Montessori East is a non-denominational and co-educational school for children aged 3 to 12 years. The school is situated in Bondi, centrally located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Montessori East is committed to providing an education model that addresses the unique skills needed for the 21st century. The multi-age classroom environment and specific Montessori learning materials support each child to meet their individual interests and developmental needs for academic growth, self confidence and independent thinking and learning. Teachers are qualified Montessori teachers with additional teaching qualifications from mainstream university systems. The rich and comprehensive curriculum is based on the highest standard Montessori program recognised internationally and linked to all outcomes from the NSW Board of Studies syllabus.
The ME Foundation was established to support the sustainability of Montessori East by fostering a strong and connected community and to support the growth of the school through fundraising. The Future Proof Project is a joint project between the ME Foundation and Montessori East. Directors of the board include: Nick Tobias, Chairman, Peter Shorthouse, Director, Sandra Fairfax, Director, Lou Pollard, Director, Felicity Jensen, Director, Andi Breslin, Director.
Nick Tobias, Chair
Nick has two sons at Montessori East and is passionate about the school and the future of bringing its best practice model to the world. Nick in his role as Chair of the ME Foundation, leads the school’s capital appeal team. A committed philanthropist, he has served on the MCA Foundation Council, MCA Young Ambassadors Committee, the Commissioner’s Council for Australia at the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair advisory board and the board of Art Month Sydney. Nick founded award winning architecture and interior design firm Tobias Partners. Keen to contribute to the discourse on architecture he has served as a judge, juror, panelist, expert witness, speaker and TV host.
Simon Bassett, Treasurer
Simon is the father of three children who attended Montessori East from 1996 to 2006. He has 35 years’ experience in financial markets with various commercial and investment banks in Australia and overseas. Simon has held a variety of roles heading up trading, sales and research business functions. He was Global Head of Capital Markets for Westpac Banking Corporation and worked in the digital area of financial markets at NAB. He now works in a family business as the practice manager for Lighthouse Child and Adolescent Psychology based in Double Bay. In his spare time, he loves to coach touch football and recently coached the Australian under 18 girls’ side to a Youth World Cup gold medal in Malaysia in August 2018.
Peter Shorthouse, Director
Peter’s daughter attended ME from 2007-2013. Peter joined the Foundation Board in 2007 because he truly believed he saw the longer-term impact of a Montessori education on children. He would like to help ensure that there is a permanent future for the school and more broadly for Montessori education in Australia. Peter is a Senior Partner with Crestone Wealth Management, and previous careers include chartered accountancy, management consulting and investment banking.
Sandra Fairfax, Director
Sandra is a Montessori parent with two daughters at Montessori East and a son now in high school after graduating from Montessori East. Sandra is a strong believer in the Montessori education system and believes it builds a learning experience for life. Sandra would like the model to be made available to the end of a student’s secondary schooling. Sandra has a background in IT, radio, graphic design and managing electronic music events and is a musician and DJ. She studied piano at the Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide, has a diploma in audio engineering and bachelors in business and marketing. She is currently furthering her studies in piano and music composition.
Lou Pollard, Director
Lou is an alumni parent and has three daughters who graduated from Montessori East. She is actively involved in the school community and is often called in to MC events. She is passionate about the school and would like to see a Montessori education available to more families. She works as an MC, speaker, actor and writer, and has appeared on TV, radio, film, online platforms performing across Australia and the Middle East. She presents, role-plays and facilitates for companies, including Downer, AGSM and CommBank. She has acted as MC at events for the Cancer Council, Sydney Home Show among others. She writes comedy shows and non-fiction articles, and works in hospitals as a medical clown. As a speaker, Lou gives funny, inspiring talks to healthcare professionals, community groups and corporations for The Humour Foundation.
Felicity Jensen, Director MA Comm, BA (Music)
Felicity has had a long association with Montessori East as a parent of four past students including one of the school’s first seven primary pupils and first school graduates. Felicity has served on the Montessori East School Council and was responsible for the growth of the ME Alumni program from 2013-2016. With years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Felicity is recognised for her commitment to fostering connections within her community and is particularly interested in transformative education, environmental sustainability and a thriving performing arts sector. Felicity is an academic at UNSW Business School, in the Centre for Social Impact and School of Management.
Andi Breslin, Director BSc (Hons) in Business Management
Andi is a strategist and transformations leader with a passion for the future of work and innovation in education. Andi has extensive experience in both the business and not-for-profit sectors. She is currently Head of People Operations at Atlassian and Chair of Atlassian's Sydney Foundation Council which aims to bring 21st century skills to disadvantaged youth globally. She brings and fosters an innovative mindset, collaborative and agile approach to all aspects of her work and life. Andi is a founder of the Atlassian Future Teams program which brings innovation to classrooms across Australia.