WEA Hunter is governed by a Board of Directors who are volunteers from within the community.

The Board is chartered with matters pertaining to governance issues and risk management. There are 10 places on the board, including the Chairperson.

A Board of Directors is elected annually. Full Board meetings are held every second month with the executive meeting in alternate months. The Board’s primary functions are to make policy decisions and oversee the direction and operation of the company. The Board appoints an Executive Director who is responsible for the efficient and effective running of the organisation. The Executive Director of WEA Hunter is then responsible for translating the Strategic Plan into operational activities in regards to the RTO operations.

Board of Directors Profiles

Chairperson Martin Coates

Martin has served the WEA Hunter Board since 2005, a member of the Executive since 2010, and currently sits on the Human Resources sub-committee. During his 16 years with Telstra, he held various local, state and national roles. By 2009, Martin sought a new challenge and successfully applied for the role of Director City Engagement at Newcastle City Council. After five years in local government, Martin was appointed Regional Director for Defence Housing Australia. A MBA graduate of The University of Newcastle’s Graduate School of Business, Martin also holds a Diploma in Project Management and has attended many management, leadership and related courses. He is passionate about lifelong learning and the life-changing potential of education and training. Martin is proud to be a born and bred Novocastrian and is married with two adult children..

Deputy Chair Merran Magill

Merran has been a member of the WEA Hunter Board since March 2015 and currently sits on the Governance and Risk sub-committee. She is a governance professional with legal, corporate governance, risk management, audit, contracts management, privacy, project management and meetings expertise. She is an accomplished solicitor with proven ability to negotiate complex corporate transactions and commercial contracts. Merran has a strong commitment to ethical behaviour and positive leadership.

Executive Member Christopher Seysener

Chris joined the WEA Hunter Board in 2016 and currently sits on the Finance sub-committee. Chris brings significant experience across several areas, including service delivery, program governance, commercial and fiscal management and organisational change, having worked with companies such as AMP, Allianz, BHP Billiton and CSC Australia over the last sixteen years. As Chief Information Officer for the HVCCC, he is responsible for the IT, Business Analytics and PMO functions, which underpin the coordination of assets and resources throughout the Hunter Valley Coal Chain. Chris holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and Bachelor of Computer Science degrees from The University of Newcastle. Committed to contributing to the Newcastle community, Chris believes everyone has the right to a good education and that lifelong leaning enables people to develop to their full potential, lead happy and fulfilling lives and better adapt to inevitable change.

Board Member Meg McNaughton

Meg has been on the WEA Hunter Board since 2003 and was Chair from 2011 – 2015. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Industrial Relations and a Bachelor of Law and has worked at The University of Newcastle, BHP in Port Kembla, Sydney and Brisbane. She is the Director of Enterprise Law an employment law practice based in Newcastle.

Board Member Anna Starrett

Anna joined the WEA Hunter Board in 2005. She is a finance manager for a national group of companies in the industrial engineering products space. Anna worked in Chartered Accounting firms for her first twenty years before moving to commercial roles in the manufacturing industry. Anna has undertaken several large scale training consultancies in her career, working with clients such as the Master Builders Association and the Department of Sport and Recreation to develop and deliver training packages. She is a facilitator for the Institute of Chartered Accountants, facilitating training sessions for Hunter CA candidates. She is active in the community, holding various positions (President, Secretary, Treasurer) on local P&Cs and community organisations during the past ten years. She is currently the treasurer of Merewether High School P&C. Anna is a member of the AICD and CAANZ.

Board Member Peter Hill

Peter has been a member of the WEA Hunter Board since 1998. He originally trained at university as a high school English and History teacher and worked for many years in that role. Peter has taught in a variety of settings including state high schools, catholic high schools, and TAFE. Peter now lectures and tutors at The University of Newcastle in the School of Education and in the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre. He has spent most of his adult life studying part-time and is currently undertaking studies leading to a PhD.

Board Member Megan Lugg

Megan joined the WEA Hunter Board in April 2015 and currently sits on the Governance and Risk Management sub-committee. She brings extensive experience in vocational, community and higher education including five years as President of the Hunter Community College Council. Megan resides in Newcastle where she holds a management role in the public sector specialising in risk management and evaluation. Megan has held positions at the Hunter Institute of TAFE and at The University of Newcastle, and executive positions on Hunter EdNet and the Hunter Lifelong Learning Network. She joined the Board to further contribute and continue her long association with education in the Hunter.

Board Member Brian Doyle

Brian joined the WEA Hunter Board in 2016. An honorary Life Member of the Law Society of NSW, he is a retired prominent lawyer having been a partner of Turnbull Hill Lawyers where he specialised in criminal, sports and media law. He was a former Chair, and now Life Member, of ANZSLA (Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association) and a director of ASP (an international group of sports lawyers and administrators). Brian has lectured on sports law in London, Lausanne, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Wellington, Auckland and most Australian capital cities. He has also guest lectured at universities in the Netherlands, Griffith (Queensland), Newcastle and UNSW. Brian was the inaugural chair of the Hunter Youth Mentor Collaborative and is a Life Member. He is currently on the Newcastle committee of the Leukaemia Foundation and regularly assists with fund raising activities. In June 2016, Brian was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition for his service to the law and his community.

