Our people

Our people

Our Corporate Executive and senior staff are leaders in education strategy, planning and innovation, providing the best possible environment for schools and students to thrive.

The Department of Education is responsible to the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Sue Ellery MLC.


Corporate Executive


Lisa Rodgers
Director General

Lisa Rodgers is a powerful voice and respected advocate in education. She is an experienced executive, having provided exemplary service for the profession, governments and the public in various jurisdictions including the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Prior to joining the Department of Education, Lisa was Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement and Deputy Secretary, Evidence, Data and Knowledge in the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. With over 16 years of experience in education, Lisa has led significant reforms in assessment innovation, curriculum and the use of evidence for impact at the classroom and national level.

Lisa has an Honours Degree in Psychology and has held several other substantial posts in Justice, Health and Defence.

Lisa is passionate about the profession and is dedicated to improved educational outcomes for young people.



Stephen Baxter
Deputy Director General, Schools

Stephen Baxter is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for eight education regions and networks of schools across the State. All regional executive directors report to this position.

Mr Baxter is a qualified teacher and has more than 35 years’ experience in public education. He has held a number of senior executive positions, including in regional Western Australia.



Jay Peckitt
Acting Deputy Director General, Education Business Services

Jay Peckitt joined the Department in 2016 and has been in the Western Australian public sector for 16 years. He has held senior positions at the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, and the Department of Finance.

Mr Peckitt has a Bachelor of Business, is a Certified Practising Accountant, and in 2018 was named as the Public Sector Commission Young Leader of the Year and the Chief Financial Officer of the Year by the Institute of Public Administration Australia.



Martin Clery
Acting Executive Director, Statewide Services

Martin Clery leads the division responsible for delivering support services to school staff and students to improve student achievement and outcomes, including teaching and learning resources, professional learning for teachers and school leaders, and support for students with specific learning needs.

Mr Clery comes to this position as Assistant Executive Director, Teaching, Learning and Early Childhood Services, and from other leadership positions within Statewide Services. He brings considerable experience in education across Western Australia, teaching in regional and metropolitan schools and working in central support roles.

Mr Clery reports to the Deputy Director General, Schools.



Damien Stewart
Executive Director, Workforce

Damien Stewart was appointed to the position in 2017 and leads workforce policy and coordination, staff recruitment and employment, and employee relations.

Mr Stewart has nearly 30 years’ experience in the State’s public sector across a number of Government agencies, including holding executive positions in the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Corrective Services.



Fiona Hunt
Executive Director, Professional Standards and Conduct

Fiona Hunt joined us in 2019 and is responsible for standards of staff professional conduct and integrity, management of staff misconduct allegations, audit, risk management, criminal history screening and legal services.

Ms Hunt came from her role as Director Performance, Assurance and Risk for the Department of Corrective Services since 2016. She oversaw the amalgamation of risk and assurance functions for the new Department of Justice, and was responsible for their response to six Corruption and Crime Commission reports into integrity and misconduct risks in Corrective Services.

Ms Hunt was previously a health services researcher, publishing research on surgical utilisation and outcomes studies using whole-of-population linked administrative health data. She has a first-class honours degree in Health Sciences and has undertaken postgraduate studies in epidemiological methods and data analytics.




Jim Bell
Executive Director, Strategy and Policy

Jim Bell was appointed to this position in 2020 and is responsible for leading our strategic and policy directions, and oversees organisational governance.

He has more than 25 years’ experience in education, holding a number of teaching and leadership positions including principal of Lakelands Primary School and Success Primary School, a Director of Public School Review, and Assistant Regional Executive Director, South Metropolitan.

Mr Bell’s educational leadership is complemented by commercial experience in a large national company where he managed Aboriginal employment strategies, leadership development programs and the business development portfolio.



Allan Blagaich
Executive Director, School Curriculum and Standards

Allan Blagaich took up this position in 2017 and is responsible for leading the development of curriculum, assessment and standards for student achievement in all schools across Western Australia. Before this, he was Chief Executive Officer of the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, appointed in 2011.

