Our teachers make a difference.Exceptional educators guide and engage.
The collective efficacy of our teaching team makes the difference. There is a rich diversity in our staff selection. It is heart-warming to read their dreams outlined below.
LEARNING & ADMINISTRATION MANAGEMENT
Bhavni Stewart: Happy Students Having Fun Feeling Safe
My dream for Living School is a school where every person is valued and acknowledged for their individuality. Where teaching and learning happens across every environment and in every moment.
I believe every child has the capacity to become lifelong learners and I support Living School to help strengthen and enrich a love for learning in young people, whatever their abilities. I encourage our students to be confident in their own individual interests; respectful to others, themselves and to the environment; positive, resilient, good communicators and collaborative learners.
If our students are happy, having fun, feeling safe, and have a smile on their faces, then they are learning.
Bhavni has been a lifelong learner and hopes to strengthen and enrich this love for learning in young people, whatever their abilities. She begun as the school Administration Manager at Living School in September and her role is to help facilitate and organise the smooth running of the school, ensuring all supports are in place for a happy and safe learning environment. She works closely with her amazing Admin team, our wonderful Conductor, all the incredible students, staff and families to help contribute to this remarkable school.
Bhavni has a rich and long history and experience working in education, from progressive learning environments like Living School to her latest role as Teaching Principal at Biala Special School in Ballina. She worked at Biala for 15 years and is passionate about special education and equal education for all.
Bhavni will be on the front desk every day and would love you to come say hello and introduce yourself and your family. She is here to help, listen, collaborate and ensure our school is thriving.
1997- Graduate Diploma in Primary Education, Macquarie University, Sydney.
1994- Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University, Sydney.
2013-September 2020: Teaching Principal, Biala Special School, Ballina. Teaching children with moderate-severe intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD. DSM-V). Years K-6 and Years 7-10 Life Skills curriculum.
In 2019 Recognised for her Principalship by the Association of Independent Schools NSW (AISNSW).
Article published in the AISNSW Member Bulletin titled Why ‘the people principle’ works for Biala Special School. To access the link below:
In 2018 Recognised in Legislative Council Hansard: NSW Parliament for Biala Special School, by the Hon. Ben Franklin MLC. Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW and Renewable Energy.
2011-2013: Classroom Senior Teacher- Aspect Macarthur Northern Rivers, Alstonville Satellite class. Teaching children K-6 with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
2005-2011: Teaching Principal. Biala Special School, Ballina.
2006-2007: Transition to Work Consultant, On-Q Human Resources, Ballina. Post School Service Provider working with young adults with disabilities.
1998- 2005: Other Teaching Experiences- across the Northern Rivers and Sydney, including Ballina TAFE, NSW.
1999-2000: Casual Administrator University of Technology, Sydney. Research Centre for Vocational Educational and Training.
1998- 1998: ISTB, South Sydney. Itinerant Support Teacher for Behaviour, Peakhurst Primary.
1997- 1998: OOSH, Lane Cove Sydney. Co-ordinator, after school and Vacation Care, Currambena School.
1996-1998: Nanny, Sydney
1993- 1995: Pre-school Assistant, Currambena P-6 School, Sydney.
Annie Roberts: Child Focused Learning is Empowering
CF-0 (Kindergarten Teacher)
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 again in 2021 – after a great 2020.
Previously, Annie worked at Byron Community Primary School for 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 PROGRAM
Jesse Waters: to listen, evoke and reflect.
CF-1 (Year 1 Teacher)
My dream for Living School is that it is a place where every child can anchor themselves as they stumble, re-route, explore and question the world around them… then do it all over again with enthusiasm, building confidence.
As an educator, I believe my role is to listen, evoke, observe and reflect alongside children and their families. I aim to honour the rights of the child, to marvel at the purity of imagination, to provide a safe place for children to take risks, and to continue to reflect on, and build, my skills as an educator so I can be present in the moments children gift us with every day.
