Our Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is made up of the Principal, Proprietor Trustees, Parent Trustees, a Staff Trustee, and a Student Trustee. Parent and Staff Trustees are elected every three years, the student Trustee is elected annually, and the Proprietor Trustees are appointed by our College Proprietor.

The Board of Trustees is a Crown entity and is responsible for the governance of our College. The role of our Trustees is to ensure the College has a clear sense of purpose by establishing its strategic objectives, documenting these objectives in a College charter, and monitoring progress in achieving these objectives.

Image of the Catherine McAuley centre with Mercy cross in the middle

The Board closely monitors students achievement to assure themselves that students are receiving a high quality standard of education, and that resources are being used prudently to ensure the highest possible quality programmes are provided for our students.

The Board of Trustees is committed to the College’s Special Character – the Mercy charism that is an integral part of Villa Maria College. As well as maintaining the traditions of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy, the Board is especially focused on students’ achievements – whether this is inside the classroom, out on the sporting field, or on stage. Every girl is encouraged to strive to do her very best in all aspects of College life, and the Board is extremely proud of these achievements.

As a Mercy school, the Board is committed to honouring the key principles inherent in te Tiriti o Waitangi – partnership, participation and protection, to ensure that we enhance taha tinana (physical), hauora (wellbeing) taha wairua (spiritual) and taha whānau.

Members of the community are always warmly welcomed to attend Board meetings to see the Board of Trustees in action. Please see below for meeting dates.

Should you wish to make contact with the Board of Trustees,
please contact the Principal’s Secretary on (03) 348 4165.

Villa Maria College Board of Trustees

Get to know our Board members! Please click on the names to see their profile.

Johanne Curtis (Presiding Member)

I joined the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees in 2021 as a Director on the Board of Villa Maria College Ltd and on the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees. I am very pleased to have this opportunity be able to support the school and community for present and future needs. I am a past Villa Maria student, and I have one daughter who started in Year 9, 2021 with another who started 2023. My career has mostly been in food science, quality management, risk management, supplier auditing, and women’s health management. I hope to be able to share the skills I have learned over the years to give back to the school and community. I am passionate about providing opportunities for my girls to grow and learn. The school has changed a great deal since I was last here in 1989, however, the special character remains the same and I am looking forward to supporting Villa Maria College with any future requirements.

Carol McSweeney (Deputy Presiding Member & Parent Rep)

I joined the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees at the beginning of 2021. My career background is within Health (mainly nursing) here in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. My roles have been varied, including Orthopaedics, Research, Case Management, Infection Prevention, and Control, and I am currently an Immunisation Coordinator for the Canterbury region. I provide clinical support for all things immunisation/vaccine-related, formulation, and review of organisational policy and procedures. I have previously been a Proprietor’s representative on a primary school Board of Trustees for seven years. I have post-graduate qualifications in Leadership and Management and Auditing in Healthcare. I believe that some of my skills will be transferable to the education sector and I hope to offer some benefit to the board. I am looking forward to helping provide an environment where students can fully participate in their education, through effective governance led by Mercy values. I am a Mum to three, a son who completed his five years at St Bede’s College in 2020 and is now at University, another son in Year 12, and a daughter who started at Villa in Year 9 in 2021.

Stephanie Townsend (Proprietor Trustee)

In my career to date, I have worked in a variety of fields including Health Care, Human Resources, and in a commercial environment. My husband and I own two businesses and I am fortunate enough in my role as a consultant to work closely with a number of businesses across a variety of industries. My skill set and strengths lie in people management and capability, financial management, and business development, in addition to having strong commercial acumen. I welcome the opportunity to share the skills and experience outlined above in the role as a Director on the Board of Villa Maria College Christchurch Ltd and on the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees. Effective people management and a positive financial position are essential to the success of any organisation and I enjoy the opportunity to support the boards in this. As a Villa Maria College “old girl” and a practicing Catholic, both Villa and the Catholic faith are very important to me. I have been very fortunate in the opportunities I have been given in my life to date, I believe very strongly in giving back to the community to ensure others are wherever possible given similar opportunities to succeed in life.

