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The College Board comprises a team of dedicated professionals, including the current College Principal, responsible for the overall management of the College.

Dr Gerard Calnin BA, DipEd, MEd, DEd, FACEL, MACE, MAICD

Dr Calnin is currently a Scholar Practitioner at the Education University of Hong Kong’s Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change and, until recently, a Senior Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne. Dr Calnin is also the Asia Pacific representative for the International Baccalaureate’s Educator Certificates. His career in education has spanned more than 30 years and he has held leadership roles in the P-12 school sector, the tertiary sector and at the system level. From Head of School to a more recent role as Manager of the Catholic Leadership Centre, he has enjoyed local and international educational opportunities. Gerard was an International Research Associate with the National College of School Leadership in the UK and was a member of the International Baccalaureate’s global Professional Development Committee. Gerard has extensive experience in educational research with specialist interests in school leadership, professional learning and the integration of ICT into teaching and learning. He has published widely, internationally, on these areas and has presented at many conferences. He took over the role of Chair in mid-2016, succeeding Philip Field.


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). He held various positions over a 10-year period with Esanda, with the majority of time spent in motor vehicle and equipment finance. Richard then moved to HBOS, working with Capital in the motor division, before taking a Business Development Manager role at BMW Finance in 2006. After four successful years helping grow and enhance the Alphera brand for BMW, in February 2011 Richard was appointed Head of Alphera Financial Services.

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.

Mr Daryl Dixon

A Program Director within the IT sector for 30 years, Daryl has worked in the Government, Finance Sector, Transport and Logistic and Utilities industries. He has been focused on the delivery of business outcomes that reduce cost and risk, increase revenues and improve corporate performance through IT.  

Daryl has actively participated in the community, be that on school councils or advisory boards raising funds for improvements or infrastructure as well as providing leadership and governance oversight. He has three children, all currently at Billanook, and is a keen photographer and traveller. Daryl looks forward to continuing the great work of previous boards and board members in developing Billanook College to its full potential. 


Mr Roger Oates M Ed, BSc, Grad Dip Teach, MACE
Principal of Billanook College 2010

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 lead an already strong 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.


Professor Warren Bebbington 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.


Mr Peter Westley, BEng MIEAust MAIPM

Peter is married to Debra and they have two children: Jacob (class of 2011) and Karina (class of 2013). Peter holds a Degree in Computer Systems Engineering 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 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”.

Having been brought up in the Methodist and Uniting Church, Peter continues as a member of the North Ringwood Church and is active in their technology ministry. Peter’s interests include photography and cycling, regularly riding many of Victoria’s mountain peaks. 


Mr John Thwaites, Dip Gen Man Dip Pub Rel.

John has served on the Board at Billanook since 2012 and is extremely proud of the achievements of the Capital Development Plan to date. The Discovery, Mastery and the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre are wonderful examples of the Plan, providing students and teachers with state of the art facilities designed to inspire minds and foster creativity. 

John has had two sons attend Billanook; the youngest, currently completing his VCE. His professional background is in the media, having worked as a professional broadcaster and public speaker for well over 30 years in both Victoria and Tasmania. John is a committed Board Member who has a desire to build on the great work completed so far, as the College continues its journey, to improve life at Billanook in any way, for the benefit of current and future students. John firmly believes that the last five years have seen many changes, all designed to place Billanook College on a solid footing for the future, but that there is more work to be done.

“The College’s aim is to continue to provide a nurturing and safe environment where current and future students can reach their full potential and support one another every day, in the tradition of the Uniting Church.”


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.


Sylvia Guidara

Sylvia is an experienced educator who specialises in digital learning and development. In partnership with schools, teachers and tertiary institutions, her focus is on bridging the gap between theory and practice, materials and approaches to ensure the effective use of digital technologies. Working across Australia’s diverse education sector and internationally, Sylvia has assisted schools, faculties, education organisations and individuals to effectively respond to and participate in the digital learning paradigm. Sylvia has been at the cutting edge of digital learning since it first became a workable reality in Australian education. As a former classroom teacher and Faculty leader, she was one of Victoria’s first school-based online learning coordinators. She has also been responsible for driving online learning on behalf of an international youth, community and sustainability program. Her knowledge of educational practices, diverse learning environments, and pedagogy and learning theories has enabled her to explore and implement new approaches and opportunities for change. In addition to running a successful digital learning consultancy, Digimuve, Sylvia was a member of the Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneers advisory board and is currently a member of Life Education Victoria’s board.


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’s role in the latter saw a successful Initial Public Offer and subsequent rights issue, utilising her strengths in financial modelling and business management. Melissa is committed to her local community and has been the School Council President of her children’s primary school for a number of years. In this role she has been active in implementing programs to provide training, strategies and continual support for teachers of students with challenging behaviours so the school can operate more inclusively and effectively as a learning environment. Melissa is a parent of three children with two attending Billanook College in 2017. She sees the student focus of Billanook College as being well aligned with her view that each child should be given every opportunity to be the best they can.


Andrea Swinburne-Jones

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. After graduating with a journalism degree, Andrea headed to Japan, teaching English in Yokohama.  Years later she returned to Japan as a ‘Cultural Ambassadorial Scholar’ – on a Rotary International scholarship – and studied Japanese language and cultural formally in Osaka. Billanook College’s principles align with her family’s 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. Andrea and her son (Billanook College primary) are members 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.


Bree McAlhany, BA

Bree has enjoyed a varied business career in some of Australia’s most dynamic growth industries, and has held senior General Management and Sales/Marketing positions in high profile IT&T, gaming/leisure and insurance companies both locally and overseas. Her diverse background in a number of different industries has given her a broad range of experience. Bree’s professional career is characterised by a strong emphasis on practical, “hands-on” involvement spanning technical, commercial and marketing disciplines, with a focus on specialist professional electronic equipment and systems for various transactional markets.

Bree’s original love for the stage and theatre led her to a formal study of acting at LaTrobe University in 1995. After completing her course Bree produced a six episode comedy show that aired on Community TV in 1998. She has worked in commercial radio, and also produced a morning magazine show in country Victoria. Recently she continued to broaden her entrepreneurial skills worldwide with successful business operations in the USA, Asia and New Zealand.



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