School Association & Board

School Association

Deutsche Schule Melbourne is a not-for-profit incorporated association with more than 180 members. Members support the success of the school in various ways. They are involved in different working groups or committees, support school events or are members of the board.

Most board members are elected representatives of the school association. In addition, the German-Lutheran Trinity Church and the German-Catholic St. Christophorus Church hold one board position each.

Annual membership fees are $27.50 for one person or $55.00 for the whole family. You can find the application form here.

Organisations can support the school directly by entering a sponsorship agreement. For further details please contact our Business Manager, Barbara Walsh.

Deutsche Schule Melbourne operates the following gift funds that can accept your kind donations:

All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.


The Board is responsible for the overall governance and performance of the Deutsche Schule Melbourne. It oversees the school management team and the members of the Board are personally liable under common Australian company law.

A conversation with our Chair: Florian Dehne

Deutsche Schule Melbourne - Chair - Florian Dehne

What inspired DSM?

I moved to Australia in 2002 from Hannover, Germany. After our first child was born, we wanted to nurture her multicultural identity.

Around that time, the Principal of the German International School in Sydney came to speak with Melbourne’s German-Australian community. He was so passionate about bilingual education and his ideas really resonated with me.

I believe this experience planted the seed for DSM.

Can you describe the journey so far?

DSM started out with only 14 students. Now we teach around 160 children – representing a level of growth that exceeded all our expectations.

In the early days, our staff, Board members and volunteers worked closely together to establish and develop our school operations. Over time, their roles have evolved significantly.

Today, our Board is responsible for governance and ensuring DSM stays true to its vision and mission.

How did you develop the leadership team for DSM?

Since the start, we wanted to find capable, motivated people who are the right cultural fit for DSM.

Every Board member and leader has the school’s best interests at heart. They fulfil their roles with passion – and do everything with empathy and respect.

As a result, we have created a positive, productive team who is committed to leading DSM into the future.

How would you describe the DSM of today?

We are in a great place, in more ways than one.

Our academic outcomes are exceptional. But even more importantly, our students love coming to school every day.

Although students move on to local secondary schools after Year 6, we are still able to empower them through our German Language Program for Secondary School Students. This helps them succeed in VCE German and obtain their B2 or C1 qualification according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – their key to studying in German at a university in Germany, Switzerland or Austria. 

What does the future look like for DSM?

We are constantly growing, which brings opportunities to do more… and do better.

Since we began in 2008, we’ve aspired to expand from a primary school into a secondary school too.

Why? Because we want to enrich our students’ lives even more. Our goal is to offer a Mixed Language IB that is approved by the German government and equivalent to the 'Abitur'.

I am excited that we are going to launch a DSM Secondary School in 2025 and look forward to growing our school even further. 

Board Member Committee
Florian Dehne (Chair)
Florian is Chairman and one of the founders of the school. He led the start-up of the school and since its opening has focused on school development and governance. He is also a member of the HR committee. Florian has a background in management consulting and driving the growth of internet businesses - currently with SEEK.
Human Resources
Christine Baumberg
Christine is a financial lawyer and has strong links to the DSM community. Christine's international experience includes working at law firms in Germany, New Zealand, and Australia. She holds the Board Secretary role and focuses on governance and policy.
Board Secretary
Darkus Lam
Darkus holds the role of Treasurer. He is a Chartered Accountant and has a Master’s Degree (Accounting) from RMIT University as well as Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Finance from Monash University. He is currently performing the role of the Finance Manager for the ANZ Employment Business and Commercial Operation at Seek. Darkus has over ten years of experience working in various finance roles for Domain, Kikki.K, and AIESEC. Being bilingual himself, speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin, he is very passionate about bilingual education.
Paul M. Southwick
Paul is a qualified chartered accountant (CA), aviation journalist, and general aviation test pilot. He tests and writes reports on fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, turboprops, and jets, for aviation and business publications. Paul also represents two aircraft manufacturers in Australia, and consults to business on communications and marketing, in which he holds post graduate qualifications. Paul is of German heritage, studied business strategy at The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and was previously an officer of Allianz AG, in Munich, as well as CFO / Company Secretary for ASX listed entities. Paul’s son, Max attends DSM.
Marketing & Communications, Sponsorship & Grants