California some 3 years ago.

To be part of such a wonderful community and to really appreciate the gifts a Steiner based education can provide our youth by instilling a sense of self belief, connection, community and curiosity, is such a relief and joy to me as they set forth on their own journey into a world which at times seems to have lost its heart and soul.

I hope to have the opportunity to meet many of you over the coming years.

Steve Heptonstall

For more information about the School’s Board please visit our website here

Reflecting Upon Some Deep Questions…

By Salakesh Ananda

I was the precocious child relentlessly asking deep questions about reality. Questions like who am I? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life…to name a few. Today, as a school board member, I continue to ask deep questions. How can we further empower the mission of the school? How can we cultivate dynamic working relationships with all stakeholders? How do we envision the school of the future? How do we pro-actively prepare the school to meet challenges? How do we create the most loving conscious school for everyone involved?

Ursula LeGuin once wrote, “There are no right answers to wrong questions.”, implying that there are such things as right answers if your questions are the right ones to ask. Hence, the task appears to be finding the right questions to ask and then unearthing the right answers. Thus, a journey begins. Namely, to ascertain if the board’s questions are the right questions and then to seek the right answers.

The journey has much support along the way such as listening to others you meet along the same path. Finding inspirational publications from pioneers within the contemporary Waldorf movement who are asking similar questions and are possibly exploring if their questions are the right ones to be asking. And, of course, sitting alone with the questions in contemplative silence; remaining present for the inevitable spark of intuition to manifest.

I agree with the playwright Eugene Ionesco who once said, “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question…”. The journey to find answers to enlightening questions is further enriched by the opportunity to work with a school board comprised of parents and professionals dedicated to the school and its children. Men and women who carry the passion to ensure we are asking the right questions and to discover, through enlightening questions, the associative right answers collaboratively.

One thing is for certain, hindsight will reveal whether we did ask the right questions and if we found the right answers or if the questions we carried forth were not the right ones to ask. Maybe we might never find the “right” answers to the “right” questions. But I do believe, through our passion as a community, we will find the “best” answers for the “most important” questions. Answers that will guide how best to govern the school in the tomorrows to assure that all our children can receive an education that best serves them for a tomorrow world. An education that inspires our children to think and discover the right questions for their lives and through courage, creativity and resilience find the right answers.

I am excited about our school and its potentials. I am enthusiastic about the opportunities to fortify the school’s noble qualities and to strengthen other potential contributors of excellence within the school not yet fully realized. I am honoured to be on this journey with you, the reader, and everyone else who is part of our community. We, as a board, are dedicated to creating merit through governance for the highest good of all. We are committed to the implementation of answers we feel best address the deep questions we ask of ourselves. We invite everyone to join us in carrying a positive intention for our school and school family. Collectively, as a community, we can emanate a quality of togetherness, cooperation and unity. This, I believe, is the right answer.

Meet the Directors

Steve Heptonstall

Board Director – Chairperson

Steve was born in 1964 in Coffs Harbour, however spent much of his childhood and early professional life growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

He has been a board elected member since 2016.  Steve was first invited on the board for his legal skills, however he also has a background in leadership development, coaching, risk management and mediation which has also been valuable in his role on the board.

Steve, his wife Jen and 2 boys lives in Ewingsdale, and first moved to Byron Bay 13 years ago, however since that time have also spent time living in Sydney, Mongolia and San Francisco. He and his family moved back to Byron at the beginning of 2016, and his 2 children attend Shearwater Steiner School (grade 4 and Grade 7).  Whilst he would like to bring the kids closer to home to Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner, his kids have settled themselves into Shearwater and wish to continue their schooling there.

Steve currently mixes his professional life as a Lawyer, Corporate Consultant, and Leadership Specialist between Sydney and Byron, and sees his role on the board as a way to stay connected and contribute to the community in a way which benefits our kids. Steve is a relatively recent convert to the philosophy of Steiner education, and wishes he was given the same opportunity as a child himself.

Steve is a keen swimmer, and a little mad having recently swum out and back to Julian Rocks.

Salakesh Ananda

Board Director – Treasurer

Salakesh and his wife Shalayheem are an international family hailing from the USA and South Africa. After meeting at a meditation retreat at Uluru, they have made Australia their home. They have two generations of children and moved to Byron to immerse themselves within a community that share their values including having their youngest child attend Cape Byron Steiner.

