Senior Leadership Team
Mr Andrew Neal
Qualifications: B. Arts (Hons), M. Ed (PoL & Admin), M. Ed, M. Ed (RE), Grad. Dip. (Theology), Grad. Dip. (Learning & Teaching), Adv. Dip. (Local History), Grad. Cert. (Mental Health), FRGS, FRSA.
Mr Neal grew up mostly in the then semi–rural area between Frankston and Cranbourne, attended Haileybury College and commenced his tertiary studies at Melbourne University in 1978.
He began his working career in 1983 in the first cohort of graduate trainees in the Victorian Public Service and later worked in policy development related to health and water.
Mr Neal started teaching in 1988 when he gained a position at Trinity Grammar, Kew. Over the next 10 years he taught Geography and Religious Education and held a number of administrative positions. He spent his last few years at Trinity as Director of Curriculum and as a member of the School Executive during a period of considerable change and development at the school.
In 1998, Mr Neal was appointed Principal of Bacchus Marsh Grammar, a position he has held since. Under his leadership, he has seen the School grow from just 300 students from a limited catchment to one with three campuses serving 2300 students from across western Melbourne.
Mr Neal has formal qualifications from Melbourne, Monash, and the Australian Catholic universities, and the University of Divinity and Oxford.
He is member of the Board of the Victorian Ecumenical System of Schools and, as its treasurer, he deals with significant Government funding distributed to 15 schools. Additionally, Mr Neal has served on a number of Boards in the welfare and education sectors including time as Chairperson. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Geographical Society.
With a shared passion for life-long learning, Mr Neal’s wife Phillippa is a teacher of French and History at a Geelong school. The couple has two adult daughters, Stephanie and Antonia, who both attended Bacchus Marsh Grammar for their primary and secondary education. The Neals live in Bacchus Marsh with Polly the cat and Pepper the dog.
Mr Kevin Richardson
EXECUTIVE DEPUTY PRINCIPAL
Qualifications: Dip. Teaching (Technology), Grad. Dip. (Mathematics Education)
After completing a trade apprenticeship, Mr Richardson completed his Certificate and Diploma of Teaching Technology at Hawthorn Institute of Education, an affiliate of The University of Melbourne. He began teaching at Portland Technical School in 1988 and was Year Level Coordinator for two years before moving to Melbourne.
Mr Richardson joined the teaching staff at Keilor Downs Secondary College in 1991, completing a Graduate Diploma of Mathematical Education. He was Interschool Sports Coordinator at Keilor Downs before moving to Taylors Lakes Secondary College in 1997 as Learning Area Coordinator – Technology Studies.
At the beginning of 1999, Mr Richardson commenced at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, teaching Mathematics to years 7 through to 12. In 2000, he was appointed Deputy Principal, Head of the Senior School. He held this position until the beginning of 2018 when the role has changed to Senior Deputy Principal, Head of School Operations Prep to Year 12 at the Maddingley Campus.
Mr Richardson’s son, Cameron, attended Bacchus Marsh Grammar, commencing in the 2003 Prep Reception class. Cameron thoroughly enjoyed his time at our School, taking advantage of the many wonderful opportunities the offered, including studies in Music, Science and Mathematics. As School Captain, Cameron graduated in 2016. He is currently undertaking studies for a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.
Mr Bruce Simons
ASSOCIATE TO THE PRINCIPAL
Qualifications: B. Ed, M. Ed Admin & Policy GAICD
Mr Bruce Simons formally joins the Bacchus Marsh Grammar staff in the role of Associate to the Principal. Mr Simons has varied experience in educational leadership roles including over 18 years as Principal of The Hamilton and Alexandra College and, more recently, as Headmaster of the Australian International School, Hong Kong. He has also held corporate leadership positions of Senior Education Consultant and CEO.
Mr Simons’ role is to support the Principal and staff in matters associated with educational leadership, strategic direction, management and change.
Mr Simons has served on the Boards and Executive of Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), Associated Heads of Independent Schools Australia (AHISA, Victorian Branch) and the Victorian Ecumenical Schools System VESS, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
He is married and has two adult children.
