Somerville House and the PMSA


Somerville House is one of four outstanding schools owned by the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association (PMSA) along with our sibling schools Brisbane Boys’ College, Clayfield College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School

Established in 1918, the PMSA is a joint mission of the Uniting Church of Australia, Queensland Synod and the Presbyterian Church of Queensland.  The Churches formed the PMSA to purchase Brisbane High School for Girls (now Somerville House) and Clayfield College (now Brisbane Boys’ College) in 1918

More than 100 years on, the PMSA is a financially strong, not-for-profit organisation that plays a vital role in setting the direction of each school and the connecting link between the schools and the two churches. All PMSA schools offer a unique ecumenical learning environment where children learn Christian values common to two churches, not the beliefs and practices of just one church.

The PMSA works together with the Somerville House School Council and Principal to provide:

  • a caring, Christian-based culture 
  • high quality programs for developing teaching excellence 
  • financial strength and support
  • human resources, legal and compliance support
  • governance and policy-making support, particularly around child safety

More about PMSA History.

PMSA Board

The PMSA is run by a board which comprises 13 members. Up to five PMSA Board members are each appointed by the Presbyterian Church and the Uniting Church and up to three are directly appointed by the PMSA Board.  The PMSA Board is supported by three committees, a School Council for each of the schools and the PMSA corporate office. 

More about the PMSA Board Members

Somerville House School Council

Somerville House School Council is made up of up of nine members including two PMSA Board members, up to six independent School Council members appointed from the school’s community, and the school Principal, who is a non-voting member. The Somerville House School Council is delegated the responsibility to govern and administer the performance of the school. The School Council’s role includes: 

  • establishing and implementing the Somerville House business and strategic plans.
  • monitoring the management of risks within Somerville House.
  • overseeing Somerville House’s financial and operational performance against KPIs.
  • ensuring Somerville House adheres to all policies and procedures including child protection. 
  • overseeing new School Council member appointments. 
  • being actively involved in the process of appointing the school Principal. 
  • managing the ongoing performance of the school Principal. 

The school Principal reports to the School Council and is responsible for the daily operations of the school. 

For more information about the School Council’s roles and responsibilities, please see the Somerville House School Council Charter.

When positions on the Somerville House School Council are vacant, they will be advertised on the Somerville House website, the school newsletter, the PMSA website, and appropriate websites for board positions available.  

The Current Somerville House School Council Members are:

Mr Jim Demack, Chairman

Jim Demack was appointed the Chairman of the Somerville House School Council in 2017 and is also a member of the PMSA Board appointed by the Uniting Church. 

A lawyer and a Brisbane partner of a national law firm, Jim brings his legal skills with experience in major engineering and infrastructure projects, insurance, litigation and commercial law. He has a collaborative approach to problem solving in dealing with the issues that arise for both the Somerville House School Council and the PMSA Board.

  • Chairman - Somerville House School Council 
  • Member - Somerville House School Council 
  • PMSA Board member (first appointed 2013, current term until 2021) 
  • Member - PMSA Nominations and Human Resources Committee
  • Practising solicitor specialising in all aspects of construction law, particularly major engineering and infrastructure projects, insurance and litigation
  • Partner - Gadens Lawyers
  • Member - Legal Reference Committee, Uniting Church Queensland Synod

Mrs Margaret Berry 
BA, MSc, MEd (Leadership)

Margaret Berry has been appointed as a Uniting Church representative on the PMSA Board and is currently the Principal at Robertson State School.

Margaret has a passion for the education of young people and has a long career in the leadership of school communities. Her daughter and sisters attended Somerville House and extended family members attend Brisbane Boys' College. Margaret has worked with school councils for over 10 years.  She has joined the PSMA Board at a time in her career where she feels she can add value and support to the PMSA's work. 

Margaret has more than 30 years experience teaching in both primary and secondary schools. Since 1998, she has held leadership positions of Head of Department, Deputy Principal and Principal of secondary schools and current Principal of a primary school. With a Certificate of Teaching, Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Education (Leadership), and a Master of Science, Margaret brings a wealth of educational experience to the Somerville House School Council and the PMSA Board.

