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.
- Christian Edwards – Chairperson
- Simon Richardson – Board Director
- Michael Adamo – Treasurer
- Neil Young – Secretary
- Claire Hickey
- Michael Bryant
- Aaron Tait
- Zoe Gameau
Teacher Consultants to the Board:
- Paddy Nash
Meet the Directors
Christian was born in Newcastle in 1971. His father was a pilot and his mother (originally a refugee from Czechoslovakia) a scientist. Christian and his two siblings were taken around the world with various Air Force postings, spending time in Malaysia and the USA, as well as up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia before settling in Canberra.
He spent 20 years as a lawyer including stints in London and Sydney. Toward the later part of his career Christian worked as a music lawyer and still has a keen interest in the music industry and mentoring and developing the next generation of artists.
Christian and his co-parent Imogen have three young daughters, Harriet, Audrey and Maeve. Having first moved to Byron in 2012 to start a family they moved to Coorabell where they are custodians of a patch of rainforest, a brood of escape artist chickens and their first child … Panda the dog. The family spent 6 months in France in 2018 to give the kids just a little taste of the international life experienced by their Dad, whose French is terrible.
A keen skateboarder for over 30 years, Christian can be found rolling around at the bottom of a concrete bowl clutching a knee or elbow. Since moving to Byron he has transitioned to surfing and his extremities are very thankful. He’s not that great, but assures you he would have made the WSL if he never moved from Newcastle.
Christian was introduced to the teachings of Rudolf Steiner by attending the Sol Circle at CBRSS and also takes spiritual guidance from Ekhart Tolle, Ram Dass and a Course in Miracles.
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.
Aaron and his wife Kaitlin, and their two boys have lived in Ewingsdale since 2018, and Aaron joined the board in 2021.
Aaron is a social entrepreneur who focuses his efforts on driving impact at scale. This has seen him co-found ygap.org, an impact accelerator organisation that has supported more than a million people to find a job, build a home, or access high quality education or healthcare across Africa, Asia and the Pacific. He is also the co-founder of the education professional development organisation Education Changemakers, which provides teacher training to more than 25,000 Australian educators each year. In 2022 this organisation merged with the technology company Go1, and Aaron leads the development and growth of a global online learning platform for the education sector. Go1 currently has millions of learners, and the goal is to reach a billion learners worldwide in the coming years. Aaron is the co-author of two education books; Edupreneur (Wiley) and Dream Team (ASCD) and is a keynote speaker at some of the world’s largest education conferences including ASCD (USA), Edutech (AUS) and Bett (UK).
He holds three master’s degrees including an MPhil from Cambridge (with research into scaling climate adaptation strategies in emerging markets), an MA from UNSW (in global strategy and policy) and an MA from Deakin (International and Community Development) as well as a BA in Economics and Management. Aaron is also an Australian military veteran with decorated service through United Nations missions in the middle east across a seven year career, and has led schools and community projects across East Africa.
Aaron is excited to engage at such a local level with the Cape Byron School, and loves applying his experience and insight to the remarkable ‘school down the road’ that is Cape Byron Steiner School.
Zoë Gameau joined the Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School Board in 2020 and committed to volunteering her time as she deeply values the education style Anthroposophy offers to the world and wanted to help strengthen this creative impulse in this school which her daughter attends on behalf of all the families and children there who love the work and spirit of Steiner Education.
Zoë works in the arts and entertainment industry as an actor, author and a creative coach for individuals and groups. She has a BA performing Arts from NIDA and has worked and off for two decades both behind the scenes as well as up front and centre in Film, Television and Theatre in Australia with almost all major networks as well as having been previously represented in America by William Morris Agency and Ilene Feldman whilst having a holding deal with CBS/Paramount. As an author, she has contributed to two books (That Sugar Book – Pan MacMillan, Women Of Letters – Penguin) and co-authored one, That Sugar Guide. In 2018 she completed her studies in Holistic Health Coaching ( Institute for Integrative Nutrition, New York) and was the recipient of The Leadership in Health Coaching Award for her year. Zoe’s interest is in themes of consciousness, myth, ritual and mysticism and their relationship to the living environment and human cultural evolution.
A global citizen, Zoë grew up in South East Asia and lived in six countries including for extended periods, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Timor, Myanmar and The Solomon Islands all prior to the age of 18. She is fluent in Indonesian. This experience opened her heart and mind to the intrinsic connection between wellbeing, human rights and environmental issues and the capacity for the Arts to influence change, shape ideas and inform culture through storytelling. It also inspired her to contribute to various charities as an ambassador/spokesperson including RUOK Day, The Wilderness Society, One Meal, The Alannah and Madeleine Foundation and The Mai Wiru Foundation.