We absorb our experiences and we are shaped by the encounters we have from birth. Children explore these encounters with curious fingers, wondrous eyes and floating hypotheses. The moments they co-create, their observations and provocations are foundations on which to build. Young minds are stretched and transformed when trust is fostered between all participants.
A sense of belonging, shared ownership and mutual respect are the building blocks for sustainable trusting relationships. There is no impact without relationships. Developing this with children and their families has to be the first step in any learning journey. Creating a sustainable thread of trust is the foundation on which everything else can be woven.
Jesse has had 9 years’ experience as an early years’ educator. She moved to the Northern Rivers from her hometown on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 2020 and was drawn to the Living School and its image of education. Jesse has spent the past 8 years working at Wooranna Park Primary School (WPPS) located in Melbourne south-east and known globally for its inspired approaches.
Some of Jesse’s accomplishments include: mentoring a student with the design and production of WPPS first culturally inclusive Koori uniform; and in 2018 Jesse was chosen to feature in one of the 4 educational feature films created by the Educational Foundation: Edutopia, as part of their Schools That Work Series.
Jesse’s role at WPPS far surpassed the walls of the classroom. She established the school’s first sustainable community engagement committee and instituted WPPS first community playgroup. Jesse sat on the City of Greater Dandenong’s first Early Years Learning Network and facilitated connections between early learning centres and schools. Alongside her teaching and community engagement work, Jesse built strong links with community organisations and family services. She was instrumental in developing social capital for the school and additional opportunities to support children and families.
- Bachelor of Education
2008-2011 Australian Catholic University
- Art Therapy Short Course
2018 Chisholm TAFE
- 2013-2020 Wooranna Park Primary School
- Early years Classroom Teacher
- Unit Leader and Student Teacher Mentor
- Community/Family Engagement Coordinator
- Playgroup Facilitator
- Transition Leader and Preschool Coordinator
- 2012-2013 Casual Relief Teacher
YEAR 2 PROGRAM
Tori Ambler: to nurture the mind, body and spirit of each student
CF-2 (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
YEAR 3 PROGRAM
Sarah Ross: to motivate, collaborate and cooperate.
CF-3 (Year 3 Teacher)
I intend to create an environment where students feel safe and supported to express their individuality and where all can be recognised for their uniqueness. I will support learners to believe in themselves and each other, so they strive to confidently give of their best.
I aspire to motivate students to work collaboratively and cooperatively, make good choices and to be kind and respectful members of Living School and the community.
Sarah completed her studies in 2019, a close associative of our CF-4 teacher, Ant. Her focus is on primary education, using cooperative grouping strategies.
Sarah has a focus on developing a caring and sharing environment. Her bubbly and earthy personality draws students to find a sense of place and an understanding of a collective belonging.
2016 – 2019: Notre Dame University, NSW, Australia
Bachelor of Primary Education
2020: Temporary classroom teacher – Maroubra Junction Public School
2020: Casual Relief Teacher – Maroubra Junction Public School
2019: Casual Relief Teacher – Our Lady of the Annunciation
2019: Classroom teacher (internship) – Maroubra Junction Public School
Undergraduate Practicum Teaching
2018: Kernel Public School
2017: Our Lady of the Annunciation
Laura Nobel: to guide, respectfully, patiently and lovingly
Learning Guide - Voice Coach
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 4 PROGRAM
Ant Lewry: Sharing, Shifting and Shaping.
CF-4 (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 PROGRAM
Adam Felton: Connect, Nurture, Inspire.
CF-5 (Year 5 Teacher)
“My dream for Living School is to connect. My teaching career has been about rapport. Once students know in their hearts that you wholeheartedly care, that is your jumping off point. My dream for Living School is to build and foster relationships to a point where each student truly believes they can accomplish anything under the care, guidance and vision of this incredible co-learning environment.
