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 442 independent schools in Australia. These communities comprise some 430,000 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.

'Our schools are focused on providing safe and happy environments for our young people in which they can grow, explore and learn'

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 focused 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.

Mark features in Episode 1 of AHISA's Amplify your School Leadership podcast and Episode 10 of The 15 Disciplines author Stephen Scott's podcast.

Our 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
Dr Alec O'Connell, Scotch 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
Ms Anne Ford, John Wollaston Anglican Community School WA
Mrs Kath McGuigan, Mary MacKillop College SA

Board meeting dates


Biennial Board meeting - short meeting (1.5 hrs max) at 8:45 am Wednesday 2nd October
Crown Towers, Perth

Thursday 31 October & Friday 1 November

Melbourne - Airport Parkroyal Hotel
Commencing 3:00pm Thursday. Recommencing 9:00am Friday and finishing approx. 4:00pm


Monday 24 February
East Hotel, Canberra
Commencing at 8:00am and finishing approx. 4:00pm

Friday 22 May
East Hotel, Canberra
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 24 May)

Friday 30 October
Melbourne - Airport Parkroyal Hotel
Commencing 9:30am approx. and finishing approx. 4:00pm

About Mark

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

Mark 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 joined AHISA in 2001 when he became Principal of Marcellin College, Bulleen. Previously he 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.

National Chair 2019 Election

BIO Reverend Christopher Ivey

General Directors 2019-2023

General Directors CV's