Sarah Lynch and Tina Bampton

Our leadership team and governance

Our leadership team is made up of experienced, passionate individuals who share a vision of a community where all are included, encouraged and empowered through learning and connection.

Leadership Team

Our dedicated team work together to ensure Foundation Learning Centre thrives.

Sarah Lynch, CEO at Foundation Learning Centre

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah’s career is a testament to her unwavering dedication to fostering growth and development in both individuals and communities. With her diverse background in Dance, Drama, Education and Training, Youth Work, and Business, she brings a unique perspective to her role at FLC.

With a passion for equality and lifelong learning, Sarah’s commitment to the community shines through in her efforts to ensure that FLC remains a cornerstone for personal growth and new beginnings.

Throughout her journey, Sarah has not only achieved significant milestones but has also made a profound impact on revenue growth, educational program development, and stakeholder relationships.

Sarah’s alignment with FLC’s core values serves as a driving force behind her dedication to the organization’s mission and vision. Her leadership and passion continue to shape FLC into a nurturing environment where individuals can thrive.

Sarah lives with her husband and 2 daughters on the Mornington Peninsula.

Tina Bampton, General Manager at Foundation Learning Centre

General Manager

Tina is an incredibly dedicated and passionate individual, committed to making a positive difference in the lives of children, young people, and disadvantaged individuals. Her extensive experience in various roles within community-based training organisations reflects her deep-rooted commitment to education, support, and care.

Her continuous pursuit of professional development and qualifications demonstrates her dedication to enhancing her knowledge and skills, ensuring that she can provide the highest level of support and service to those she works with. Her achievements, including being awarded the 2018 VET International Practitioner Fellowship, highlight her commitment to advancing her field and learning from global best practices.

Tina’s personal life, balancing her professional responsibilities with raising three sons, showcases her resilience and determination. Her focus on fairness and equity, coupled with her ability to embrace new challenges and changes, speaks volumes about her character and values.

Overall, Tina’s unwavering dedication to improving the lives of others, coupled with her strong work ethic and passion for social justice, make her an invaluable asset to the Foundation Learning Centre and the broader community.

Bron O’Callaghan Compliance and Training Manager

Compliance & Training Manager

Bron has over 18 years’ experience in the VET sector, with specialised knowledge and extensive experience in the industry. Bron has been committed to ensuring the delivery of meaningful and current training and assessment services with a focus on community and young people.

Bron is professionally driven with diverse experience in the VET sector including, management, leadership, budgets, internal auditing, risk and project management, contracts and regulatory requirements, compliance and quality assurance, data analysis and AVETMISS reporting, training and assessment, program and resource development. With qualifications in Business Education and Leadership, Architectural Drafting, Training and Assessment and Hairdressing. Bron is recognised for building relationships with stakeholders, assessing risk and developing solutions.

Bron has been part of the FLC team for more than 15 years, initially starting with us as a consultant to assist with the addition of Hairdressing to our scope of registration. Bron’s love of teaching saw her take on a role as an educator across a range of areas, before chasing her passion for compliance and moving into the Compliance & Training Manager role. Bron was a driving force behind the development of our in-house hairdressing training salon, Vogue Academy.

Tania Sacco Operations Manager

Operations Manager

Tania is passionate about FLC, and brings to her role more than 20 years experience in the Community Sector.

Tania has a background in Banking, Telecommunications and Security as well as Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas in Management, Project Management and Community Sector Management.

Always a believer in further education, she is currently undertaking a Diploma in Governance

Tania’s introduction to FLC was as a parent when her son attended Year 11 in 2017. Having 2 children on the Autism Spectrum, her own experiences have developed into a passion for helping those in the community that are less fortunate and currently also sits on a number of Boards in the not-for-profit and disability sectors.

Tania is a natural networker and brings a positive energy to FLC, ensuring her team is focused on providing that excellent customer service experience and bringing this to the community by living the FLC values.

Tania is a local, residing in nearby Hampton Park and prides herself on the Live Learn Work Local philosophy.

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Fiona Barrientos Head of Department: VET Education

Head of Department: VET Education

Fiona started at Foundation Learning Centre (then known as Narre Community Learning Centre) in 2007 as an Early Childhood Educator and VETiS Coordinator. In 2012 Fiona left to pursue new challenges, and over the ten years that followed grew her professional portfolio working for the YMCA as the Customer Experience Manager at Casey RACE and Casey ARC. Within this role, Fiona lead two large staff teams and rolled out a number of large programs and initiatives for the YMCA. Fiona also worked for two years within local the Cardinia Shire Council in their Child and Family team.

Fiona returned to Foundation Learning Centre in 2021 as part of the YPEP program, and in 2022 she moved into our Head of Department position overseeing the VET Education team.

Fiona has a great understanding of local community needs having lived within the City of Casey for over 20 years. She bases her leadership style on a values-based approach which includes excellent customer service that focuses on establishing solid and professional relationships.

Fiona looks forward to rolling out new and exciting initiatives and programs that are student lead and inclusive for all. She strives to create learning environments that are hands on, safe, fun and exciting.