Jeremy Higgins (Proprietor Trustee)

I joined the Board of Trustees in mid-2017. I am a quantity surveyor with experience in the process and costing of the commercial construction industry, working primarily with local government and schools. Earlier in my career I was involved in the repair and rebuild of the social housing portfolio for the Christchurch City Council. I graduated from Canterbury University with a Masters in Engineering Management, after completing a degree in chemical and process engineering. I hope to bring valuable advice and assist the board in making informed decisions. I am a former St. Thomas student and the husband of an ex-Villa girl and current Villa Maria teacher.

Gail Perriam (Proprietor Trustee)

Sarah Berger (Parent Trustee)

Villa Maria College pupil: 1979-1983 Villa Maria College Head Girl: 1983 Lifetime Member Past Pupils’ Association I joined the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees in 2019. I have recently returned to Christchurch after spending seven years working at the University of Heidelberg in Germany in a research and teaching position. I have taken up the role of Nursing Director for the Canterbury District Health Board Infection Prevention and Control Service. I have experience in quality assurance and curriculum development in tertiary education and a strong track record of collaborative leadership and strategic governance. I am motivated to serve the school community on the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees to ensure today’s Mercy girls have a bright future through a strong foundation of Gospel values, love of learning, and the Mercy charism. This foundation and the life-long friends I made in my time as a student at Villa have played a critical role in my own success, and given me the resilience to face life’s challenges. It is my time to give back by promoting and preserving this for the current generation of Mercy girls at Villa Maria College.

Sara O’Connor (Parent Trustee)

I joined the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees as a Trustee in late 2019. I am also on the Catholic Finance and Management Board and Investment Sub-Committee within the Christchurch diocese. I am a proud second-generation Villa girl and now have my own daughters at Villa Maria College. After leaving Villa Maria College I went on to study a Bachelor of Commerce and Management, at Lincoln University. I am an Authorised Financial Adviser and have been an NZX Adviser with Craigs Investment Partners since 2006. Whilst I specialise in providing investment advice and wealth management, my focus is empowering my clients to understand their investments and take control of their finances, and align with their own personal values. I am particularly passionate about educating girls to be confident with finance. I consider it a privilege to work as a Trustee and support Villa Maria in providing a holistic education for young women and am especially focused on mental health and wellness in the current environment. I strongly believe in investing time and giving back to the community and I am mindful of how I have benefited from my Catholic education. I am committed to giving the best I can to the Villa Maria College Board of Trustees.

Siobhan Bergin (Parent Trustee)

My name is Siobhan Bergin and I have 2 daughters attending Villa Maria, Niamh and Eilish.
I have previous experience as a Board member firstly 10 years as a Proprieties Representative on the Board of Trustees at Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School where I was chairperson for 5 years.
I am also on the Board for Christchurch St Vincent de Paul. Both of these Board positions have strengthened my understanding and skills in governance, strategic planning, policy-making, and financial management as well as provided me with an opportunity to learn a great deal of information about both the primary education and social services sectors.
I am currently employed by the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, in a change management role supporting and guiding the journey of change aligned with the Diocesan future plan of ‘Our Faith, Our Future’, this is the vision and the future strategic direction of the Christchurch diocese.
I am passionate about the value of education and strongly believe in transparency and strong school and parent partnerships that assist in achieving positive outcomes for our young people.
I believe that as a member of this Board of Trustees, I can contribute to the decision-making that will support the future and build on the quality learning environment that exists here at Villa Maria whilst contributing to governance to create opportunities that will assist our young women to ‘reach for the stars’.

Sarah Wiki Bennett (Parent Trustee)

Deborah Brosnahan (Principal)

Sarah Kirk (Deputy Principal Curriculum)

Jane Holt (Secretary)

Andrea Craig (Staff Representative, Beth Bugler replacing for Term 2)

Leilani Kalauta (Student Representative)

Villa Maria College Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule 2024

27 June

25 July

29 August

26 September

31 October

28 November