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About ISQ

Queensland independent schools, sometimes referred colloquially in the community as private schools, are not-for-profit education institutions that are as diverse as the students they educate and the communities they serve.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) is a not-for-profit peak body, dedicated to championing independent schools across the state. 

We are committed to: 

  • enhancing school-wide performance, robust governance and improved student outcomes 
  • promoting excellence and leading research in education-related public policy 
  • delivering quality professional learning  
  • fostering collaboration and continual growth across the sector
  • being a united and powerful voice for Queensland independent schooling. 

ISQ is governed by a Board of Directors and day-to-day operations are managed by CEO, Christopher Mountford, an executive team and more than 60 staff based in its Brisbane (Spring Hill) office.

ISQ's Board of Directors is chaired by Dr Phillip Moulds OAM. The Board has various associated committees.

Executive Team

Chief Executive Officer

Christopher Mountford was appointed the CEO for Independent Schools Queensland in June 2021. Previously, he held the position of Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia. He has specific expertise in the areas of policy, government advocacy and commercial activities.

Christopher has more than two decades of experience in member-based advocacy organisations and government relations. Importantly, he also has an exceptional understanding of government regulation and has been influential on numerous state and local government advisory boards.

Christopher holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and a Bachelor of Economics and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He is also a volunteer Parent Ambassador for Act for Kids; an Australian charity focused on treating and preventing child abuse.

Chief Operating Officer

Stuart McDowall commenced with ISQ in 2022. He has more than 20 years of professional experience in financial, systems and project management, having worked as a management consultant and in corporate support roles. Stuart has delivered a wide range of growth and change initiatives for public sector, not-for-profit and corporate entities.

Stuart recognises the importance of education in our society and is proud to contribute to ISQ’s leadership and support to the independent school sector.

Stuart has qualifications in business and information technology and is a Chartered Accountant.


Mark Newham was appointed Director (Education Performance & Development) in November 2010 after initially joining ISQ in 2003 as Program Officer, Literacy. Mark negotiates and manages the implementation of a range of programs and funding agreements with federal and state governments in areas including teacher quality, disengaged students and leadership. He represents independent schools on state and national committees and working groups.

Previously, Mark held various teaching and administrative positions in government and non-government schools. He has post-graduate qualifications in education and organisational development.


Andrea Sackson joined ISQ as Assistant Director (Research, Policy and Communications) in June 2022. She brings a wealth of experience as a corporate affairs and advocacy specialist, with a successful track record in growing and protecting corporate reputations and building relationships with communities and stakeholders. 

 Andrea has worked as both a consultant and in-house for organisations including RACQ, Bank of Queensland, the RNA and Endeavour Foundation; as well as Media Adviser for the Deputy Whip of the Federal House of Representatives and State Minister for Environment.

Andrea has a passion for research and evidence-based advocacy to bring about positive change in policy and outcomes for the community.


Johannes Solymosi holds the position of Assistant Director (School Services) at Independent Schools Queensland in which he oversees the delivery of the ISQ Governance Program. With experience as an educator in Germany and Australia, he has been the principal of two Queensland independent schools.

He facilitates board and principal performance reviews and consults on strategy, risk and corporate restructures. He advises board chairs and directors on effective governance practices and supports schools in the management of high-stakes regulatory issues. In a previous role, he conducted school improvement reviews around the state.

Johannes holds several not-for-profit board positions, has degrees in Education and Business Administration (MBA), and is a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course and Oxford University’s Executive Leadership Programme.


Sheridan Fisher is Assistant Director (Teaching and Learning) at Independent Schools Queensland with responsibility for overseeing Curriculum and Assessment, Teacher Quality and Teaching and Learning teams. Further, she chairs ISQ school performance, teaching and learning reviews, leadership reviews and conducts school improvement work with ISQ member schools.

Sheridan has over 25 years of cross-sectorial experience in both national and international school contexts, working in senior leadership positions within schools and systems roles across international schools.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), QELi Board Director; Council of International School Accreditation Evaluator and AITSL Nationally Certified Assessor (HALT), Sheridan enjoys building strong, relational communities where excellent educational outcomes are based on a culture of care.


Peter Ruffini joined Independent Schools Queensland in 2017 as Assistant Director (Employee Relations), with responsibility for overseeing the Employee Relations team.

Peter is an experienced Workplace Relations practitioner, having worked in both private and public sector industrial relations for over 15 years and holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. Peter has particular experience in the area of enterprise bargaining in highly unionised sectors and has worked for both State and Federal Departments of Industrial Relations/Employment Relations, other peak employer industrial associations, and in Executive Employee Relations (ER) leadership roles in large corporations.

Peter is also an experienced advocate in the Fair Work Commission in matters including unfair dismissal claims, and formal industrial disputation, both on behalf of clients and as the employer representative.

Related bodies

Queensland Independent Schools Block Grant Authority (QIS BGA) is wholly owned by ISQ and is a not-for-profit company that receives and distributes capital funds to independent schools in Queensland, on behalf of the Australian and Queensland Governments.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network (QISPN) is the representative body for the parents and carers of children attending independent schools. It is governed by a board of directors and is supported by ISQ.

ISQ is a member of Independent Schools Australia, the national peak body for independent schooling in Australia.

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