Our teachers make a difference.Exceptional educators guide and engage.
Our selection of educators is purposeful because the collective efficacy of our teaching team makes the difference. There is a rich diversity in our staff selection and it is heart-warming to read their dreams outlined below.
Annie Roberts: Child Focused Learning is Empowering
I dream Living School nurtures a sense of belonging: a school ‘owned’ by every child.
To this end, it is vital to ensure all teaching is child focused. It is important to develop a strong individual relationship with each child. All children have the potential to be their best and it is our job, as Custodians of Childhood, to ensure we know the child and understand their best way of learning.
We can never underestimate each child’s level of creativity, problem solving and the learning capacity. As a teacher, I aim to have my students excited to come to school every day. I want them to feel eager to learn, create, explore, discuss, play, experiment, discover and socialise confidently.
My job is to try to make every school day a good day!
Annie Roberts will be teaching Kindergarten next year. Annie has been working at Byron Community Primary School for the last eight years in the Kindergarten and Year 1/2 class. Annie has also been involved in the delivery of the whole school PDHPE program.
In her earlier years, Annie worked in outdoor education (for over 10 years). She is married to Rob and they have a 17 year old daughter, Arabella. Annie and Rob have lived in Lennox Head for over 20 years. She loves teaching and prides herself on her patience, empathy, positive nature and commitment.
Annie’s promise is to do her best to facilitate motivating, interesting and creative educational experiences for your wonderful children.
- 1991-1993: Newcastle University, Newcastle
Award: Bachelor of Education
- 1985-1988: Catholic College of Education
Award: Diploma of Teaching
- 2011- current Byron Community Primary School: Permanent Teacher Yr 1/2 (job share) and Kindergarten (job share). Teacher of whole school Dance Program, PDHPE and sports coordinator. Learning Support Teacher (relieving for 18 months)
- 2007- 2015 NSW Department of Education and Training, Empire Vale Public School: Teacher ( K/1, 2/3, /45/6 ESL and Learning Support)
- 2007 NSW Department of Education and Training, Casual Teaching: Ballina, Lismore, Newrybar, Byron Bay, Teven, Tintenbar, Corndale, Coorabell, Lismore South
- 2004-2006 Local Education Authority-Hertfordshire England
George Street School: Teacher (Yr 3 and Yr 5)
- 2004 Southern Cross University -Lismore, Lecturer PDHPE (1st year teaching students)
- 1991-2004 NSW Department of Sport and Recreation Outdoor Education Officer: Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre Outdoor Education Officer: Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre.
NESA number: 169407
YEAR 1 AND 2 PROGRAM
Tori Ambler: to nurture the mind, body and spirit of each student
Year 1 and Year 2 Teacher
My dream for Living School is that all members thrive within a sense of community, inspiration, and connection, for themselves, each other, and the world around them for a sustainable future.
My primary goal as a teacher is to nurture the mind, body and spirit of each student, while teaching with impact to empower and engage.
I endeavour to inspire students to strive for something bigger than themselves, to contribute to and respect the world around them, and most importantly, be happy, kind and loving individuals with a strong sense of belonging and community.
Tori has been teaching both Kindergarten and Year 1 within her hometown of Melbourne, for the past 3 years. She also has experience across all year levels from K-6 within both government and independent primary schools.
Tori has worked for lululemon Athletica, as part of their community engagement and customer experience team, as well as a yoga teacher, before returning to primary education with even greater purpose and passion. This enabled her to continue to expand her skills, knowledge, and development for teaching and learning in partnership with students, parents and the wider community.
Tori educates soulfully to influence each student’s development through real-life contexts. The development of mutually respectful relationships with students is fundamental to support all students to understand how they learn. Through this conscious and purposeful design, Tori ensures learning is challenging, creative, and interest based, enabling younger minds to make connections through academic exploration within real-life experiences.
- 2011-2014: Deakin University
Award: Bachelor of Education
- 2010: Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology
Award: Diploma of Media and Communications
- 2019 – present Auburn Primary School: Foundation Classroom Teacher
- 2018 Term 4 ANZUK Education: Casual Relief Teacher (K-6)
- 2017-2018 lululemon Athletica: Community Engagement and Customer Experience
- 2015 – 2016 Laburnum Primary School: Year 1 Classroom Teacher
- 2012 – 2015 Laburnum Primary School: Out of School Hours Care Assistant; School Holiday Program assistant; Year 5/6 Camp assistant
- 2018 – present Yoga Teacher
Laura Nobel: to guide, respectfully, patiently and lovingly
My dream for Living School is to help contribute to each child’s sense of wellbeing and development by loving them, having fun with them and playing music with them as much as possible.
