Dr Peter Hollingworth has been awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) and an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
On returning home to Melbourne in 2003, I renewed my relationship with John Cheetham and was excited by the work he was doing with disadvantaged and talented young people in a pilot program managed by the Student Achievement Centre. The initial pilot project was coming to an end and refinements were being made for future expansion.
Having worked for much of my life with disadvantaged young people, I felt I could contribute to this new organisation which was providing a unique program in a highly professional way. I later joined the Board and served as Chair from 2007-2017. As Ambassador, I continue to enjoy working with a group of committed people who bring their particular skills to the organisation.
Emeritus Professor Kwong Lee Dow has been awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
I am keen to support the approach which Skyline uses to build the confidence of talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds at a critical stage in enlarging their educational opportunities – both short term and long term. The combination of activities provided, and the encouragement of students with common aspirations from different schools to come together to share problems and possibilities is proving to be life changing for participants in this program. In addition, working consistently over time with Partner Schools, helps reinforce the benefits achieved with individuals, demonstrating that this can be generalised and is reproducible. Finally, Skyline has effectively connected with other Trusts and Foundations and so mutually strengthens our overall capacity to support Victorian students.
For many years as chair of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and some of its predecessor bodies, I have been committed to easing and improving the transition which students make through the last years of school and in choosing courses and tertiary institutions for their subsequent professional careers and personal development. There are many aspects to this process, spreading over years, and Skyline highlights and successfully enhances student self awareness and knowledge of options and prospects. I have assisted with similar activities in other places and will be pleased to contribute to Skyline evolving and growing in this space.
Justice Lex Lasry has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
I sit as a judge in the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria. In most courts, on most days, we see the result of missed opportunities. We hear about the unexploited potential of young people who, through drugs or for other reasons, have been diverted into criminal activity. We see the tragedy that will accompany futility in the life of young people whose education has been token rather than real.
Skyline, and its ambition, is key in the modern community. The aptitude and talent of young people should not be inhibited by their circumstances. Skyline’s efforts to foster and encourage these young people is a vital investment, not only for them, but for the whole community.
I am delighted and honoured to have been elected the Chair of Skyline in 2017. I originally became a Director on the Skyline Board because I was so impressed with Skyline’s successful educational program for disadvantaged VCE students with unique and special needs. Over the past nine years I have been part of Skyline’s growth and have come to understand why this program makes a real difference to not only our students, but to their schools and communities as well. Our students are outstanding and their success in secondary and higher education defies the expectations of their backgrounds as compared with like schools.
In 1994 I completed a Masters in Education (Gifted) which focused on the social and emotional needs of gifted adolescents. I then joined the Gifted Students Program in the Department of Education and over the following 17 years I held executive positions in the Department of Education. More recently, I held the roles of Director of Global Education at Cisco and Education Lead for SingTel/Optus. I am currently a Consulting CEO , working with SME technology companies. I am experienced in working successfully across all three sectors, government, corporate and not-for-profit.
Wendy Bonnici is a company founder and innovator who has launched, built and led high-growth businesses as start-ups and within large enterprises alike. An experienced advisor, she has also contributed knowledge, capital, and connections to mid-market and emerging ventures. Wendy’s professional background includes 25 years’ experience in Human Resource Management across a variety of industries.
Wendy’s priorities today are specific but wide-ranging: Empowering female leaders in early-stage businesses through Scale, Australia’s only women-led angel investment group; collaborating with trusted non-profit organisations; as well as initiatives that build a more creative, equitable, and inspired society. Concurrently with her Skyline Board commitments, Wendy sits on the advisory board for Mpower Mecca Cosmetica and chairs her Family Foundation. Wendy also mentors young professional women who have begun their leadership journey.
Beverley Brock has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
As a young student, I would have fitted the criteria for a Skyline Bursary, so I understand firsthand the challenges our students face. I am completely committed to the ideals and objectives of Skyline and the needs of our students.
I received a scholarship to train as a science teacher and undertook post graduate studies in Special Education, focusing on gifted students. After teaching, I helped to run a business that employed 80 staff and I also co-founded and ran a Foundation that cared for the disadvantaged in our community.
I have a passion for seeing young people succeed and I am excited by the fact that Skyline is helping young people to do this. Without Skyline, these young people would not have the opportunity to explore their talents, yet alone develop them. When given the opportunity to join the Board, I saw this as a wonderful chance to give back to the community in an area of personal passion.
I have 40 years of banking experience, leading small and large teams domestically and internationally. During that time I have learned a lot about leadership in differing cultures, much of which has involved working with young people starting out in their careers. I believe I bring strong business and governance skills to Skyline, as well as empathy with the young people and a passion to see them fulfill their potential.
Before joining the Skyline board, I had over five years experience as an engaged philanthropist with the Skyline Education Foundation. I was touched by the impact the program had, not only on the young Bursary winners but also on their families, their school and on our society in general.
I have extensive experience in marketing and management consulting and have worked with the Board to improve the sustainability of the Bursary Program. As a donor, I am also able to provide the Foundation with first-hand experience in donor expectations and access to other donor networks.
