School Board

At the end of 2018 Baler Primary School was successful in its application to become an INDEPENDENT PUBLIC SCHOOL (IPS) and as such now has the exciting process of transitioning from a School Council to a School Board.

The Board of an independent public school works with the school community to achieve the best outcomes for students.

While members of the school council may be re-elected to the new board, establishing the board of an Independent Public School is an opportunity to attract a broader cross-section of people with a range of experience and expertise. Strong community and industry representation ensures the board can make an even more significant contribution to the development of the school.

The board can have an important influence on the direction of the school, with members bringing ideas and lending their expertise to strategic planning, and community partnerships. Professional skills in areas such as management, finance, procurement, marketing and cultural knowledge support the principal and strengthen the school’s capacity to meet the needs of its students.

2019 School Board Members

Michelle Boothey – Community Member and Chairperson

I’m a parent of two past students over the last seven of the eight years and have been on the School Committee (now Board) for four years with the last three years as Chairperson. I look forward to spending the remainder of this year transitioning from a Council to consolidating as a Board.  I look forward to working with members of the board and of the wider school community to ensure that Baler continues to grow and develop while fostering a safe and welcoming environment for Students, Staff, Parent and Caregivers, visitors and the wider community while  catering to  the needs of our Baler cohort of students.

Karen Burgess – Principal

As Principal of Baler PS I am very proud of the inclusive nature of our school.  Our supportive, enthusiastic and dedicated staff are committed to providing the best educational outcomes for our students.  In my 34 years as an educator I would have to say that Baler PS has one of the most positive cultures, and welcoming nature, of any school that I have experienced.  I began my teaching career in the wheat-belt as a classroom teacher and have worked across many regional areas including Wongan Hills, Yerecoin, Cadoux, Exmouth, Laverton and currently South Hedland (since the start of 2017).  Having been raised in Jurien Bay, (with family ties still there) my heart has always been in regional areas.  During my long teaching career I have only had one metropolitan appointment and after 12 years in the city I was eager to return to regional areas where I love the ‘family’ feel about country schools.  I have a strong belief that education empowers students with choices in life; primary school education provides the critical foundations for those choices and subsequently a student’s later achievements in life. I am excited about Baler’s future and keen to continue to work in partnership with the school and community to build stronger ties as I truly believe a strong and supportive community is paramount to a school’s success.

Jeanette Hasleby: Community Member

I started started my career as a languages teacher and moved into training, curriculum development and project management in the Department of Education.  I’ve had extensive experience in curriculum, policy and strategy development and have been responsible for state-wide strategies for WA public schools for students at risk, attendance and behaviour management. I’ve held a wide number of roles in the education sector including Director in the WA Department of Education overseeing services for students in school attendance, behaviour management, child protection, disabilities and several national projects.

In November 2011 I took up an opportunity at Roy Hill to develop the community agenda including Native Title, Aboriginal employment and business development. I also manage the Roy Hill Community Foundation, a partnership between 12 companies, which supports education, health and arts and cultural projects in the Pilbara.

I’m proud to be a member of the Baler Board and will support the school community in any way I can.


Hailee Heta – Parent Member (President Baler P & C)

I represent the P and C Association on the School Board. I am also a mother of three children (soon to be four) that attend Baler Primary School.

I wanted to be a part of my children’s schooling and what better way than to volunteer my time to the school and become part of an integral unit. I am excited to be on this new journey as an Independant Public School (IPS) and look forward to many more successful moments.

Suellen Paine – Parent Member

I have been a parent of children at Baler Primary School since 2009, having two children go through all their primary school years and are well into high school with one child currently in Year Four. I have watched the school grow and develop with each year that my children have been here. But also seen the change throughout my life since I grew up here in Port Hedland, all my life.

I joined the staff as a causal Educational Assistant (EA) in 2015 before moving to a new position at another school last year. I’ve been on the council/board since 2016. I joined as I’m extremely passionate about the education of the Baler students and building our school into an amazing educational provider.

Sonya Orford – Staff Representative and Deputy Principal

Passionate about education and equality for all, I am eager to represent the staff and students of Baler Primary School by volunteering to be on the School Board. As one of the school’s three Deputy Principals, I am able to share the perspectives of Early Childhood (ECE) and Integrated Computer Technology (ICT) education at the school. I have enjoyed working here for the past 18months, settling in well as I was a resident in Port Hedland as a graduate teacher some 30 years ago. I am excited about the future direction of Baler PS and am proud to be an active member of this dynamic group whom are all keen to implement change that will benefit the school’s and student’s future.

Kerry Orr – Staff Representative and Literacy Coordinator

My name is Kerry Orr and I am currently in my 8th year teaching at Baler Primary School. I am passionate about ensuring that all student are given the opportunity to grow and develop in all aspects of their learning, and given the opportunity to demonstrate their achievements and journey on all levels. I am currently the Literacy Support Coordinator which has given me the opportunity to develop Whole School Planning documents and quality intervention program as a platform to showcase their success. I am looking forward to offering my knowledge of the Baler school community and professional experience to the Baler Primary School Board of 2019.

Profiles being updated:

  • Ashley Reeve: Parent Member
  • Eldride Edwards: Parent Member
  • Adrian Hatwell: Parent Member

Functions of a School Board

  • establishing and reviewing from time to time, the school’s objectives, priorities and general policy directions;
  • the planning of financial arrangements necessary to fund those objectives, priorities and directions;
  • evaluating the school’s performance in achieving them; and
  • formulating codes of conduct for students at the school.

Determine, in consultation with students, their parents and staff a dress code for students when they are attending or representing the school.

Promote the school in the community


  • charges and contributions for the provision of certain materials, services and facilities;
  • extra cost optional components of educational programs;
  • items to be supplied by a student for personal use in an educational program;
  • the school’s Funding Agreement;
  • any agreements or arrangements for advertising or sponsorship in relation to the school


Our Code of Conduct

Frequently asked questions

The Roles and Responsibilities of School Boards

2020 School Board Calendar

Roles & Responsibilities

The School Board plays an important role in contributing to good school governance so that school resources are used efficiently and community expectations and the school’s priorities reflect the needs of students. This means taking part in the shaping and monitoring of the school’s objectives, priorities and general policy directions.  The functions of boards are covered by legislation and include both approval and advisory roles. 

Boards make these decisions with the principal who ensures the decisions adhere to legislative and policy requirements. Principals also seek the advice of boards so as to understand local community views.

The board does not intervene in the control or management of the school. This is the role of the principal.  This is Principal provides educational leadership and effective day-to-day administration, supervision and control of the school, its staff and students

Further information on School Boards in the WA Education system is available here: