Our People

Our Committee

The Country Education Partnership is managed by an elected Committee of Management.

 The CEP Committee of Management is elected annually by the members of the Partnership. It is chaired by an invited individual who possesses extensive expertise and knowledge of rural and remote education. To guide its work, the Committee of Management has a ‘Compact’ which details the mission, values, key focus areas, roles and operations of the committee.

Committee of Management Compact

 The committee further consists of several key stakeholders who sustain an active interest in rural education. The below table details our current committee members: 



Peter Greenwell


Jodi Walters

Swan Hill


Kevin Hill


Committee Members


Jason Whiteley


Kimberley Tempest


Leigh Mellberg


Joanne Amott


Patricia Perry


Samantha Meerbach

CEO Office – Ballarat Diocese

Kimberley Tempest

Daniel ForrestWedderburn
Arn Gorman
Lachlan Day Meredith
Trish Perry Lancaster
Ashley Marsh Sandhurst
Damian LappinLoch Sport




Our Staff

Mark McLay

Mark McLay

Mark commenced in the role of CEO of Country Education Partnership in January 2022.

Mark has over thirty years experience in Education, twenty three years of those as Principal. He has experience working in rural South Australia, Northern Territory and Victoria. Mark has a Dip Ed in Educational Psychology and is passionate about supporting the mental health of both students and staff in rural and regional areas.

Mark is dedicated to continuing to progress CEP’s success in the Rural Inspire Program, Cluster initiatives and Energy Breakthrough. He will also focus on supporting CEP’s membership base, continuing to be the voice of rural education in Victoria.

Trish Hodge

Trish Hodge

Business Manager


Trish began working with CEP in 2005.

She has extensive knowledge of finance and administration support, highlighted by a period of twelve years, from 1982 to 1994, working in the Australian Airforce, in the areas of finance and purchasing.

She made her first step into the education sector in 2002, working as an Executive Assistant with her local North East Tracks LLEN.

Kira Dullard

Kira Dullard

Social Media Manager 


Kira joined the CEP team in 2022 as the Social Media Manager.

With several years of experience working in the digital design industry within Melbourne, Kira brings a wealth of knowledge to CEP.

Having grown up in a small community, travelled and now living in a rural town, Kira has a passion for engaging with and providing value to rural communities.

Kira is looking forward to promoting awareness about the opportunities CEP offers for rural residents across a range of digital channels.

Kira Dullard

Shane Mathison

Project Manager


Shane joined CEP in 2023 as a Project Manager.

He began his education career as a PE teacher in 1996 and after taking on a range of roles has spent 7 years as a secondary school Assistant Principal in Ballarat.

With a passion for supporting all students, but a focus on working with students at risk of disengagement, Shane is dedicated to working with rural schools in the provision of innovative, high quality and inclusive education.

Kira Dullard

Annette Driscoll

Mentor ‘Teach Rural’ Program


Annette commenced working with CEP in 2023 as part of the new ‘Teach Rural’ program.

She comes to the CEP team with over 35 years of teaching experience in country Victoria. She is passionate advocate for rural education and is keen to share this with pre-service teachers.

Annette is looking forward to supporting the needs of schools in rural areas so they can achieve the best outcomes possible.

Kira Dullard

Maurice Billi

Project Manager


Maurice joined CEP in 2023 as a project manager.

He has spent the last 20 years working in the community health sector as a Youth services manager and School Focussed Youth service Coordinator.

He has a passion for supporting rural and remote schools, with a focus on working to support those that are disadvantaged or have attendance related issues.

Maurice is looking forward to working with rural schools across the state and connecting with other key service providers.

Kira Dullard

Susan Jackson

Manager ‘Teach Rural’ Program


Susan commenced work with CEP in October 2022 at the inception of the Teach Rural pilot program.

She joins the CEP team with over 30 years experience in rural and regional education, including Principal and Curriculum Consultant. She also has Project Manager and community Board Member experience. She is an author and publisher of a series of children’s farming books and continues to work with her family to run their farm located in central Victoria.

Susan has a passion for and will continue to advocate for rural education. She is dedicated to encouraging pre-service teachers to join the rural and remote teaching workforce.

Our Consultants


CEP currently engages the following consultants:

Kira Dullard

Brendan Ryan

Brendan commenced working with CEP in 2022 as a team member for the free Professional Development Series initiative. 

He comes to CEP following 50 years of teaching and leading country schools in the South West area of the state. He continues to support and advocate on behalf of country schools and their communities.

Brendan is looking forward to supporting the professional needs of schools in rural areas so they can continue to thrive and address the on-going challenges facing rural school settings.

Kira Dullard

Nigel Preston

Nigel first ‘caught the Energy Breakthrough bug’ from his older brother in 1995 and then helped launch the Energy Breakthrough (EB) program at Eaglehawk Secondary College with his dad and some school mates way back in 1998. Having participated in the EB for four years, he began volunteering to help with the event management straight after school and has been helping out in a mixture of roles ever since.

In his role with CEP, Nigel supports schools to make the most of their Energy Breakthrough programs right across the country.

Kira Dullard

Madison Downing

Madison commenced working with CEP in 2023 to assist Kira with various marketing projects

She comes to CEP with years of experience in marketing including social media, Meta advertising, website updates, EDM development and collateral design. 

Madison can’t wait to support the CEP team with projects in the future, including their popular Professional Development Series.