Billanook is a thriving community of close to 850 children, catering for students from Early Learning to Year 12. Its long-term sustained growth has been made possible by strong leadership and a clear strategic vision for the College.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

Warren Bennis – Scholar & Author

The College’s Leadership framework consists of our:

  • College Board
  • College Leadership Team
  • Heads of Year Levels
  • Learning Area Leaders
  • Pastoral Care Team
  • Student Leaders – Primary, Middle and Senior School

The College Board

The College Board holds responsibility for the strategic vision and direction of the College, ensuring that the overarching frameworks guiding the College are effective. Our Board is selected on the basis of both experience and knowledge, with many members either current or past Billanook parents.

The Board is comprised of a team of dedicated professionals, including the current College Principal, who holds responsibility for the overall management of the College. Their commitment is to the long-term strategic vision of the College and its sustained success as a leader in independent education.


Professor Warren Bebbington

AM, MA(Queens, NY), MMus (Melb.), PhD (CUNY), HonFMusA

An award-winning presenter and renowned higher education consultant, Professor Bebbington is a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. During his prominent career he has served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Adelaide (2012 – 2018) and previously as Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. Professor Bebbington currently holds the position of Chair of Board at Amaze Inc. (Victoria’s peak autism body), and has written over 100 articles, books and conference papers. He has three sons, one of whom is currently attending Billanook College. He assumed the role of Chair in November 2019, succeeding Dr Gerard Calnin.

Vice Chair

Mr Richard Dicello

Richard is a past student of Billanook College, Class of 1993. Richard credits the College as being instrumental in assisting him gain his first position in the banking sector (Esanda, part of the ANZ Bank). Richard has gone on to work in senior executive roles at BMW Finance, as CEO at uFinance, Director roles at eBay Classified Group and has recently accepted a General Manager role at CarClarity.

Richard feels that the College has given him a great foundation for his working life and the fond memories of his time at Billanook were the motivating factors for Richard wanting to renew his involvement with the school. He is looking forward to working with Roger and the Board to help with the continued growth of the Billanook community.

Company Secretary/Treasurer

Ms Tammi Rose

BCom, MHRM, CPA, GAICD, Graduate Certificate Management, Diploma Project Management

Tammi is a Senior Government Executive and a passionate values-based leader with 25 years experience working across public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She brings an exceptional track record in delivering strong outcomes for organisations and communities.

Tammi is a strategic and results-oriented leader who enjoys forging enduring relationships with organisations, communities and stakeholders, and has a reputation for engagement, innovation and astute financial management.

An Accountant by trade, Tammi is a qualified CPA, holds a degree in Commerce and a Masters in Organisational Development, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Roger Oates

M Ed, BSc, Grad Dip Teach, MACE

Principal of Billanook College 2010- current.  Formerly, Mr Oates was Principal of Bishop Druitt College, an Anglican School on the north coast of NSW. Under his six years of leadership, Bishop Druitt College grew from 900 students to the current enrolment of 1200, making it the largest independent school in NSW outside Sydney. Prior to his appointment as Principal of Bishop Druitt College, Mr Oates was Deputy Headmaster and Senior Master at Girton Grammar School in Bendigo for a number of years. As an educator, Mr Oates has earned a reputation for his commitment to academic excellence, his focus upon developing well-rounded students and for his support and encouragement of all members of his school communities. He has a particular interest in the role that technology plays in education and has had oversight of this area in previous roles in independent schools. It is Mr Oates’ aim to continue to lead the Billanook team to live out the College’s mission in a dynamic and inspiring manner. The provision of a nurturing school learning environment that is dedicated to achieving individual excellence for Staff and students is of paramount importance to him.

Mr Peter Westley


Peter is married to Debra and they have two children: Jacob (class of 2011) and Karina (class of 2013). Peter holds a Degree in Electronics (Digital Systems and Computers) and a Diploma in Project Management. His background is predominantly in the technology and telecommunications sector but he has also worked in recruitment, technology commercialisation, R&D and manufacturing. Peter and his family spent three years living and working in northern California as part of a secondment with Agilent Technologies and in 2004 created a management consultancy firm to coach technology executives in leadership. In his current role, Peter is a senior manager in a technology solutions company based in Clayton. Peter spends much of his free time cycling, regularly riding many of Victoria’s mountain peaks. He also has a keen interest in photography and occasionally dabbles in the “Internet of Things”.

Mr John Thwaites

Dip Gen Man Dip Pub Rel.

John has been actively involved in the Billanook community since 2008, joining the Board at Billanook in 2012. John is extremely proud of the achievements of the Capital Development Plan. The Discovery, Mastery, Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and now the new Senior Learning Precinct are all wonderful examples of the benefits of our Master Plan. This will ensure that students and teachers have access to state of the art facilities, designed to inspire minds and foster creativity as our School approaches its 50th birthday in 2030.

John has had two sons attend Billanook; the youngest successfully completing his VCE in 2019. His professional background is in the media, having worked as a professional broadcaster, senior manager and public speaker for well over 30 years in Victoria and Tasmania.

John is a committed and diligent Board Member, who desires to build on the great work and many achievements already accomplished by the entire School community to date. The Board and College Leadership Team are totally focused on improving life at Billanook in any way possible, for the benefit of our current and future students and their families. There is much to look forward to at Billanook, as we approach the celebration of our 50th anniversary in 2030.