Since leaving Green School Bali in 2017 I have been searching for a ‘home’ – a place I can apply my unique skill set and my teaching philosophy unhinged from traditional parameters. I truly believe that once genuine connections are made, there is unlimited capacity to nurture individual interests, talents and passions while igniting curiosity through the unique and progressive pedagogy of this wonderful school.
Inherent in my practice is a deep love for the planet and social responsibility. My intention is to foster a safe, caring, exciting space for every student while inspiring them to be the best version of themselves. This is a platform. Living School is a game-changing platform. And I plan on using it as a slingshot for the leaders of tomorrow.”
A primary, middle school and music teacher with over a decade of experience both domestic and abroad, Adam cut his teeth in international schools in South East Asia.
Kicking off his journey in 2010 in Bali, Indonesia, he taught briefly as an ESL teacher before becoming the music teacher at Bali Green School. Adam and his wife, Vicky, were then head hunted to help set up and facilitate the International School at ParkCity in Kuala Lumpur as the performing arts team. A partnership that proved to be effective and powerful.
Realising Bali had a special place in their hearts, the two returned the following year and Adam took up various roles back at the Green School while concentrating on music. For the next 5 years he recorded and performed all over the island with a multitude of musicians from across the globe including the incredible local talent. Born within this time was Bali-based psychedelic blues rock two piece, A Conscious Coup, created with local virtuoso Dadang Pranoto. Adam returned to full time music teaching at the Green School in 2013 and juggled a busy music schedule touring and recording with bands such as; Nahko and Medicine for the People, Tijuana Cartel, Ash Grunwald and Band of Frequencies.
At the end of 2014 Adam and Vicky welcomed the birth of their first child and made a conscious decision to switch from music teacher to Middle School. Green School’s experiential, inquiry-based learning environment allowed for great creativity in programming across all learning areas within the middle school program.This gave Adam the opportunity to spread his wings and lay the foundation for the teacher he is today.
By 2017, he and Vicky had welcomed in their second child and their young family decided to move back to Australia. Their focus shifted from career goals in teaching to family and music. Adam has spent the last four years on the Northern Rivers teaching in various schools within the department and catholic school systems, as well as private music tuition, all while continuing to tour and record with various artists, theatre shows and corporate acts. With his young family blossoming and music taking a back seat, he is now turning his intention, creativity, passion and heart to Living School.
Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary)
Charles Darwin University, Australia
July 2012 – June 2013
Bachelor of Arts – Psychology, Political Science and International Relations – Charles Darwin University, Griffith University, Gold Coast Australia
(January 2008 – June 2012)
Burringbar Public School – Term 1 2021
RFF Music, Art and Sport
Tweed Head South Public School – Stage 3 classroom teacher – Oct 2020 – Dec 2020.
NSW Department of Education / Lismore Catholic Schools, Casual Relief teaching 2017- 2021
Crabbes Creek Public School August 2019 – December 2019 – RFF mathematics and music teacher
Private Instrumental Music Tuition
(drums and guitar) – 2017 – 2021
Green School Bali, Indonesia – Middle School Teacher
January 2015 – July 2017
Green School Bali, Indonesia – Music Teacher
January 2013 – January 2015
The International School @ ParkCity, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Music Teacher
August 2011 – June 2012
Green School Bali, Indonesia – Music Teacher
August 2010 – July 2011
YEAR 6 PROGRAM
Charlotte Bowry: Connection with the World.
CF-6 (Year 6 Teacher)
Each child is unique – their personality, passions, what engages them and makes them happy or fearful. My dream for the Living School is an education that connects with the child’s perspective, providing a nurturing and caring school environment that not only focuses on academic goals but develops each child’s multiple intelligences, life skills, purpose and belonging. An education that promotes kindness, builds resilience, connects with the community and immerses itself in nature.
An education that gives students diverse learning goals, ownership of projects and opportunities in and out of the classroom, creates purpose and pride in learning and allows students to identify their passions and reach their full all-round potential.