It is my belief that the purpose of a child’s education is to help them to meet life with a sense of joy, strength and belonging. Relationships that are based on trust, honesty and openness can provide both students and teachers with the opportunity to grow into healthy, happy adults who make positive contributions within their families and the greater community. Learning, when it is fun and appropriately challenging, most usually leads to experiences of success and greater confidence.
Laura has worked for the last 13 years predominantly in Aboriginal education, in both Primary and Secondary settings.
Laura was awarded the NSW Department of Education for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal Education.
Bringing a set of unique skills to her teaching practice, Laura is an experienced Music and ESL teacher who holds a Diploma in Counselling. Laura is able to foster and develop relationships with her students that both nurture and develop their inherent qualities, strengths and talents.
YEAR 3 AND 4 PROGRAM
Ant Lewry: Sharing, Shifting and Shaping.
Year 3 and Year 4 Teacher
My dream for Living School is for it to raise the bar; to set the tone for the future and show the world what happens when the power is shifted and shared.
Education is the most powerful tool that we have access to, so my mission/mantra/goal is to responsibly wield that gift. I want to build and foster authentic relationships with the children, families and community with whom we are co-creating. With relationships at the heart of my practice, I’ll be able to share meaningful learning experiences that will help the children of Living School figure out who they are, what they have to give and what they can achieve.
I want to empower all learners to contribute to the people, communities and world around them. I want to learn with them, growing each and every day.
Ant is a standout from his university. Over the course of his degree, he received multiple accolades, including the Vice Chancellor’s Medal, Primary Education Award and various Letters of Commendation from the Dean. Whilst awards and grades are not what drives Ant, his success represents his passion for and dedication to the vocation. Concurrently, he completed the International Baccalaureate Certificate in Teaching and Learning.
Ant believes that education is the key to making the world a better place and is a natural fit for Living School because his values align with our vision. He aims to help young people discover their agency by igniting the fire within them and helping them develop ways to sustainably fuel that fire. An interest in Inquiry and Project Based Learning has helped shape his educational philosophy, as it provides a framework to engage students in the deepest kind of learning through authentic and meaningful learning experiences that are driven by them. He believes that children will become active and empathic global citizens if they are encouraged to develop their self-efficacy through discussion, reflection, application and risk-taking; with the ultimate aim of self-determination.
Ant has experience teaching across Kindergarten to Year 6 in both government and independent primary settings.
Prior to commencing his teaching degree, Ant worked in various management positions in different contexts, and attributes his success in these roles to his focus on relationship building.
- International Baccalaureate Certificate in Teaching and Learning
- Vice Chancellor’s Medal: awarded to the student with the highest GPA across the School of Education
- Primary Award: awarded to the student with the highest GPA within the Primary cohort
- Dean’s Letter of Commendation (awarded multiple times)
Award: Certificate of University Preparation
- 2019: Casual Relief Teacher (K-6) – Camdenville Public School
- 2019: Classroom Teacher (Internship) – Stanmore Public School
- 2018: Learning Support Teacher (Volunteer) – International Grammar School & Darlington Public School
- Undergraduate Practicum Teaching:
- 2019: Hunter Valley Grammar School
- 2019: Camdenville Public School
- 2017: Darlington Public School
- 2016: Leichardt Public School
- 2011-2015: Key Account Manager and Subscriptions Team Leader – Bauer Media
- 2007-2011: Team Leader (various campaigns) – Salmat
- 2006-2007: Centre Supervisor (before, after and holiday care) – Holiday Fun, NZ
YEAR 5 AND 6 PROGRAM
Karen Ashbury: Relationship Building.
Year 5 and Year 6 Teacher
These days, my philosophy of teaching is all about relationship building. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that very little worthwhile teaching can happen, unless we first establish authentic relationships with the humans in our care.
Educators who take the time to listen, to understand, and to forge connections with their students, are building a solid foundation upon which learning can take place.
My dream for Living School is to nurture and co-create a caring community where learning is personal, inspirational and empowering.