In her spare time, Fiona enjoys spending time with her husband & three children. She loves going to the football and supporting her daughters on the netball court.

Donna Dowler Head of Department: Community Education

Head of Department: Community Education

Donna joined Foundation Learning Centre (then NCLC) in 2014, managing the customer service administration area. This followed many years of being affiliated with the organisation as the director of Adlib Young Performers.

In that role, Donna worked with many members of the community, supporting their search for social inclusion, or learning opportunities.

Donna has worked in numerous roles in many industries as event management, graphic design, and theatre production. Donna has spent most of her adult life involved in community theatre, and in 2011 she was honored to receive the Lindsay King Arts Award for Performing Arts in Casey, for her contribution to youth theatre.

Donna believes that in this ever-changing world, access to the front door of our community is more important than ever. To connect and learn, in a safe, non-judgmental environment where people can be themselves. The perfect place to take a breath and attend a wellbeing class, indulge a new passion, or share your own talent and skills.

Leading the Community Education area, Donna is proud of her team and the life-changing work they do every day. They support our community in taking the first step back to a career or pathway to a new career when all other options seem overwhelming. Whether it’s learning English and being in a classroom for the first time, creating your own business, or mastering new administration software, they are here to support.

Vera Pyne Head of Department: Early Intervention and Re-Engagement Education

Head of Department: Early Intervention & Re-Engagement Education

Vera started at FLC in 2022 as an educator within our Early Intervention and Re-Engagement department and then as a Learning and Curriculum Team Leader. In 2024, Vera has taken on the role of Head of Department for Early Intervention and Re-Engagement. Vera is passionate about helping young people and is driven to provide young people with access to a safe, nurturing, and inclusive education.

Vera brings more than 10 years of experience in the VET Education sector to her role, as well as a wealth of knowledge gained from working as a teacher. Vera first began her teaching journey delivering courses in Travel and Tourism, and holds qualifications in Travel/Tourism and a Diploma in Vocational Education. Her time in teaching has seen her win a number of awards for her sector, including a trip to the US!

Vera is passionate about the community and has a strong belief that we, as a community, need to build up the capabilities of our young people. Vera loves watching young people thrive in education and the benefit that a well supported learning environment has on their overall wellbeing.

Governance

Foundation Learning Centre has always been managed as an incorporated body under the Associations Incorporation Act of 1981.

In the year 2000, the committee changed to a Board of Management with a governance charter.

The members of the board are elected by FLC members at the Annual General Meeting and appointed for a term of three years. These members work alongside the Chief Executive Officer.

Additional information

Board Members

Our Board members are responsible for the governance of the organisation.

Chairperson

Helen is a born and bred Melbournian and a City of Casey resident for 34 years. She has been involved in many Casey community organisations, including the very early days with Foundation Learning Centre. She has both lived and worked in Casey over the years and has passionately committed herself to assisting and supporting the community to grow.

Helen is a life-long educator, having worked in the Victorian Education Department for 37 years including in School Principal, Regional Leader and Central contributor roles throughout her career. She has been involved in opening new schools, merging schools and closing schools, all requiring extensive skills in both strategic and people focused communication.

In 2010 Helen decided to reinvent herself as an Executive Consultant and Professional Coach. Helen is now recognised as an internationally accredited coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF) holding a number of leadership roles over the years, including President of the ICF Victorian Branch for 8 years. Most of her work is in Government bodies such as Health, Education, DWELP and numerous Vocational Education settings.

In her spare time she volunteers for a number of organisations including Foundation Learning Centre, Women Making It Work, 9th Division Sappers Association, ICF Mentoring and Supervision. She loves to travel when able, supporting her children and their families, and spends lots of her time playing with her grandchildren.

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Vice Chairperson

Michelle joined the Australian Army in 1994 and was fortunate to have built a career that combined seamlessly with her passion of helping others. This has included humanitarian engineering work in Timor Leste and Aceh Indonesia, environmental health construction in Australian indigenous communities and many South Pacific countries, and education and youth development.

Her time in the Army has given her extensive experience in leadership, planning and executing, risk management, governance and compliance, and financial management. Throughout this, Michelle has also been fortunate to have held a number of positions where she led, instructed or worked alongside adult students, adult volunteers and high-school students from diverse socio-demographic backgrounds; experiences that enriched her understanding of what is required to create an organisation and its people to thrive.

Michelle has a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)(Honours) and a Master of Engineering Science. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of Engineers Australia, an accredited Engineering Executive and Chartered Professional Engineer in both the Leadership and Management and Civil Colleges.

Michelle is now an Army Reservist, Director within Defence and a non-executive Director on a number of not-for-profit and government Boards. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two sons.

Treasurer

Ken is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Master of Finance from Melbourne University is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD) and a member of the AFLPA Agent Accreditation Board.