Mrs Debra Ogston
HEAD OF MADDINGLEY CAMPUS
Qualifications: B. Ed. (Physical Ed., Outdoor Ed., Mathematics)
Mrs Ogston began her secondary school teaching career more than 20 years ago after graduating from the University of South Australia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree of Education in Physical Education, Outdoor Education and Mathematics.
Having taught in both the State system in country Victoria and the Independent system interstate, Mrs Ogston joined Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 2002. During her time at our School she has held the positions of Coordinator of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, Year Level Coordinator (Year 9), Assistant Director of Physical Education and Sport and Assistant Principal, Pastoral Care and Student Management.
Mrs Rosalind Pittard
DEPUTY PRINCIPAL – STUDENT SUPPORT
Qualifications: B. Ed. (Visual Arts), Post Grad. Dip. Ed. Studies (Student Welfare), Grad. Cert. (Mental Health), Grad. Dip. Ed. (Primary)
Mrs Pittard brings a depth of experience and skills to the position of Deputy Principal. Since beginning her teaching career in 1996, she has taught in both the Independent and Catholic school sectors.
Mrs Pittard has held leadership roles in student welfare and management. She has been Year Level Coordinator at years one, seven, eight and nine and worked extensively on the development of Pastoral Care curriculum and programs.
At Bacchus Marsh Grammar, Ms Pittard has taught in the Junior, Middle and Senior schools, sharing her expertise in Visual Arts and Technology, as well as being a Junior School classroom teacher. She also has several years of experience as a school counsellor, working with individual students in need of specific support.
Mrs Pittard has a Bachelor of Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Studies (Student Welfare) from the University of Melbourne. To further enrich her skills and understanding of learners, she has also completed a Certificate in Mental Health for Teaching Professions at Monash University. Additional study to attain a Graduate Diploma of Education (Primary) from Federation University offered the opportunity to develop an even deeper understanding of the learner through their entire school journey.
Mrs Pittard believes that each student must feel valued and connected to their school community in order to become a confident, successful learner.
Mrs Emma Kannar
DEPUTY PRINCIPAL, TEACHING AND LEARNING
Qualifications: B. Art (Linguistics/French) and MA Teaching.
Mrs Kannar has a rich career experience, working in both the Australian Defence Force and in the financial services industry, before transitioning to teaching via the Teach For Australia Program.
Mrs Kannar completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of New England, majoring in Linguistics and French, and graduating a Vice-Chancellor Scholar in recognition of outstanding academic achievement. She then completed a Masters of Teaching at Deakin University, graduating as Dux of this course and recipient of the Deakin University Award.
New to Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 2021, Mrs Kannar joins us from the State education system where she was most recently the Assistant Principal of Excellence and Equity at Truganina College. She believes strongly in encouraging all students to achieve their full potential, so that they can live fulfilling and happy lives, and be active and positive members of society.
Currently, Mrs Kannar is the Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning. In this position, her focus is on fostering a culture of continuous improvement in teaching and learning across the School, ensuring that Bacchus Marsh Grammar continues to be a school where all students attain academic excellence.
Mrs Danielle Copeman
HEAD OF WOODLEA CAMPUS
Mrs Copeman completed her Bachelor of Education degree at Victoria University in 1999, majoring in Outdoor Education and Health.
The majority of Mrs Copeman’s career has been with the Department of Education and Training, where she has taught and held numerous leadership positions. Mrs Copeman first became an Assistant Principal in 2008 in a large Primary school. She has lead different Sub School areas as well as Curriculum areas.
Mrs Copeman joined Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 2018, where she has been appointed Head of Woodlea – Teaching and Learning. This position encompasses her belief in all students can achieve success and all students need to experience some level of challenge to reach success and achievement.
The growth of students will be an ongoing focus of Mrs Copeman’s work in all areas of the Curriculum.
Mrs Copeman’s children attend Bacchus Marsh Grammar, testimony to her beliefs in the school’s structures, policies and opportunities offered.