Salakesh is currently a philosopher holding a Doctor of Philosophy in Metaphysics and is a professional counsellor. He has an MBA with over 30 years of executive business experience within a global framework and has been a past Professor of Strategic Management and Policy.

Together, he and his wife, a psychologist, maintain private practices whilst they are developing a soul evolution program of expanding love consciousness.

Salakesh has served on the board since 2017. In his view, he bridges pragmatism and spirituality through a proactive vision of the school. He envelops all stakeholders within a three-folding context and supports the notion of the evolution of consciousness through the encouragement of the student’s self-expression, creativity and imagination. He carries an energetic intention for what the school community can become and embraces the school’s vision and mission to set the path we journey upon together. He believes it is a privilege and an honour to serve our community in this way.

In his spare time, Salakesh thoroughly enjoys reading philosophy and anthroposophy. He loves music, mountains, meditating, traveling and pondering deep questions.

Jen Henderson

Board Director – Secretary

Jen was born in 1972 in Sydney and moved to Newcastle in the 1990’s to train and work as a Dietitian and Medical Herbalist. Over time, life took her into the realm of Personal Development and she is currently training to be a Counsellor.

She has 2 boys with husband Iain, Caelan (class 5) and Ewan (class 3). Jen has been an active member in the Steiner Community since the early days of playgroup and loves to immerse herself in community and support the school and others where she can. After serving as Periwinkle Secretary and CBRSS class and spring fair co-ordinators, she joined the CBRSS Board in November 2017.

Jen served as a director on the Board of her family’s company from 2012 until 2017 and was secretary for 2 of these years. Here she gained the invaluable skills of working in a team, good public relation skills and transparency. She is committed to supporting the development and direction of CBRSS and is excited to be part of a wonderful, enthusiastic governance team where trust, integrity and respect are paramount.

Jen loves all sports and is especially fond of skiing, surfing and tennis, despite a few injuries along the way. She has played the piano her whole life and has recently started guitar lessons in order to keep up with her children!

Above all, Jen is most grateful to be mother and live a Spiritual life which is supported by Steiner Education and the wonderful group of people in her community.

“Receive our children in reverence, educate them in love, let them go forth in freedom” Rudolf Steiner

Toni Appleton

Board Director

Toni attended her first board meeting in February 2016, but her association with the school began in 1987 when she was invited by the founding parents to assist with the planning of the new campus and the design of the buildings.

Over the next twenty-five years Toni continued to prepare documentation for all the building projects, culminating in 2010/12 when, as an associate of the design team ‘Social Habitat’, she saw her long held dream to design a theatre attach itself to the verandah at the tutorial block.  She had worked in theatre, film and television as a designer for ten years after three years studying Architecture from 1966 to 1968.

Toni has known and worked with every person who has held the role of bursar, administrator or principal at the school.  She is also still recognized by some of the original students, despite having aged quite dramatically over the last thirty years.

Toni has two daughters, Emilia, a primary school teacher, and Romany, who manages a pre-training barn on a thoroughbred stud and makes prizewinning short films on the side.  Mim’s daughter Lottie is nearly two and a half and brings delight into her Nonni’s life every day.

Toni has read Rudolf Steiner’s writings on the child and agriculture.  She has lived at Goonengerry for forty years, restoring habitat and working with horses every day.

She brings to the Board the whole development history of the school and an absolute commitment to continue to act in the best interests of the whole school community.

Neil Young

Board Director

Neil was born in London and lived in Scandinavia before moving to Sydney in 1988. He has been living in Byron Shire since 1997 and is now living just outside Mullumbimby with his partner Mette, daughters Zoe and Billie, who both attend the school, and Molly the dog.

Neil was instrumental in the set-up and early management of The Uncle Project – the community organization that mentors boys in need of positive male role models – initially as an uncle, then an employee and eventually a board member. He has also recently been President of Lilly Pilly Community Pre-School and is happy to use this experience now with Cape Byron Steiner School.

Neil is a trained actor and has recently appeared in children’s shows for NORPA – but like many actors he spends most of his time doing something else. He wrote a book about Fatherhood when his entire six-a-side football team became pregnant (One Got Past The Keeper) which he pitched at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and was published and launched the following year. He is currently writing a children’s book while he runs his own business in visual communications doing information design for international management consulting companies in Europe and Australia.

Neil is committed to the development and direction of the school and particularly enjoys being part of the school community at RCM days, P&F meetings, and study groups.

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