For more than two decades, Ken held a critical compliance and integrity role at the AFL, and was responsible for the compliance of AFL Clubs and Players with the AFL Player Rules and Collective Bargaining Agreement. This role encompassed compliance with the Total Player Payments Limit including investigations, approval of all Player agreements, management of the Football Department Soft Cap and management of the movement of Players through the Trade Period, Free Agency and the National Draft.

Prior to the AFL Ken was with international Chartered Accounting firm, Ernst & Young where he held various positions including Manager Corporate Audit, Director Corporate Finance as well as a range of other high level management positions including National General Manager Corporate Finance and General Manager of the Melbourne Office.

In his spare time Ken is a keen follower of the AFL, Cricket, enjoys snow skiing and spending time with family and friends.

Secretary

Kara has a Bachelor in Business Management through Federation University and an Advance Diploma in Accounting through Chisholm. Throughout her career, Kara has developed a wide range of skills and knowledge from working within a number of different industries, from the hardware industry to hospitality. Kara is passionate about the sharing of knowledge and skills, and this was a driving force behind her starting her own business in 2020 as an Online Business Manager, working with small businesses to help them grow.

Kara has lived, worked and studied within the City of Casey for over 20 years. She believes strongly in the benefits of lifelong education, and the importance of providing the community with the opportunity to learn in a safe and inclusive environment.
Being a part of the Foundation Learning Centre board provides Kara with the opportunity to champion these ideas and be involved in the education and development of her community.

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Board Member / Foundation College School Council President

ince 1997, Craig has dedicated his career to the field of education, advancing through various leadership positions within both state and independent sectors. He is an expert in integrating cutting-edge technologies throughout the K-12 curriculum. Currently, he serves as the Head of Digital Learning at Lauriston Girl’s School. Craig holds a Master of Education and is a certified Growth Coach, specialising in leadership and educational development.

In addition to his professional roles, Craig has contributed his expertise to several educational boards. He has been an active board member of the FLC since 2021 and presently presides as the School Council President at Foundation College. A lifelong resident of Melbourne’s southeast and a resident of Narre Warren for over two decades, Craig is deeply committed to his community. He views his board memberships as a meaningful way to contribute to the community where he has lived and thrived.

Board Member

Tushar specialises in growing and managing business for large commercial enterprises. He has worked with Australian and global organisations across multiple industries in Asia Pacific, China, Japan and USA.

Tushar has deep experience in business development and growth by helping boards and senior management of large enterprises with ways to unlock business value from emerging technology. He thrives in helping organisations balance the industry headwinds; with the needs of responsible innovative growth, governance, compliance and risk management.

Tushar holds other positions as non-executive Board member in the not-for-profit sector. He enjoys being an active participant in social enterprises such as multi-cultural community organisations in Australia and grass root level programs such as “Save our Daughters, Educate our Daughters” in India.

Tushar has a Masters’ degree in Electrical Engineering; and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Board Member

After completing 2 terms as a Casey Councillor, Ben received a number of requests from local organisations to share his wealth of experience and join their Board. The choice to join the board of Narre Community Learning Centre (as FLC was then known as) was an easy one, as it was his favourite local organisation and one he felt passionate about. Ben is so enthusiastic about how FLC helps so many people in so many ways – especially by helping people achieve their best through learning.

As our longest serving Board Member, joining us in 2006, Ben has held a number of positions including President for more than a decade, as well as Vice President.
Ben brings a wealth of experience in the local community, politics, marketing and strategic management to the Board, as well as providing insights into the growth and history of the Organisation.

When he’s not working or volunteering, Ben enjoys spending time with his children, coaching junior netball and football, and has been involved in a many other community organisations.

Board Member

Mary is an award winning Human Behaviour Specialist, Mindset Master and professional keynote speaker who has designed, built and lead teams for over three decades.

Mary is passionate about empowering people and driving change, and works extensively with CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams to guide them through challenges. Through her experiences during a long-term career in finance with ASX-listed companies, Mary identified the urgent need for specialists in Human Behaviour skills, and retrained to meet this gap.

Mary dedicates much of her time to supporting a range of charities and not-for-profits, and has given back to the community over the last 30 years through a range of positions with these organisation.

Mary brings a wide range of skills to the FLC Board, including Process, Procedure, Systems and Structures in addition to the newly acquired softer skills in People, Culture, Communication and Growth.

When Mary moved out of home at 15, she put herself through night school in Accounting to survive. She is from the South East herself and knows how impactful the sentence one person who believes in you, can be the thing that changes your life can be. Mary believes that Foundation Learning Centre is full of these life changing people and she is passionate about being part of this change.

When Mary is not out helping to change the world, you will find her with her family and grandchildren, playing and having fun – living what truly makes her happy!

FLC Membership

Members are essential to the operation of Foundation Learning Centre. FLC members help us decide on important organisation changes by sharing their thoughts and casting their vote at General Meetings and casting their vote.

Please familiarise yourself with the below prior to applying for membership:

Our history

We began decades ago as a humble drop-in centre, before expanding to become a community house and evolving to deliver across mutliple sites all serving the same vision of accessible education.

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Work with us

See what opportunities are available to join our amazing team.

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News & Events

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