Mrs Sarah Hunter
-DEPUTY HEAD OF WOODLEA CAMPUS &
-HEAD OF MIDDLE SCHOOLING
Qualifications: B. Arts (Journalism) Dip. Ed. (English & Media Studies) M. Ed
Mrs Sarah Hunter studied a Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University majoring in Journalism and Literature. She then completed a Diploma of Education at Melbourne University qualifying as a secondary school teacher in the disciplines of English and Media Studies. After teaching for many years, Mrs Hunter completed a Masters in Education at Federation University. This degree focussed upon educational coaching and gifted and talented students. Mrs Hunter has also undertaken additional studies in Philosophy and Theology.
Mrs Hunter has enjoyed many varying roles at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, from tutor teacher, classroom teacher of English, Philosophy and Ethics, Year Level Coordinator for both Years 7 and 8, Assistant Head of the English Department, Head of Welfare and most recently, Director of Service Leadership.
Currently Mrs Hunter is Deputy Principal – Deputy Head of Woodlea Campus. In this capacity, her focus is the development of the Middle School and the preparedness of students for senior schooling. Mrs Hunter is also continuing her work on the development of the service leadership ethos; the preferred leadership philosophy of Bacchus Marsh Grammar.
Mrs Hunter’s children attend Bacchus Marsh Grammar, testimony to her belief in the school and its motto of Education for Life.
Mrs Jan Anderson
Qualifications: B. Ed. (Primary – Physical Ed., Australian History)
Mrs Anderson completed her Bachelor of Education degree at Deakin University, majoring in Physical Education with a minor in Australian History.
Since commencing at Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 1990, Mrs Anderson has taught across a wide range of year levels from grades 3 to 6 and has also been a specialist Physical Education teacher.
In 2003 she became Coordinator of grades 5 and 6, a position she held for a number of years.
Mrs Anderson has been an Assistant Principal for four years and was made Child Safety Officer in 2016.
Mr Justin Cooper
Qualifications: B.Sc (St.A), P.G.C.E , M.Ed (Research)
A Science graduate of St. Andrews University in Fife, Mr Cooper began his teaching career in 1995, working in a diverse range of settings including Psychiatric and Emotional Behavioural Disorder environments. He also established and ran a trial of inclusion units within a mainstream school prior to emigrating to Australia in 2008 with his family.
After a time teaching at Melbourne High, he was offered a position at Bacchus Marsh Grammar in the last term of 2008. Since then he has found this community to be very much in alignment with his pedagogy, with life-long learning and care being valued. He has a particular interest in Cognition and later years’ development. The community has provided many opportunities to share his enthusiasm for learning, including completing a Masters of Education by research.
New to the leadership team in 2019, Mr Cooper is now working within the domain of neurodiversity and, through this, exploring ways to improve engagement and outcomes for all members of the Bacchus Marsh Grammar community. He not only acknowledges the huge benefits this school and the wider Australian community has provided his family, but also that such environments are only possible with the dedication and care of everyone associated with it.
Mr Ben Davie
(Chemistry) (Hons), Post Grad. Cert. Ed. (Science), MRSC, Cert IV (Training and Assessment)
Mr Davie graduated with Honours from Leeds University, before completing his teacher training at the University of London. After working in London for two years he moved to Australia, working at a Special Needs school and running an outdoor education centre for children with special needs.
Since joining Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 2005 he has held a range of positions. His achievements have included establishing our VCAL program as its first coordinator, implementing a new reporting system as Director of Assessment and Reporting, together with his roles as Director of Daily Organisation and Data Management and Assistant Principal, Timetabler.
Mr Davie’s children attend Bacchus Marsh Grammar, testimony to his belief in the School and all that it represents.
Mr Rob de Wit
Qualifications: B. Commerce, Grad. Dip. Ed. (Secondary), Cert IV TAA
Completing a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University in the late 1990s, Mr de Wit worked for one of Australia’s largest retailers for over 10 years before deciding it was time for a career change; he then completed his teaching degree at Australian Catholic University in 2010.
Mr de Wit started his teaching career in the Catholic system teaching Commerce subjects at both middle school and VCE levels, as well as holding several leadership positions including being the Daily Organiser and as Head of Interschool Sport.