Karen has twenty years of experience teaching K-8 students in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. She is moving to the Northern Rivers region with her family, having spent the past four years working at Green School, Bali – an experience that fundamentally shifted her perspective on teaching and what comprises ‘success’ in education.
Karen has a Masters of Applied Anthropology and is endlessly curious about people and communities, in all their tremendous diversity. She is a passionate advocate for getting children outside and into nature, believing that the best lessons invariably happen outside of a classroom. Having worked as a Visual Arts specialist for many years, Karen has a particular interest in exploring the connection between emotional literacy and the arts.
- 2019: Macquarie University, NSW, Australia.
Award – Masters in Applied Anthropology (tbc)
- 2015: Yoga Nidra Instructor, Mangrove Yoga Ashram, NSW, Australia.
Award – Diploma of Yogic Studies (Module One),
- 1992-1993: University of East Anglia, U.K.
Award – Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Primary), Specialised in Visual Art and Design.
- 1989 – 1992: University of Warwick, U.K.
Award – B.A. Hons. Comparative American Studies
- 2019: Visual Arts Teacher Years Prep-6, Firbank Grammar School, Sandringham, VIC, Australia.
- 2015 – 2018: Visual Arts Teacher Years 1-12; LOTE Teacher Years 3-8, Green School, Bali, Indonesia
- 2012 – 2015: Visual Arts Teacher Years K-2, Shore Preparatory School, Northbridge, NSW, Australia
- 2011: Learning Support Teacher (Literacy, Numeracy) Years K-2, Sydney Grammar Preparatory School, St Ives, NSW, Australia
- 2004 – 2009: Form Master Years 2-5; Art Master Years 3-6, Sydney Grammar Preparatory School, St Ives, NSW, Australia
- 2003 – 2004: Tutor – Literacy and Numeracy, Kip McGrath Education Centre, Harbord, NSW, Australia.
- 1996 – 2002: Class Teacher, Art Specialist Years 3-6, Beckenham School, Christchurch, New Zealand
- 1993 – 1994: Class Teacher Year 6, Costessey Junior School, E. Anglia, U.K.
YEAR 7 AND 8 PROGRAM
John Stewart: Is Learning Life-Worthy?
Year 7 and Year 8 Teacher
My dream for Living School is to have the power of a collective determine the strength of our future, where we return to the indigenous principles of care and custodianship.
The key to my focus, my passion, is the drive to create a new paradigm of schooling to offer greater diversity, to embrace pluralism, to evoke a greater consciousness, to celebrate community.
In summary, our dream should be created together in order to leave this world a better place for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
John’s focus is innovative, holistic and child-centred. With over 25 years of experience, John’s professional expertise is far-ranging. He has a Master of Education from the University of Cambridge, produced a multimedia CD ROM and textbook on writing, called Write Online, back in 2000 (published by Nelson Thorne), been a company director of a multimedia publishing company, Harmony Interactive, and co-authored with the widely acclaimed child psychologist, Dr John Irvine, Thriving at School: a handbook for parents.
1998 – 2001 School of Education, University of Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College
Award: Masters of Education
1995 – 1996 Southern Cross University, Lismore, Bachelor of Education (Primary) Stage III
Award: Bachelor of Education
1987 – 1989 University of New England, Northern Rivers, Lismore, Bachelor of Education (Primary) Stage I & II
Award: Diploma of Teaching
- 1990 – 1992: Brainstorm productions, North Coast NSW Actor touring schools performing healthy lifestyle and conflict resolution shows.
- 1993 – 1997: Hill House International School, London – a privately owned coeducation prep school in the heart of London, famous for children walking in crocodile file wearing knickerbockers and gold jumpers. Games teacher; English teacher; Head of Section;
- 1997 – 2002: St John’s College School, Cambridge (voted by Tattler magazine as the UK’s best prep school) – world renowned for its Choristers and red blazers; Head of English; Editor of the Eaglet (the school’s year book publication) Director of Studies;
- 2003: Barker College, Hornsby, Sydney. Three terms teaching as a Year Six teacher
- 2003 – 2008: Head of Junior School at Central Coast Grammar – a coeducational day school on the Central Coast of NSW.
- 2008 – 2013: Headmaster of Tudor House, Moss Vale, Southern Highlands. Australia’s only stand-alone primary boys’ boarding school, famous for its focus on responsible risk taking.
