Skip to main content

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 Karen Spiller OAM CF. The Board has various associated committees.

Executive Team

Chief Executive Officer | CHRISTOPHER MOUNTFORD 

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.

DIRECTOR (SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT & PERFORMANCE) | MARK NEWHAM

Mark 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.

DIRECTOR (STRATEGIC RELATIONS) | SHARI ARMISTEAD

Shari leads a team whose areas of responsibility include political and public advocacy, strategic resourcing/school funding, research and policy, school planning, member relations, parent engagement, workplace health and safety, facilities management, emergency and issues management, public affairs, communications, professional learning and events.

Shari was appointed Director (Strategic Relations) in 2013. She began working with the leadership team on government relations and strategic communications in 2005 as a consultant and continued working with the association for six years until joining ISQ in 2011 as Principal Advisor Strategic Relations. Shari has more than 25 years of experience across the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors in senior strategic roles including Director, General Manager of a corporate consultancy, political/government advisor, media and crisis management advisor, award-winning journalist and media and crisis management trainer.

Shari is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and Board Chair of the Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network.

DIRECTOR (EDUCATION SERVICES) | JOSEPHINE WISE

Josephine leads the Education Services team at ISQ which supports teaching and learning, middle leadership development, student services and Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher Certification (HALT). Her work also involves partnerships with international academics to establish evaluation frameworks for professional learning at ISQ and oversight of the Queensland Government Educational Adjustment Program. Josephine is also leading ICT reform at ISQ.

Josephine was appointed as Director (Education Services) in 2017. She has a Masters of Education with a focus on Leadership and Management from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Josephine commenced her education career in Lutheran schools, where she worked in senior curriculum roles for more than 10 years. Josephine has influenced education nationally through her role as Manager of Policy and Programs (Professional Learning) at the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and while working at the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Josephine is currently a board member of the Queensland College of Teachers and is the Deputy Board Chair of the Queensland Educational Leadership Institute. She is also a member of faculty advisory boards for The University of the Southern Cross, and Griffith University.

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.

Back to top