Joining Bacchus Marsh Grammar at the start of 2019, teaching VCE Accounting and Economics, Mr de Wit was assigned the role of Middle and Senior School Daily Organiser.
He was then appointed to the role of Assistant Principal – Administration in 2022, Mr de Wit oversees the Daily Organisers at the Maddingley Campus as well as construction and maintenance of the school’s timetable.
Mr de Wit’s eldest child started at Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 2019 and has taken full advantage of all the opportunities that the school offers.
Mrs Kelly Dilges
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, DIRECTOR OF LITERACY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Qualifications: B. Arts, Dip. Ed.
Mrs Dilges began her teaching career in 2001, after graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education. A foundation student of Bacchus Marsh Grammar, Mrs Dilges found herself drawn back to the school as a teacher in 2013. Although the school had physically changed vastly since her time as a student, she found its intrinsic values had remained the same and aligned perfectly with her own core principles and beliefs.
Mrs Dilges has taught a range of subjects across many year levels and held various positions of responsibility throughout her career at previous schools, including Head of Faculty, Head of Pastoral Care and Deputy Head of Middle School. During her time at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, she has taught from Year 5 through to Year 10, with a particular passion for teaching English across the middle years. Her roles have varied from tutor teacher, classroom teacher, Head of History and Geography Department (Junior School) and Assistant Head of English Middle School.
In addition to her role as Assistant Principal, Mrs Dilges oversees curriculum development from Year 5 to 8 and working alongside the Head of Middle School, Year Level Coordinators and classroom teachers to create a rigorous, positive and nurturing environment for students as they navigate their way through their middle years of schooling.
Mrs Susanna Mandic
Qualifications: B. Science (Chemistry), Grad. Dip. Ed (Chemistry, Mathematics) M. Ed (Research)
Mrs Mandic studied a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University majoring in Chemistry. During her time at Melbourne University she had the opportunity to complete a research task in Chemistry Molecular Development which was later published in the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. Following on from her time at Melbourne University, she completed a Graduate Diploma of Education at Federation University in the areas of Chemistry and Mathematics.
To complete a personal goal at the end of 2018, Mrs Mandic finalised her Masters in Education at Federation University with a research title: Applying an Integrated Curriculum to foster differentiation in a Mathematics classroom. She completed her research by incorporating the experiences Year 8 students were exposed to at Staughton Vale and applying these to real-life mathematical problems. She has now started working on her next personal and professional goal of completing her Doctorate of Education at the University of Melbourne. The research title for her thesis is: The impact of timetable changes on School Leaders, Teachers and Students in Victorian Secondary Schools.
At the start of 2014, Mrs Mandic started working as a Mathematics and Science teacher at Bacchus Marsh Grammar. She has taught many subjects over the years including Specialist Mathematics, Mathematical Methods, Chemistry and Middle-School Mathematics and Science. Throughout her time at Bacchus Marsh Grammar Mrs Mandic has held various positions of responsibility ranging from Deputy Head of Science, School Timetabler and in 2019 she was appointed Assistant Principal – School Administration. In 2023 she moved into a new role as Assistant Principal -STEM Education.
In 2018 Mrs Mandic’s child began school at Bacchus Marsh Grammar in the Prep Reception program which is a testament to her belief in the school and the opportunities it has to offer students.
She has a strong philosophy that all students should have an opportunity to learn in a safe and nurturing environment that enables them to grow at their own pace. She feels very privileged to work with members of staff to create programs that facilitate student growth.