He has many years of experience in education leadership, having held executive roles in Statewide planning and metropolitan public schooling. He is a board member of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and chairs the Australasian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities' vocational education and training committee.

Mr Blagaich reports to the chair of the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, and maintains a strategic reporting relationship with the Director General.



Melesha Sands
Executive Director, Recovery Coordination

Melesha was appointed to this position in 2020 to lead our COVID‑19 recovery, having led the Department’s COVID‑19 incident management team. Melesha was appointed to Corporate Executive in 2020.

Her extensive educational leadership includes principalships at Swan View Senior High School and Belridge Secondary College, and leadership positions in regional and metropolitan secondary schools. Melesha is a 2017 Principal Fellow and has made significant contributions to the public school system in strategic planning, innovation, and progressing the Department’s Leadership Strategy.



Deborah Leavitt
Director, Communications and Media

Deborah Leavitt joined the Department in 2019 and provides strategic planning and direction for our marketing and communications. She leads the teams responsible for our public relations, marketing campaigns, media relations and internal communication.

Bringing her extensive experience in media and strategic management, Ms Leavitt comes to us from her role as Manager of ABC Radio National. She has experience in a variety of media and public relations roles, including at the ABC and the United States’ National Public Radio.

Ms Leavitt grew up in Boston and graduated from Bowdoin College and Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Political Science. She is a board member of Fremantle Press, a Fulbright Scholar selector and a committee member with Women in Media.



Richard Miles
Director, Teacher Registration

Richard Miles was appointed in 2013 and is responsible for secretariat services to the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia, including administration of registration services to more than 50 000 teachers, assessment and investigation of disciplinary and impairment matters involving registered teachers, and accreditation of initial teacher education programs.

Mr Miles has a Master of Arts (Political Science), Bachelor of Laws and Graduate Diploma in Practical Legal Training.

Mr Miles reports to the chair of the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia and the Director General.



Kevin O'Keefe
Principal Advisor, Aboriginal Education Teaching and Learning

Kevin O'Keefe joined the Corporate Executive in 2019 to provide advice and guidance drawn from his extensive experience in Aboriginal education in school and system contexts.

He has held a number of teaching and senior leadership positions in a range of schools, including leading a multi‑campus remote community school in the Western Desert as Executive Principal of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands School. He was also an executive director in the former Department of Education and Training with oversight for Aboriginal education and training, and worked as a senior research officer at Edith Cowan University leading a national research project into Indigenous education.

Kevin is a Noongar person with roots in Yued country.



Senior staff


Philippa Beamish Burton
Acting Executive Director, Finance and Commercial Services

Philippa Beamish Burton joined the Department in late 2017 as the Director Financial Planning and Resourcing. With over 15 years' experience in the Western Australian public sector, she has held senior positions at the Department for Child Protection and Family Support and Department of Communities.

Mrs Beamish Burton has a Bachelor of Business, is a Certified Practising Accountant, and in 2017 was named as the Finance Practitioner of the Year by the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Mrs Beamish Burton reports to the Deputy Director General, Education Business Services.



David Dans
Chief Information Officer

David Dans was appointed to this position in 2017 and is responsible for information and communication technology services, including strategic service delivery, infrastructure and telecommunications, e-learning and business systems, student information systems and ICT governance.

Mr Dans has over 30 years’ experience working in the technology and commercial arena for public and private sectors in Australia and overseas. Before joining the Department, he was Chief Digital Officer at Landgate.

Mr Dans reports to the Deputy Director General, Education Business Services.



John Fischer
Executive Director, Infrastructure 

John Fischer was appointed to this position in 2011 and is responsible for managing the provision of public school facilities including strategic asset management, capital works programs, and maintenance and minor works programs.

Mr Fischer previously worked for the Department of Transport for five years and Main Roads Western Australia for 32 years during which time he was project director for the Graham Farmer Freeway project.

Mr Fischer reports to the Deputy Director General, Education Business Services.