Zoë lives and loves with her husband and their two young daughters in the beautiful Northern Rivers (Bundjalung Land) of NSW, Australia.
Claire and her partner Daniel moved to Bangalow 5 years ago when they found their dream home amongst the tree tops and beautiful village life. They have two young children and have recently entered into the school community.
Claire was lucky enough to receive a Rudolf Steiner Education where she went to Lorien Novalis in Sydney from Kindergarten, from this a true passion for Steiner education and a strong interest in Anthroposophy ignited, which she is constantly striving to deepen.
With extensive experience in business marketing and events as well as clothing design and manufacturing. Claire has taken some time off from the 9-5 to nurture her young children and follow her creative passion for ceramics and pottery. With an almost obsessive interest in nutrition and health, particularly the teachings of the WAPF, Claire can be found routinely at the farmers markets on a Saturday sourcing the best local produce she can find for her family and supporting local farmers.
By joining the board, Claire hopes that she can serve the school and community in any way by bringing her authentic and true Steiner School experience and passion.
2022 School Feesin From The Board
The CBRSS Board has met to set the School Fees for 2022.
The Board is aware of the need to keep fee increases to a reasonable level so that our rates remain manageable for our school community. With this in mind, tuition fees and charges will increase by 2.75% in 2022.
The RC&M levy will remain at $500 per family per annum. Families will still be able to complete the 20 hours of approved Repair, Care and Maintenance work to the school each year (per family) in lieu of paying the levy. Note that the levy is charged at the beginning of the year and credited to your account when the required number of hours are completed.
Registration and Enrolment Fees will remain unchanged from 2022. 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.
Our Finance Manager, Julia Fox, is happy to talk with any families experiencing short term financial difficulties. Please contact her to talk about possible support firstname.lastname@example.org
The Board feels the school continues to offer an excellent education at a fair cost. The fee increases for next year will allow the school to continue to provide a superb service for our children, to maintain our facilities and to provide capital and educational improvements.
An updated fee schedule for 2022 is available on our school website.
From The Boardin From The Board
A Message From The Boardin From The Board
Dear school community
Welcome back to campus – we hope everyone is enjoying reconnecting with the rhythm of regular school days and feeling safe and well.
As you may be aware, Nerrida resigned early in the year; this week staff have been able to have a celebration of Nerrida’s time at the school and to wish her farewell. Nerrida is now making preparations towards her next appointment in Papua New Guinea and we extend our grateful thanks for her careful leadership and for the strong position she has left the school in.
Please join us in thanking all the teachers and the entire CBRSS staff for acting responsively in transitioning to School-At-Home and in assisting students to switch to online learning so well, and so quickly. We are also appreciative of Teera and all the support and teaching staff for the preparations and additional work undertaken with transitioning us back to school on site in recent weeks – we know everyone has been working really hard behind the scenes.
From the Board’s perspective, given the atmosphere of change and uncertain times due to COVID-19, we have been focusing on the smooth transition of leadership, on ensuring the financial and future security of the school and on assisting to keep all our families at the school, as far as we can.
We are supportive and confident in our Acting Principal Teera Palmer, leading the staff and school community in working together to ensure the stability of the school in these unprecedented times and have made a decision to recommence the Principal recruitment process later in the year.
We, the Board, invite you to share in our vision for Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, of a strong, vibrant, collaborative, generous and respectful community; we hope you will join us in holding this vision.
Best wishes as we move out of isolation and warm regards from your Board of Directors
John, Christian, Salakesh, Toni, Jenny, Neil and Magdalena
From the CBRSS Boardin From The Board
The CBRSS Board is looking forward to 2020 and looking forward to working closely with school management in our role to govern the business and legal functions of the school. 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. For practical purposes, the day-to-day operation of the school is delegated to the Principal. We have a new fresh look this year, some new members and some shuffling of positions. We welcome John, Christian and Magdalena to the Board and say farewell and thank-you to Steve Heptonstall who has led us as Chair for the last few years.
At our AGM in May we will be seeking a new Treasurer, so if anyone within the school community has business or accounting experience and a desire to serve and contribute to the school’s wellbeing, please contact us (email one of us via reception or use the ‘contact the board’ section on the school website). Learn more about your Board of Directors here.
From The Boardin 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.
2020 School Feesin From the Admin Angels, From The Board
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.
From the Boardin From The Board
Reflecting Upon Some Deep Questions…in From The Board
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.