College Board Members
Aitken College is a company limited by guarantee, whose members form the Aitken College Board.
They act as the Board of Directors of the Company and appoint the Principal who as CEO is responsible for the day to day management of the College. Aitken College is a not-for-profit organisation. Its accounts are independently audited. The Aitken College Board determines the policies by which the College will operate.
Robert Evans is a lawyer (retired). He practised general commercial law in Adelaide and then in energy and natural resources law and competition law in Australia, the UK and the EU for over 40 years. He had a significant role in the restructure of the electricity industry and the establishment of the National Electricity Market, managing the transition to a market-based system and the creation of the legal framework for the market. Following his retirement from this career, he joined the Board of Aitken College in 2014 to pursue his commitment to the ideals of a low-fee independent school and became Chair in 2019.
He holds BA and LLB degrees from the University of Adelaide and an MA in Public History from Monash University.
He is an Elder of his congregation in the Uniting Church in Australia and a member of the Yarra Yarra Presbytery. His leisure interests include travel, history, cooking and bushwalking.
Heather Ackland is an accountant (FCPA). She worked for the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania for 37 years before retiring in 2020. She held the following leadership roles over this time: Project Manager Congregational Support Business Services, Director Accounting Services, Manager Accounting Services, Financial Accountant/Deputy Manager Accounting Services, Management Accountant and Administration & Budget Officer/Deputy Manager Resource Planning Services. Heather is the treasurer and an elder for Craigieburn Wallan Uniting Church. She is a committee member of the Presbytery of Port Phillip West Administration, Property and Finance Committee. She is a fellow of CPA Australia (now a retired member). Heather attended Newlands High School and completed her Business degree at Footscray Institute of Technology. She completed a Duke of Edinburgh Award (Gold) in 1985. She has been a Board member since 2008 and is currently Treasurer (since May 2013). Heather’s interests include family, gardening, church activities, running, health and fitness.
Peter Gilberston BEng (Melb)
In the family business for 15 years, Peter held major roles as Director of Engineering and General Manager of Don Smallgoods. He then joined and was appointed General Manager for 16 years of the largest full-service meat consultancy in Australia. He was known for the development of successful business plan, strategy and delivery to satisfy clients’ complex needs.
For 11 years he became specialist advisor within a full delivery project management and construction company serving all aspects of the food and cold storage industries. He led the definition strategy and advanced solutions for the most beneficial capital works.
His extensive consulting experience at all levels has enabled him to recognize current practice and possible benefits through innovation.
He has been a Board member for 24 years and Chair since 1999 of Lionsville, a large Not for Profit which has served the needs of seniors’ living for nearly 60 years. It is recognized throughout the world as the largest project of any Lions club in Australia. Building on that history, he has set Lionsville’s strategy of business renewal to become a major supporter of more diverse critical community needs. For his innovation and contribution to the profession he was made a Fellow of Engineers Australia, in 1997. Peter and his father, siblings(3), sons(4) and currently his grandsons(5) have all attended UCA independent schools.
Josie Crisara OAM
Josie Crisara is the current Principal at Aitken College. She taught previously at Goulburn Valley Grammar School and Overnewton College. She has held leadership positions as Head of Science, Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree, a Graduate Diploma of Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Melbourne. Josie has taught Chemistry, Science, Mathematics, Digital and Design Technology, Food Studies and Religion and Values Education but mostly considers herself a teacher of young people.
Josie has held positions on the Science Teachers Association of Victoria Board, the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) Board and is currently on the AHISA (Victoria) Executive. She is the current Chair of the Science Victoria Board. She is a member of Greenvale Rotary (and is its Youth Director overseeing the Interact Club of Aitken College) as part of that role.
Josie was awarded an ACEL (Australian Council for Education Leaders) Victorian Fellowship in 2018, was made a fellow of the Science Teachers Association of Victoria (STAV) in 1999 and was bestowed STAV Life Membership in 2020. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to professional associations in June 2020.