As a graduate of the Skyline program, joining the Board represented to me a unique way of giving back to this amazing organisation that supported, and continues to support me in so many ways. I had no reservations about taking up the opportunity of learning from and engaging with the people who steer Skyline, and as a representative of the alumni of helping to inform the future of the program and its students.
I graduated from the Skyline program in 2011, and was subsequently involved in establishing the Skyline Alumni Association. I served as secretary to the Alumni Committee between 2015 and 2017 before becoming Co-Chair in early 2017.
I have a Bachelors with Honours in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, and a concurrent Diploma in French Language from the University of Melbourne, both of which focused intently on communication and the intricacies of interpersonal interaction. As part of my Honours year I completed an original research project including a 15,000 word thesis on the topic of language, agency and subjectivity with regards to violence against women in Australia. I am currently working as a research assistant at the University of Melbourne.
In May 2017 I was awarded the Rotary Club of Melbourne’s Young Achiever Award for Community Service Leadership based on my work with Skyline and my tertiary studies. I intend to continue my involvement with the alumni and the Skyline program for as long as I am able, and hope to provide an alumni perspective in discussions to inform decision making on the Board, as well as contributing my research skills and knowledge when possible.
I joined the board because helping students succeed, who may not (for reasons out of their control) have been able to finish VCE really appeals to me; as does helping students prepare for University and make a valuable contribution to the wider community into the future. I have met the Graduates and seen the results from the first 10 years of what the Skyline Alumni has become. That was sufficient to make me want to be part of growing the scholarships to assist more students into the future.
My experience is in business, mostly within the Food Industry, spanning retail, to Aquaculture, and now Agriculture. I have a B.Bus in Accounting from Monash University and believe a University Degree is important for all young people in this fast changing economy. I am a father of four so I can understand and appreciate the pressures of schooling. I also sit on numerous boards and have seen how these operate. I will do my best to add value where possible.
Professor Barbara Van Ernst has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
I accepted the invitation to join the Board because I fully endorse Skyline’s underpinning purpose of supporting gifted students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. The level of achievement of graduates of the program is clear proof that the model works well. It is a pleasure to meet and speak with the young students as they grow through the VCE years and then to meet them as maturing adults completing University qualifications and joining the workforce.
My background is in teaching across primary, secondary and tertiary and I have held leadership roles in education for a number of years. I am also interested in good governance of organisations.
I have a strong interest in providing opportunities for young people to build and own their potential. Skyline offers a unique program tailored for individuals and goes beyond school years to also support fellowship and a network for students, both past and present.
Skyline is at an exciting stage in its development, with the potential to expand student numbers and donor programs. As a lawyer with over 20 years of professional experience, I bring expertise in board governance and structuring to help the Skyline members and students achieve their goals.
I joined Skyline because I am passionate about the transformative power of education and especially the Skyline program itself which creates environments where creativity and independent thinking are regarded as a positive.
My professional life has always been in secondary education, as a VCE teacher and coordinator of gifted education programs for both students and educators. I am experienced in program management and service delivery; I have productively engaged in numerous high-level education committees within Victoria and planned and facilitated national conferences for diverse education bodies.
Skyline’s mission to enable students who may not otherwise be able to realise their ambitions is fundamental to both my personal philosophy and my work as a teacher. My long professional career has taught me that young people are creative, enthusiastic and always, surprising. I think we owe it to our young to give them those extra opportunities to fulfil their potential.
I have extensive teaching experience having worked in special needs and gifted education in specialised schools, mainstream secondary schools, TAFE and university. I have qualifications in Positive Psychology in Education, as well as in Adolescent Counselling, and have spent time mentoring and coaching teachers to understand students with different learning requirements. Having spent time working in special needs in the UK, tutoring gifted students in VCE English and working with indigenous students at Deakin University; I understand the importance of nurturing unique talents from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
Education is widely acknowledged as the most important factor in alleviating poverty and that is why the Skyline Education Foundation’s focus on helping students from disadvantaged families really strikes a chord with me. The organisation is not only about supporting students through their VCE and assisting with the transition to university, it’s about students who demonstrate potential to break the cycle of generational disadvantage and take charge of their own lives. Young people get their inspiration from those around them, and to be part of an organisation that offers young people self-development opportunities that help them to see what they can achieve academically and personally, is a true privilege.
Before joining Skyline, I worked at World Vision Australia where I most recently assisted in organising the C20 Summit Australia. Prior to this I organised the One Just World forum series, which educated the Australian public on a range of international development issues, including the importance of education to developing communities. I bring my knowledge and passion for educating on issues of disadvantage to the role of Communication and Relationship Manager at Skyline.
Late in 2001 I was employed by John Cheetham to coordinate the Pilot VCE Bursary Program for disadvantaged, talented students. At the end of the pilot project the Skyline Education Foundation was established to fund the continuation of the program. I worked on the program until December 2009.
I continued my involvement at a committee level and as the Personal Assistant to the Chair of Skyline from 2010 to 2015. I am now responsible for Alumni Liaison as I have developed lasting relationships with students, graduates, school contacts and sponsors.