Board Member Samantha Atkin

Samantha Atkin joined the WEA Board of Directors April 2016. She is a University of Newcastle graduate (Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Finance, majoring in econometrics) and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australia and New Zealand. Samantha has held various senior analytical roles in ASX listed and Multi-National organisations (Shell Group, Sandvik and WesTrac), focusing on engineering and manufacturing industries. Samantha also has exposure of the not for profit sector working for Australia Rugby Union (Wallabies) in Sydney. She is passionate about supporting the Newcastle community, particularly youth education and development.

WEA Hunter Senior Management – Profiles

Executive Director Rowan Cox

After experiencing what she describes as a “challenging” adolescence where education wasn’t stressed to her as a priority, Rowan has devoted much of her life to ensuring that doesn’t happen to other people who are disconnected from support mechanisms.

Her community services career started with youth work in an agency that combined education with services for disadvantaged young people. She quickly recognised the connection between education and social capital and has been working with WEA for 17 years.

Rowan has developed expertise in educational governance and compliance with employment highlights including establishing the need for and co-founding Alesco Learning Centre (at WEA Hunter) where she was appointment General Manager and then Executive Director of WEA Hunter.

Additionally, Rowan has significant skills in facilitating and training; curriculum and policy writing; leadership; and systems development.

Rowan is currently undertaking a Master of Business Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Science) along with qualifications in counselling, youth work, community welfare and social science.

Senior Finance & Business Manager – Michael De Lyall

Starting his career as an accountant, Michael brings 30 years' broad experience and expertise in finance and business management. Before joining WEA Hunter, he was chief financial officer for Master Builders Association Newcastle where his many roles and responsibilities included company secretary and building manager.

Michael’s career achievements include transforming a fledgling Group Training Organisation (GTO) into a sustainable, multi awarded and well respected market leader, improving investments and cash flows of an industry association and securing multiple government grants.

His role at WEA Hunter involves managing financial matters with a strong focus on developing business and customer services. Specialising in areas including governance, compliance, IT and system controls, Michael ensures the organisation is working to the highest standards while continually looking for opportunities to improve services for all stakeholders.

With a passion to support people and achieve productive outcomes, he has served on numerous industry and community advisory boards during the past three decades.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce, is a Fellow of CPA Australia (FCPA) and a Justice of the Peace (JP).

Senior Education Services Manager – Nicola Bartlett

A career in the military, education and compliance is behind the latest recruit to WEA Hunter’s senior management team.

Nicola Bartlett has been appointed as the Senior Education Services Manager of the Hunter based educational and training organisation.

Nikki established her love of the education sector when she studied at university and then became a lecturer in the United Kingdom. She then joined the Royal Air Force where she spent 18 years working across military theatres around the globe specialising in logistics.

After moving to Australia almost nine years ago, Nikki worked in compliance for the energy, community and training sectors at a number of local and national organisations where she was again able to connect with her professional passion for vocational educational and training.

Alesco Senior College Principal – Theresa Pantalone

Working as Head Teacher and now Principal at Alesco Senior College, Theresa has always been passionate about helping young people achieve their true potential.

In her early career, Theresa wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives after identifying a lack of support for youth services in her local area. She became actively involved in the youth sector, served on the Lake Macquarie Youth Advisory Committee and received the Junior Citizen of the Year award for setting up Youth Services in the West Lakes region.

Theresa gained a wealth of experience and insight into working with people during her 15 year career in the retail industry and management. Her experiences led her to believe that with better educational opportunities, young people could change their life journey to achieve more positive outcomes.

Theresa is currently studying a Master of Educational Leadership and Management, holds a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education and a Cert IV TAE (Training and Assessment).

WEA Foundation Manager – Wendy Ratcliffe

Wendy possesses extensive skills in educational and school governance and compliance, and has worked at WEA for the past 16 years. She is an accomplished teacher and facilitator, with expertise in developing curriculums, writing policy, and systems development.

Wendy’s employment highlights include co-founding Alesco Senior College and supporting other community colleges in developing their own Alesco model.

WEA Hunter launched its Foundation in April 2014 to provide ongoing support for innovative educational programs that are making a real difference to people’s lives. The Foundation began its work for students participating in the Alesco Senior College program and, through community generosity and corporate partnerships, delivered financial educational resources for teachers and students.

Appointed Foundation manager in 2016, Wendy continues to drive innovative programs such as ‘The Village’ initiative that delivers special educational support for teenage mums, along with WEA 200: Legends of Learning program that offers scholarships of at least $200 to people who have difficulties accessing education.

She is committed to supporting teenagers to reach their potential and believes her career chose her to fulfil this role.

Wendy holds a Master of Education, Bachelor of Arts and Diploma in Education.

Organisational Chart

WEA Hunter is a large and complex organisation. A copy of our current organisational chart can be found here.