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.

2022 School Board Members

Adrian Hatwell – Community Member and Chairperson

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.

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.

Jason Keller – Parent Member

I am a parent to my daughter attending Baler Primary School and one son attending HSHS, both for the past two years. I have just this year (2021), joined the Baler School Board. I am looking forward to having the opportunity in being involved in the decisions being made that can impact on mine and other families children’s educations.

I was FIFO for many years before we moved up here to the Pilbara, so I have seen this town change quite a bit over the years. We are very passionate about our new home town and want to see this town and community grow and develop as it deserves.

Ashley Reeve

Lisa Armstrong – Staff Representative and Attendance Officer

I have lived in Port Hedland for 25 years and I have been involved with education for 23 years.  I have been at Baler Primary School for 9 years, originally working as an Educational Assistant. In 2017 I assumed the role of Attendance Officer for Baler PS, extending to become the Pilbara Attendance Coordinator for the Port Hedland education district. I feel very passionate about education, and being a member of the school board, I will be able to have an input in the school to ensure our children receive the best opportunity available to them in order to succeed with their education.  I look forward to working with other board members to ensure  Baler PS provides a nurturing and positive learning environment.

Profiles being updated:

  • Ashley Reeve: Parent Member
  • Adrian Hatwell: Community Member and Chairperson

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

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: