AHISA National Chair


Dr Mark Merry


On behalf of my colleagues in schools across the nation and our staff in the National Office in Canberra, I warmly welcome you to the website of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA).

Our Association represents the Heads of 440 independent schools in Australia. These communities comprise some 426,000 students and 55,000 staff and have the support of hundreds of thousands of Australian parents who choose to send their children to our members’ schools. It is a tremendous vote of support for the high quality of educational leadership demonstrated by our members.

AHISA is a membership organisation that was formed in 1985 from the amalgamation of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls’ Schools of Australia and the Headmasters’ Conference of Independent Schools of Australia. Since that time, as independent schools across Australia have grown, both in numbers and enrolments, so has AHISA. We now have members who lead schools of many faiths and those that are non-denominational; schools that are large and those that are small; schools in Alice Springs and Kirribilli; schools that have recently opened in a response to community desire and need; and schools that are over 100 years old.

What is common about and across all these schools is that they are focused on providing safe and happy environments for our young people in which they can grow, explore and learn.

Our Association is committed to speaking on behalf of autonomous school Principals to governments, parliamentarians and senators, and to government and non-government agencies and organisations. We also represent our members nationally and internationally in various education forums. School education and therefore the quality of its leadership is a matter of national importance, and there is much that we can contribute and advise.

We are also focussed on developing the school leaders of the future, as well as supporting all current members in the leadership of Australian independent schools.

Finally, as a members’ association, we are committed to supporting our colleagues through the warmth and generous manner of our collegiality and our respectful relations with each other.

About Mark Merry

B.Ed., M.Ed.St. Ed.D.


Dr Mark Merry has had wide teaching and leadership experience in schools and the tertiary sector for the past 33 years in both Victoria and Tasmania. He is currently Principal of Yarra Valley Grammar School in Melbourne, Victoria. Mark has a keen interest in history and has taught Educational Psychology and Classroom Management at the University of Tasmania.

Mark is the National Chair of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia, having joined AHISA in 2001 when he became Principal of Marcellin College, Bulleen. Previously he has served on the National Board and has been Chair of the Victorian Branch of AHISA. He is also the Secretary of the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria (AGSV).

During his time as a member of AHISA he has particularly appreciated the professional collegiality and friendships he has made within the organisation.

Your Board


National Chair

Dr Mark Merry, Yarra Valley Grammar School VIC

Branch Representative Directors

Mr Craig Bassingthwaighte, Somerset College QLD
Mr Peter Fowler, Rouse Hill Anglican College NSW
Ms Rebecca Clarke, Walford Anglican School for Girls SA
Dr Paul Hicks, Camberwell Grammar School VIC
Mr Tony Freeman, Fahan School, TAS
Mrs Jenny Ethell, Perth College WA

Elected Members

Mr Andrew Muller, Scotch Oakburn College TAS
Mr Paul Teys, Hunter Valley Grammar School NSW
Mrs Josie Crisara, Aitken College VIC
Rev. Christopher Ivey, St Andrew’s Anglican College QLD
Mr David Gee, Wesley College WA
Mrs Kath McGuigan, Mary MacKillop College SA

Board Meeting Dates


Sunday 25 February & Monday 26 February
East Hotel 
Commencing at 1:00pm Sunday and finishing at 3:00pm

Friday 25 May

East Hotel
Commencing at 9:00am with the AGM and finishing by 5:00pm
(Board meeting will be followed by the New Members Conference commencing at 5:30pm Friday and finishing around 1:00pm on Sunday 27th May)

Sunday 21 October & Monday 22 October

Intercontinental - Melbourne the Rialto Commencing at 3:00pm Sunday and finishing at approx. 12:30pm Monday. TBC


Sunday 24 February & Monday 25 February
Possibly Bond University, Gold Coast - To be confirmed

Friday 17 May

Canberra - Venue TBA
Commencing at 9:00am with the AGM and finishing by 5:00pm
(Board meeting will be followed by the New Members Conference commencing at 5:30pm Friday and finishing around 1:00pm on Sunday 19 May)

Biennial Board meeting - short meeting between 27-29 September - TBA
Crown Towers, Perth

Sunday 20 October & Monday 21 October

Canberra - TBC