Peri Dix – Executive Manager Education
Executive Manager of Education Peri Dix aims to ensure Cire Community School’s core values of respect, safety and learning are a focus for each student across the Yarra Junction, Mount Evelyn and Berwick campuses.
She believes it is paramount that these values are embedded in the school’s key priorities which include providing excellent learning experiences which cater for all student needs at an individual level, and working as a team to support positive mental and emotional health in our young people.
With more than 15 years of experience as a school principal across a wide range of educational settings, Peri has a strong background in curriculum planning and assessment and individualised learning.
“All young people can achieve success and our dedicated team at Cire Community School supports them in finding their futures.”
Thomas Witenden – Campus Principal Berwick
Berwick Campus Principal, Tom Witenden’s focus is to create and foster a school community that is one of choice and underpinned by Cire’s core values of respect, safety and learning.
Always aspiring to find a balance of engagement and progression in each student, Tom is committed to supporting the development of resilience, accountability and self-esteem. He believes that the ultimate goal of any educational setting should be to provide each student with the skills and strategies to allow them to pursue a life path that provides them with meaning.
Tom has extensive experience in educational settings that focus on the individual needs of students and the associated social, emotional and behaviour aspects of learning, both as a teacher and a leader.
“Students in the 21st century are finding it increasingly difficult to fit into the mould of mainstream education , and my hope is that alternative educational settings such as Cire can begin to meet the needs of those students.”
Stephen Duke – Campus Principal Lilydale
With more than 20 years of experience working with youth and young adults in a variety of educational and non-education settings, Mt Evelyn Principal Stephen Duke is passionate about bringing hope to Cire students and families.
Previous roles in leadership, management and wellbeing, have equipped him with the broad ranging skills and experience necessary to effectively lead the team at Mt Evelyn. His optimistic, encouraging and warm demeanour create the platform for him to develop meaningful relationships with staff, students and families.
Stephen believes that regardless of background and circumstance, all young people should have access to education and opportunity. He endeavours to support students in understanding who they are, and empower them to discover how they can make positive contributions to the community around them.
Stephen’s emphasis on wellbeing, belonging and community, help to create a culture of understanding, acceptance, connection, unconditional positive regard, purpose and joy.
One of his core drivers is captured by the accompanying quote from Marian Wright Edelman, an American activist for children’s rights who has been advocating for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life.
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”
Bradley Turner – Campus Principal Mt Evelyn
Bradley has over 12 years of experience in education and team leadership and strongly believes that all students have the right to access the highest quality education in a program and environment that works for them. He is passionate about seeing young people grow, overcome challenges and pursue meaningful pathways.
Bradley’s personal values closely align with those of Cire Community School and he aims to uphold the values of safety, respect and learning at all times. He is dedicated to helping all of the staff and students that he works alongside feel a genuine sense of purpose and belonging.
“My purpose in working at Cire is to recognise the humanity and uniqueness of each student and extend to their dignity in an educational setting.”
Jacqui Walker – Campus Principal Yarra Junction
Jacqui Walker is a vibrant and passionate educator with experience in both the primary and secondary sectors in Victoria and Queensland. Jacqui has worked in various roles, including in the Inclusion space, where she led large staff teams in Queensland to support students with diverse needs to access quality and differentiated education. Jacqui completed her Master of Education in 2020, with a dual specialisation of Special Education and Guidance and Counselling. Jacqui embraces her sense of fun wherever possible, and you’ll often find Jacqui singing, dancing and laughing with students, understanding well the importance of fostering positive relationships of high trust. You won’t find a more vocal advocate for young people and their access to opportunities and nurturing social and emotional health than Jacqui. On weekends, you can usually find Jacqui singing on stage somewhere with her band.
“Every single day, our students share with me their fears, frustrations and their wins. We laugh together as often as is possible because finding the positives and being able to laugh at ourselves and together is so incredibly positive and necessary.”
Jodi Zaninetti – Wellbeing Leader Yarra Junction campus
Wellbeing Leader, Jodi Zaninetti helps young people to successfully navigate their world and rise above the challenges to be their best is what drives Jodi Zaninetti, the Wellbeing Leader at Cire’s Yarra Junction campus.
A valuable member of the Yarra Junction team, Jodi has extensive experience working with adolescents in both regional and metro communities and particularly assisting those facing significant barriers to accessing community, education and employment.
She confidently draws on her in-depth knowledge of a holistic, client-centric and skills -based approach when working with students and their families and/or caregivers. Such an approach is fundamental in supporting young people, families and communities to be resilient and thrive.
With a strong sense of social justice, Jodi strongly believes that every young person deserves a safe, nurturing environment in which to explore their potential and have the opportunity to be their best. Cire Community School provides such an environment where every student is treated as an individual with unique needs and great potential.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Iley Rushton – Wellbeing Leader Berwick campus
Wellbeing Leader, Iley Rushton values highly the importance of creating space for young people to explore every facet of themselves and for the whole Cire community to identify what makes every person unique; working together collaboratively to celebrate each individual.
With more than 18 year’s experience working with young people and a background in counselling, creative arts and bush adventure therapies Iley brings much depth to her role as Wellbeing Leader at Cire Community School’s Berwick campus.
Iley believes that when we seek to understand how other people’s experiences have shaped their lives we are better able to give grace and compassion to them, and ourselves, as we journey alongside each other. Resonating strongly with Iley is Cire Community School’s approach that when students feel genuinely respected and safe they are much more likely to engage in their learning.
In her role Iley seeks to support others to find healthy habits and regular daily rhythms that nurture positive change, and to help equip young people with life skills that can assist in guiding them towards effective long-term personal transformation.
“I am always humbled by our students’ support and compassion for others which is reflected in their choosing the following as the overarching theme for our Berwick campus – Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always”.
Luella Cochrane – Wellbeing Leader Mt Evelyn campus
Wellbeing Leader, Luella Cochrane brings a wealth of experience in child, adolescent and adult health and wellbeing to her role. With a background in Sport and Performance Psychology, Counseling and Integrative Medicine, Luella’s holistic approach encompasses the whole person to support strengths and meet challenges with grace, compassion and hope.
As an avid student herself, Luella has an innate love of learning and strongly believes in the power of education to enhance our own lives and make meaningful contributions to the world around us. A former teacher of Nutrition, Exercise Science, Neurological Development and Trauma-informed care, Luella has a keen interest in the many different components of what it means to be “well”. She is passionate about providing a sense of safety and belonging, meeting people where they are, exploring where they want to be, and assisting with strategies and resources to bridge the gap.
Luella embraces the African philosophy of “Ubuntu” which acknowledges our innate interconnectedness and encourages kindness, reciprocity, harmony, and shared humanity. She feels that it is a privilege to work with students and learn from each of them and their unique life experiences.
“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. The nature of life is to change. The joy of life is to be the most authentic version of ourselves.”
Adam Kennon – Wellbeing Leader Lilydale campus
Wellbeing Leader, Lilydale. 14 years of working with youth have led Adam to Cire, with experiences in Homelessness, Out of Home Care, Case Management and Program Development, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience to Cire Community School, Lilydale. A valuable member of the school team, Adam thrives in an environment that can make change create inclusion and also role model behaviours ensuring that the students have enough in their toolbox to thrive once they move into the next part of their journey. One of Adam’s passions is modern-day Rites of Passage which supports young people to face the opportunities and challenges of a rapidly changing world, to find their unique gifts and talents, and create a healthy vision for the next stage of their lives.
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up”.