Juanita Healy
Assistant Executive Director, Curriculum, Assessment and Strategic Policy

Juanita Healy took up this position in 2017 and leads the research, development and review of Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum and assessment to support the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline and the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). Before this she was an executive director at the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Ms Healy is a member of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s Curriculum Directors' Group. She has a Master of Education (Education Administration and Policy).

Ms Healy reports to the Executive Director, School Curriculum and Standards.



Russell Dyer
Assistant Executive Director, Examinations, Certification and Testing

Mr Dyer took up this position in 2018 and is responsible for managing data reporting requirements for the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, examination logistics, certification of student achievement and implementation of NAPLAN and OLNA across all Western Australian schools. Before this he was an executive director at the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Mr Dyer has led project evaluation, review and performance monitoring activities at school and system levels.

Mr Dyer reports to the Executive Director, School Curriculum and Standards.



Catherine Shepherd
Acting Assistant Executive Director, Student Support Services, Aboriginal Education Teaching and Learning

Catherine Shepherd leads the directorate responsible for supporting achievement and outcomes in Aboriginal education teaching and learning, as well as student support services in areas such as digital learning technologies, health and wellbeing, students living with disability, and school psychology services.

Ms Shepherd reports to the Executive Director, Statewide Services.


Regional Executive Directors

Regional Executive Directors, Public Schools

Regional Executive Directors are responsible in their regions for monitoring public school performance and effectiveness, directing and overseeing delivery of support services to public schools and leading and managing operations in an environment of increasing public school empowerment.

Regional Executive Directors report to the Deputy Director General, Schools.



Saeed Amin
Regional Executive Director, Goldfields

Saeed Amin comes to this position with considerable education and leadership experience, leading and developing schools across regional WA with a focus on community relationships and improved teaching and learning.

He was most recently Principal of Broome Senior High School, and is a 2017 Principal Fellow.



Milton Butcher
Regional Executive Director, Kimberley

Milton Butcher has more than 30 years' experience with the Department in teaching and leadership positions in both regional and metropolitan secondary schools.

He has also held positions in curriculum reform and the Year 7 to secondary initiative.



Lisa Criddle
Regional Executive Director, Midwest

Lisa Criddle comes to this position from her role as Principal of Allendale Primary School.

She brings extensive experience to the role from both a school and system level, was named WA Primary Principal of the Year in 2017, and is a 2019 Principal Fellow.




Jim Webb
Regional Executive Director, North Metropolitan

James Webb was appointed to this position in 2011. His experiences in the Department span 39 years as a teacher and principal in country and metropolitan schools, as well as in leadership roles in regional offices.



Cheryl Parkin
Regional Executive Director, Pilbara

Cheryl Parkin took up this position in 2019 coming from her role as Principal of Piara Waters Primary School.

She has contributed to system-wide initiatives and reforms and brings to the role extensive experience as principal of primary schools in Piara Waters, Embleton, Boulder and Kalgoorlie. She has also been a project manager for a behaviour centre.



Sue Cuneo
Regional Executive Director, South Metropolitan

Sue Cuneo was appointed to this position in 2016, coming from her role as Regional Executive Director, Pilbara which she held since 2011.

She has more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher, deputy principal and principal in small remote schools, large metropolitan schools and district high schools. Ms Cuneo also has experience in a number of central leadership roles, including a director of schools position.



Neil Milligan
Regional Executive Director, Southwest

Neil Milligan was appointed to this position in 2011. His experiences as an education leader have covered the diversity of the State ranging from the challenges of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands to the complexities of the growing southwest.



Alison Ramm
Regional Executive Director, Southwest

Alison Ramm came to this role from her position as Regional Executive Director, Wheatbelt.

She has considerable experience in leadership positions that have helped shape and implement significant reforms in school staffing, funding, resourcing, and autonomy. She also has teaching and leadership experience in schools across the State.



Neil Darby
Regional Executive Director, Wheatbelt

Neil Darby took up this position in 2019 coming from his role as Regional Executive Director, Pilbara. Previously, he was a director of Schools Review and a director in the Goldfields, Albany and Fremantle-Peel districts.

His teaching and leadership experience includes principalships of metropolitan, regional and remote schools as well as consultant positions in science and Aboriginal education.