- 2013 – 2015: Head of Green School, Bali – “the greenest school on the planet” with a focus on green leadership and environmental/sustainability education.
- 2015 – 2016: Teacher for the Ngulingah Aboriginal program
- 2016 – 2019: Teacher Quality Advisor, Dep’t of Education NSW
- 2019 – present: creator and conductor of Living School Lismore
CREATIVITY AND CARE
Mal Stekhoven-Smith: Learning is for Life
Care and Creativity
I love teaching and I love learning. I have been teaching within different educational contexts for over 40 years and I continue to grow as an educational practitioner. Like all my colleagues at Living School, I believe that students should have a voice in how learning takes place and how it is contextualised for each unique student. Teaching in this way develops meaningful and deep learning, and high levels of engagement that has very real benefits for both student and teacher.
One of my greatest rewards as a teacher is when students become so engaged they come up to me the next day and start a sentence with some of my favourite words: “Sir, did you know that…” and then go on to relate to me their personal research and deep understanding – they become the teacher and I become the learner.
I am inspired by the vision and new
paradigm that Living School offers all our young learners and look forward to adding my contribution towards the building of what will be a quality learning community.
- Music – semi-professional musician and music teacher (guitar) at various music academies in Sydney and the Far North Coast over a 35 year period
- Drama – professional set builder (Brainstorm Productions), including many school sets for the school my children attended (Kadina High School)
- Sports – professionally trained in athletics over a four year period from 3rd to 6th form (consistently in the top eight of state CHS for 100 and 200 metres, top three for long jump)
- Video/film production – sound recording/Music score/Set design and construction
- Carpentry – skilled woodworker (See 1987 – 2002 Employment History)
- Agriculture – organic and sustainable farming methods
- Chess – passing on chess playing skills to interested students
- Education – identification of and quality learning support for gifted and talented students (GATS)
- 2016: Oxford University
Award: Effective Online Tutoring
- 2014: Southern Cross University
Award: Master of Education
- 2011: Southern Cross University
Award: Diploma of Education (SCU) 2011
- 2019 Permanent Teacher @ Cessnock High School, SCU Advisor.
- 2018 – Head Teach Welfare (Relieving) Cessnock Regional Suspension Centre (Term 1)
Full-time permanent Teacher @ Cessnock High School.
- 2017 – Aboriginal Personal Learning Plan Coordinator @ Kyogle High School
- Professional Experience Supervisor @ Southern Cross University (SCU)
- Teacher for KEEP workshops (Gifted and Talented program)
- 2016 – Mentor Teacher @ Kyogle High School
- Pre-service Teacher Advisor @ Lismore, SCU
- Grader 2nd year Master of Education students @ Gold Coast SCU
- Teacher for KEEP workshops (Gifted and Talented program)
- 2012 – 2015 – Full-time permanent Teacher @ Cessnock High School,
- Acting Head Teacher Secondary Studies @ Boggabilla Central School NSW (Term 1, 2015)
- 2011 – Casual Teacher at: Lightning Ridge Central School, Wellington High School, Goodooga
Central School, Evans River K-12, Alstonville High School
- 2007 – 2011 – Project manager for an architect undertaking a heritage listed renovation in Brisbane
- 2005 – 2007 – Licensed with the Dept. of Industrial Affairs as an Entertainment Manager.
Managed international act Ngaiire Joseph, (PNG)
- 2000- 2007 – Owner/Manager Windsong Records (Online record label at Byron Bay)
- 1987 – 2000 – Owner/Manager home renovations business (self-employed)
- 1979 – 1987 Owner/Manager of mango plantation at Hogarth Range, NSW
- 1976 – 1978 Assistant Manager, Casino Sale Yards
- 1975 – Year travelling and working in Canada, USA and sailing the Pacific
- 1974 – Signalman for NSW Railways
- 1971 -1973 – Music teacher (guitar) at Linda’s Music Market, Asquith, NSW
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
– Doris Lessing
Preface to ‘The Golden Notebook’, Flamingo, 1971
Our 3rd Teacher: Lismore offers access to public spaces.
Living School’s intention is to reconnect with our local community. Lismore is a great location: it provides access to public spaces within easy walking distance. And as our learners walk – they talk! Conversation as pedestrians is social learning, too.