  • Member - Somerville House School Council 
  • PMSA Board member (first appointed 2018, current term until 2021)
  • Principal - Robertson State School
  • Member - Queensland State Primary Principals Association
  • President - South Branch Queensland Association for Gifted & Talented Children
  • Member - Queensland College of Teachers
  • Member - Uniting Church Schools Commission
  • Member - Australian Institute of Company Directors

Dr Russell Bird

A specialist ear, nose and throat surgeon, Russell Bird has a long history with Somerville House. A founding director on the Somerville House Foundation and former chairman, he has been a member of the School Council for 15 years. His four daughters were students and one of his granddaughters is a current student.  

Russell is currently the deputy chairman of the WorkCover Tribunal and a board member of Attune Hearing, Australia’s largest full-service audiology company. He brings this experience to the Somerville House School Council.  

  • Member – Somerville House School Council (first appointed 2003, current term until 2020)
  • Deputy Chair – WorkCover Tribunal
  • Board member – Attune Hearing

Mr Con Graves 
BA Hons (Psych), GDipMan, MEd, AMICDA

With a Master of Education and almost 20 years working as an administrator in post school education, Con Graves is passionate about education. Con has held positions as a corporate services and technology executive leader with the Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, a Director of Information Services at Griffith University and currently sits on the management committee of the Wesley Mission’s RTO.

A retired psychologist, Con brings his extensive experience in strategic leadership, change management and innovation to the PMSA Board and the Somerville House School Council.

  • Member - Somerville House School Council 
  • PMSA Board member (first appointed 2017, current term until 2020)
  • Retired psychologist
  • Deputy Chair - Wesley Mission Queensland 
  • Associate Member - Institute of Community Directors of Australia

Mr Peter Thompson
BA (Hons)  

Peter Thompson was appointed to the Somerville House School Council in 2018. A UK qualified chartered accountant and investment banker, Peter studied philosophy, politics and economics at St John’s College, Oxford. He spent most of his career in investment banking providing financial advice to international companies. 

Moving to Australia in 2005, Peter began his association with Somerville House in 2007 when his daughter commenced at the school. Peter is a past treasurer of Somerville House Parents & Friends Association, a director (and briefly chairman) of the Somerville House Foundation. He is a continuing donor to the Somerville House Foundation. 

Peter brings his strong finance, investment and corporate finance skills to the Somerville House School Council.

  • Member – Somerville House School Council (first appointed 2018, current term until 2021)
  • Former chartered accountant and investment banker
  • Former Managing Director - UBS Investment Bank 

Mrs Kim Kiepe, School Principal
MEd (Leadership & Management), BEd, DipT, MACEL, GAICD

Kim’s teaching and leadership experience in both girls’ and co-educational school settings extends over thirty-five years.  Appointed as Principal at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls in 2015, Kim’s teaching career has spanned the government and independent school sectors and TAFE settings.  Kim has extensive school leadership experience, including roles as Head of Year, Senior Years’ Co-ordinator, Head of Boarding and Deputy Principal.  

A strong background in girls’ education within Christian schools has been very rewarding in terms of helping students reach their personal best. An awareness of the importance of a collaborative and professional culture led to postgraduate study in Masters of Educational Leadership and Management.  Kim’s interest in governance, compliance, marketing and financial oversight in education has been supported through further study; she is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Kim has a great passion for leading staff in supporting the aspirations of all students, by maintaining a philosophy of encouraging girls to strive for personal excellence and develop into happy, confident and connected young women. Her personal belief is based on a commitment to intellectual endeavour, staff development and student wellbeing. 

“By creating a rich learning environment, with a strong focus on developing and nurturing of the whole person, my belief is that students can feel self-motivated and empowered to achieve their personal aspirations. Further, a school culture that places emphasis on the growth of quality relationships and a social awareness contribute to a student’s sense of purpose in a global sense.”  Throughout her teaching life, Kim has been influenced by Aristotle’s thinking - “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  

On commencing as the twelfth Principal of Somerville House, Kim commented “I am looking forward to joining with the School community to celebrate the strong traditions of the past, while building on the School’s vision to provide the support and encouragement for students to become the best they can be.  It is my intention to work with the School’s staff to find innovative methods of facilitating learning, while promoting a culture of high expectations.”

PMSA Vision and Values

All PMSA schools play an important role in educating and guiding young people with values for life. Founded on strong Christian values – relationships, care, ethics, personal development, excellence and celebration – Somerville House and other PMSA schools share these collective values. The four schools work collaboratively to share their knowledge and expertise to enhance the educational experience across all schools. 

More about PMSA Christian mission, vision and values.