Mr Matt Wood

B.Sc, Grad DIP Ed, M.ed (Leadership)

Matthew, Class of 1993 joined the Billanook College Board in 2012 as a teacher, parent and past student. Having worked in education for over 20 years, he has experienced working in a number of states and in different systems and industries. Matthew spent several years working in the corporate sector for Origin Energy, leading the learning and development functions across the retail business. Although his teaching background is in Science; Matthew has a keen interest in ICT and the role it plays in promoting innovation. His hobbies outside of work include golf and basketball, as well as spending quality time with his family. Matthew is excited to be a member of the Billanook College Board, as well as a part of a wonderful community.

Ms Melissa Handbury

BCom, CA

Melissa is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in both private practice and the commercial sector. She started her career in the business services division of Ernst and Young and has been the Financial Controller of a NASDAQ listed Australian subsidiary and the Chief Financial Officer of a public unlisted company. Melissa is the Founder and Chair of Lyrebird College, an independent co-eduational specialist school for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has three children with two currently attending Billanook College. The student focus of Billanook College is aligned with her strong belief that each child should be given every opportunity to be the best they can.

Ms Andrea Swinburne-Jones

Bachelor of Arts (Double Major – Journalism/Economic & Social History)

Since 1999, Andrea has been working in a communications role for international relief, development and advocacy organisation, World Vision.

Andrea has been privileged to meet people from, and share the stories of, some of the most vulnerable communities across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Pacific.

Andrea’s work has focused on emergency communications in natural disasters and conflict, but has also looked at issues such as climate change that impact development work. Creating stories about humanitarian emergencies and development work, mentoring junior communications staff, and providing content for international and national journalists have been part of her work.

After graduating with a journalism degree, Andrea headed to Japan, teaching English to children in Yokohama. Years later, she returned as a ‘Cultural Ambassadorial Scholar’ via Rotary International, and formally studied Japanese language and cultural in Osaka.

Billanook College’s principles align with her values, and she believes the college’s association with Round Square is a plus for the school community. Andrea is passionate about students making the most of opportunities, strengthening their resilience, and contributing to community, locally and globally. She is a parent to a Billanook College secondary student.

Andrea is a member of a local karate dojo. Over the years Andrea has participated in beach and hardcourt volleyball, golf, netball, basketball and softball, and been a member of Toastmasters International.

Ms Rosemary Kennedy

Certificate of Nursing (Ireland), Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing (RMH), Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) (La Trobe University), Graduate Diploma in Adult Education (University of Melbourne)

Rosie Kennedy (Bachelor of Health Science, Grad Dip in Adult Ed) is an advocate for connecting individuals to their local communities and passionately believes in the importance of young people feeling valued both within their local community and their school. Rosie volunteered for 10 years on the Patch Primary School Garden team and has a strong focus on sustainability both in the environment and personally.

Rosie specialised in Intensive Care nursing and in Adult education at the University of Melbourne. Her professional leadership roles have encompassed all aspects of student nurse and specialty nurse education.

She participated at senior management level in a private hospital as it underwent an expansion to become a significant player in the southeast of Melbourne, ensuring staff educational needs were met. A significant part of her role was to ensure the hospitals she worked in met Industry Accreditation standards. Rosie developed a Graduate Nurse Program for 11 private hospitals. In addition, she served for nine years as a volunteer, facilitating Intensive Care educational seminars with the College of Australian Critical Care Nurses. She now is a strong advocate for enhancing patient and family experience whilst in hospital and is a member of the Eastern Health ICU patient experience group whilst working part time as a clinical nurse specialist.

Rosie brings a passion for maintaining connections with the school community, positivity about the future and using her leadership skills to influence others. As a parent of three Billanook students past and present, her passion for Billanook as a great school lies in gratitude for its approach to developing resourceful, problem solvers who are both resilient and optimistic and who can connect within the communities they choose to be a part of. This is education for the future while being focused on the present. Rosie’s strengths lie in her ability to think broadly and understand the big picture while appreciating the details. She has a deeply empathetic nature and considered approach using problem solving skills in dealing with difficult situations. Her enthusiasm and willingness to give back to her community will help her to stay motivated while serving on the College Board.

Ms Denise Charter

Denise is a long-standing member of Victoria Police, with over 30 years dedicated to the force. Over this time her role has included general duties, community liaison, rostering, event planning and resource allocation, as well as time spent investigating offences against children and vulnerable persons.

Denise’s son attends Billanook College and is currently in Middle School. She describes Billanook College as “a unique school in the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, offering an abundance of opportunities for students”. Denise has enjoyed seeing her son pursue a range of activities available to him while attending the School.

Her strong connection to the College is furthered by her role as President of the College’s Parent Association, the Friends of Billanook (2020-present).

In addition to her career and roles at the College, Denise enjoys dog training and playing netball, and is currently “re-learning” to ride a horse in order to accompany her son who is an avid horse rider. Denise looks forward to being more involved with the College through her work with the Friends of Billanook and her role on the College Board.

Ms Claire Lindsay-Johns

Bachelor of Law / Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice

Claire is currently a Senior Manager for a large not-for-profit organisation. She specialises in the area of financial inclusion and economic security for low-income families and individuals, with a special focus on women’s economic wellbeing. Claire has significant experience managing high level corporate and governmental partnerships and has a strong strategic focus on alleviating poverty through a robust systemic change agenda.

Prior to joining the NFP sector Claire worked at Victoria Police, managing the implementation of large scale legislative and operational reforms in family violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

She has a long history volunteering in the community legal sector, both as a paralegal and while completing her practical legal training. Claire is passionate about ensuring equitable access to legal and social services.

Claire has two young children, one of whom attends Junior Primary at Billanook and another who will attend in years to come. She is passionate about ensuring local families can access the exceptional opportunities Billanook offers, and continuing to build an inclusive, independent thinking and well-rounded educational experience that equips students for the changing world around them.

For further information about the College’s Vision- Towards 2030 click the link below

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