Steve retired from Aitken College in 2016 having spent over 40 years as a high school teacher in both government and independent schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Melbourne, majoring in Biochemistry/Pharmacology and a Master of Education, which included research into teaching methods in Mathematics.
Steve held several positions of responsibility during his career, including Head of Faculty, Curriculum Coordinator and Director of Studies. He was a contributing author to a number of student texts in Mathematics and Science. Steve was involved in the foundation of Aitken College in 1998, and has served on the College Board since then. He was also employed as a teacher at the college and held the position of Director of Studies. Steve and his wife Lynne (who is also a retired Aitken College teacher) have two daughters and live on a small acreage on Bass Coast, where he is able to pursue his interests in surfing and growing fruit and vegetables.
John Di Martino
John Di Martino has served on the Aitken College school board since 2016. Both of his children have attended Aitken College, and he has been an active member of the Aitken community since 2002. In his professional life, John has worked in the banking and finance industries for 35 years and is the founder of his mortgage broking firm, Reliance Mortgage Group. He lives by the company motto “Supporting Your Financial Future” and supports his retail and commercial clients with finance solutions to achieve their personal and financial goals. John’s extensive experience across the finance and compliance industries has provided valuable support and insight to the Board with its day to day running of the College. John holds a Diploma in Finance and Mortgage Broking Management
Chris is passionate about branding, marketing, and organisational development. For over 14 years, he has helped organisations grow by creating and implementing brand and marketing strategies that resonate with their communities.
Chris highly values education and holds an MBA in Marketing Management, a Bachelor of Theology, and professional certificates in Brand Management, Digital Marketing, CX, and Agile Digital Delivery. Previously, Chris was a lecturer for VET and Higher Ed seminary students was a director of fundraising for Melbourne School of Theology and was communications manager for The Salvation Army. Chris is an active member of his local church and is a mentor for students and professionals in RMIT’s career mentoring program.
Professor Michael McCarthy
Professor Michael McCarthy is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne, and conducts teaching and research in the areas of ecology and environmental modelling at the interface between mathematics and biology.
He has worked previously at the University of California Santa Barbara, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, The Australian National University, and The University of Adelaide.
Justine Sales is an experienced teacher who has worked within the Catholic and Independent systems for the past 11 years. Justine began her teaching career at Aitken College in 2012 as a primary school teacher and has since held roles as a classroom teacher, as well as specialised roles in the areas of Literacy and Numeracy Intervention, Learning Diversity, ICT and Digital and Design Technologies. She is currently working as a Literacy Intervention Specialist at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception School in Melbourne’s West.
Justine is a proud member of the Aitken College alumni. She graduated in 2002 with the College’s first group of Year 12s. She has a Bachelor of Business in Marketing and Tourism Management, a Diploma of Education and a Postgraduate Certificate in Theology.
Justine has been a Board member since 2016 and is passionate about being involved in the Aitken College community. She is an avid traveller and has visited 53 countries around the world, in addition to studying and working in Sweden and The United States respectively. She has a passion for foreign languages and in addition to English, speaks fluent Portuguese with her husband and two young children.
Vicki Steer is a former teacher in Independent and Government Schools and public servant. She was Principal of Ravenswood School for Girls, Sydney for eleven years and Cornish College for three and a half years. Previously she was Vice Principal at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School (PEGS). Vicki commenced her teaching career at Brunswick High School in 1980 teaching English and moved to McNab House at PEGS. For seven years she was a public servant with roles in human resources and training. She returned to teaching at Lowther Hall Anglican Girls Grammar School and held the positions of Head of the English Department and Head of Grant House. Since retiring from teaching Vicki has continued her work as a professional companion in the Flagship Program of the Association of Independent Schools NSW. Vicki is a volunteer with Red Cross Emergency Services.
Vicki is a lifetime member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools. She has been a Board member since 2021.