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Advisory Committee

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to provide another level of guidance to the school in
addition to the School Board. The School Board is the formal decision-making body of the school. The Advisory Committee consists of people with high levels of expertise in fields which are relevant to the operation of The Small School and provide support to the School Board when needed.

Robin Grille is a psychologist in private practice and a parenting educator. His articles on parenting and child development have been widely published and translated in Australia and around the world. Robin’s first book: ‘Parenting for a Peaceful World’ has received international acclaim and led to speaking engagements around Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand. Parenting for a Peaceful world has been translated into Chinese, and his second book, ‘Heart to Heart Parenting’, has been translated into German and Korean. Robin’s work is animated by his belief that humanity’s future is largely dependent on the way we collectively relate to our children.

Robin’s experiential, skills-based and informational parenting courses have helped many people to embrace parenting as a transformative, personal growth journey. Drawing from 28 years’ clinical experience and from leading-edge neuropsychological research, Robin’s seminars and courses focus on healthy emotional development for children as well as parents; while building supportive, co-operative parenting communities.  

John Smith
Robin Grille

Psychologist, Parenting Educator and Author

Fiona McKenzie

Founder of Koonwarra and Phillip Island Village Schools

After being inspired by a small alternative primary school in Western Australia, Fiona became a primary school teacher and took up studies in the history and philosophy of alternative education. Curious to learn whether schools could still be started by an individual with a vision, Fiona combined her existing business qualifications and newly acquired teaching experience to start her first primary school in South Gippsland, Victoria in 2012.
Seventy-five kilometres away and four years after Koonwarra Village School was established, Phillip Island Village School opened its doors, and now 80 students enjoy a Village School education. Fiona still works as the Business Manager at both primary schools and oversees the application of the Village School Curriculum at both locations. The next exciting venture is a Village High School, which plans to open in 2019.
While Fiona is drawing a line at three schools, she definitely intends to continue to contribute to the development of innovative, educational options for children and young people in Australia. Through her new company, Small School Business Services, Fiona and her team are able to do just that, by sharing their experience and expertise to support others who dream of starting a school.
As well as working with The Small School, Fiona is also working with Enkindle Village School in Townsville and Fitra Community School in Victoria.

Juli Gassner 

Sydney Community Co-ordinator Wildspace - Community Learning Hub

For some 30 years Juli has played and learned alongside children and their families in a range of private and public settings in Australia and New Zealand. She has worked in a variety of roles in the learning world, including: class teacher, Deputy Principal, University Pre-teacher facilitator and guide and now Community
Co-ordinator of WILDSPACE, Northern Rivers only non-aligned community learning place. Juli now mentors students, school communities and assorted organisations in the art of building healthy community spaces for rich learning. 


She grows the natural desire to learn by encouraging people to follow their interests, passions and challenges as well as offering them a suite of broad offerings to allow self and group exploration. She trusts that all have innate creative powers, which when unleashed, benefit not only an individual’s artistic, dramatic, cognitive and kinaesthetic blossoming but self-concept, confidence and social and emotional health. Most importantly she works with community to move toward all benefiting as each individual is empowered to be the unique, resilient and responsible learner of which they are capable, enmeshed in an interdependent community.

Geoffrey Colwill

Finance Consultant, NORTEC Director

Geoffrey holds a wealth of experience working with a wide range of commercial and not for profit organisations in the UK and Australia. He was Chair of NORTEC for five years, and is currently a Non Executive Director of NORTEC. He is Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors - MAICD. Communication and effectiveness are amongst his passions. Geoffrey was attracted to NORTEC by the organisational culture – taking a genuine interest in people’s well being and the commitment to being a force for good on the North Coast of NSW and South East Queensland. He was previously Director of the Findhorn Community College.

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