Mr Andrew Perks
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, HIGH PERFORMANCE LEARNING
Qualifications: B. Ed. Physical Ed., Outdoor Ed., Social Sciences (Hons), M. Applied Science (HP Coaching), Grad. Dip. Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning), FRGS, ASCA
Mr Perks is Assistant Principal, High Performance Learning. Mr. Perks graduated with Honours from the University of Ballarat. After working at Bacchus Marsh Grammar for three years he took a teaching position in London at Gunnersbury Boys’ Grammar School. On his return to Australia he took up a position as VCE Coordinator and then Sports Director at Bacchus Marsh Grammar. Mr. Perks was awarded a Master Scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport/ University of Queensland and worked with High Performance Units within the AIS and Badminton Australia. He has been involved in coaching and managing the Olympic and Commonwealth Games Badminton Programs and has been a consultant with HP programs in Europe and Asia. He set up the High Performance Sporting program at Bacchus Marsh Grammar and has established a pathway for athletes within the WestVic Academy of Sport. Mr Perks is currently responsible for the Optimal Performance Learning Program at Bacchus Marsh Grammar and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London.
Mrs Lisa Foster
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL – HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL (MADDINGLEY)
Mrs Foster has had an extensive teaching career which has seen her teach and lead in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria. She completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, majoring in Psychology. Mrs Foster then completed a Graduate Diploma of Teaching through the Queensland University of Technology and began her teaching career in suburban Brisbane. Later in her career, she completed a Masters of Education in Leadership and Management, again through the Queensland University of Technology, graduating as the Dux of this course and recipient of the ACEL Award for Excellence.
After a number of years teaching Prep to Year 3 in Brisbane and remote western Queensland, Mrs Foster became a Small School Principal, spending three years in a small town, gaining strong academic results for her students. Her success as Principal and selection as one of Queensland’s top 50 school leaders enabled her to then spend two years working successfully within the Department, building the capacity of aspiring Principals and school leadership teams to strategically improve student outcomes. Missing the magic of schools and students, Mrs Foster transitioned back into a Prep to Year 6 school as Deputy Principal, leading the implementation of a pedagogical model in a large Darwin primary school before moving to Melbourne in 2018.
Mrs Foster joins us from the State education system where she has recently been the Assistant Principal – Director of Teaching and Learning Excellence Prep – Year 9 in Melbourne’s west. She believes in creating a positive and engaging learning environment that ensures students are valued and supported to achieve their maximum potential.
As the Head of Junior School (Maddingley), her focus will be on continuing the implementation of evidence-based teaching practice that supports and enables all students to have the confidence and ambition to achieve excellence.
Mr Scott Bayne
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL – HEAD OF MIDDLE SCHOOL (MADDINGLEY)
Qualifications: B. Ed. (Hons)
Mr Bayne started his teaching career in 1995 after leaving the British Armed Forces. After teaching 10 years in specialist middle schools in the UK, where he was the Head of Physical Education, Health and Sport, he became an Advisor and Educational Consultant. In 2005, he and his family moved to New Zealand becoming the Head of Health and Physical Education in high schools in the South Island.
In 2016, Mr Bayne became the Head of Physical Education in a private high school in Adelaide before becoming a member of Bacchus Marsh Grammar in 2022. After nearly 30 years of teaching, he has taught children from Year 4 to Year 12 across three countries including teaching adults and teachers. As the Head of the Middle School, Mr Bayne has a strong passion for understanding adolescent development, and guiding students through this important and vital stage of their lives. With two grown up children, and a wife who is also an educator, he has strong passion for lifelong learning and is currently studying a Masters of Education in Leadership.
Mrs Erin Thornton
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL – HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL (MADDINGLEY)
Qualifications: B. Arts (Politics, Criminology, Literature), Dip. Ed. (Commerce, Humanities, English), MA (School Leadership)
Mrs Thornton studied a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University majoring in Politics, Criminology and Literature. She then completed a Diploma of Education at the University qualifying as a secondary school teacher in the disciplines of Commerce, Humanities and English. After teaching for six years Mrs Thornton completed a Masters in School Leadership at Melbourne. This degree focussed on leadership and governance in education. Ms Thornton is also a fellow at Federation University.
Mrs Thornton has enjoyed many varying roles at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, from tutor teacher, classroom teacher of Commerce subjects, Year Level Coordinator for both years 11 and 12, VCE Coordinator and Head of the Commerce Department.
Currently Mrs Thornton is Assistant Principal – Head of Senior School. In this capacity, her focus is the development of the academic ability of students and helping support them through their senior years of schooling.