Education has always been Charlotte’s life passion and, coming to primary education as her second career, she brings a range of life skills. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK with a degree in Geography, she followed a career as a lawyer in London and Bristol, UK, until moving with her family to the Northern Rivers in 2017. Upon completing her Masters in Primary Teaching at Griffith University, obtaining a distinction GPA, she has gained experience across all year levels from K-6 within both government and independent primary schools.
As a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London, UK, she is passionate about conservation and giving students a global perspective as well as opportunities to connect with local community projects.
She loves being close to nature and wildlife and wants to help children to explore and learn about their environment and be in awe of the world around them. Although she used to be a tennis coach, she now spends more of her time in the ocean. She considers her greatest strengths to be kindness, empathy, determination and a positive attitude.
By connecting with her students and understanding their personality, passions, learning needs and preferred learning styles, she aims to nurture her students to become lifelong learners, with a growth mindset. She aims to build their resilience and determination by giving them engaging and diverse learning experiences and opportunities in a supportive environment within and outside the school walls to enable each child to fulfil their true potential and connect with the world around them.
She is excited to be joining the inspiring team at Living School.
2019 – 2020: Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
Award: Master of Primary Teaching (GPA – Distinction and Academic Excellence Award)
2005 – 2018: Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales
2001 – 2000: BPP College of Law, London, UK
Award: Diploma in Law
2001 – 2002: University of West of England, UK
Award: Graduate Diploma in Law
1997-2000: University of Cambridge, Girton College, UK
Award: Masters of Geography
2020: Casual Relief Teaching (K-6) at various schools in the Northern Rivers, including Bangalow Public School and Lennox Head Public School
2020: Learning@home online lesson development, Department of Education, Queensland
2019: Practicums at Lennox Head Public School and Emmanuel Anglican College
2015 – 2017: International Business Manager – Burges Salmon Solicitors, Bristol, UK
2006 – 2015: Senior Associate, Solicitor, Banking and Finance – Burges Salmon Solicitors, Bristol, U.K.
2003 – 2006: Solicitor – Taylor Wessing Solicitors, London, UK
2000-2002: Tennis Coach, UK and Massachusetts and The Hamptons, NY, USA
YEAR 7 PROGRAM & SPORT PDHPE TEACHER
Zac Panaretos: Sustainable and Meaningful Contributions.
CF-7 PDHPE/SPORT (Year 7 Home Teacher)
My dream for living school is to see our students excited to come and learn as part of a strong and supportive community. That our students are able to use our unique approach to make sustainable and meaningful contributions to their lives and those around them.
I endeavour to bring Traditional Owners’ perspectives to the forefront of our students’ thinking. Challenging students to step out of societal boundaries to challenge truly themselves.
I hope to develop positive relationships and gain the trust of my students, so that we can get on with the fun of learning.
My philosophy for education is going above and beyond to meet the needs of students, giving them the best possible opportunity in their journey into adulthood.
I believe that a community outlook, with particular regard to relationships with students and their families, is essential for students to adopt an holistic approach to their education.
I strive to develop a strong rapport with students based on a genuine concern for their wellbeing and success. In my experience the flow-on effect of extra effort outside of the classroom has enhanced student participation, behaviour management, welfare and an enthusiasm to learn.
Zac has worked in a variety of educational institutions. he worked at Marcellin College Randwick for a while before stepping out of his comfort zone and working in Numbulwar, a remote Indigenous community in Arnhem Land. What an experience.
Zac moved back to Sydney and did a short stint at Blacktown Youth College, a school for students who have struggled in a mainstream setting.
Most recently he taught at Reddam House, focusing on Stage 6, where there is a strong emphasis on academic excellence.
Marcellin College Randwick (7-12)
Achieved an ATAR – 94 with Band 6 in PDHPE, Industrial technology, English Advanced and Band 5 in Economics, biology, studies of religion
University of Sydney – Human Movement Health Education (H.M.H.E)
Curtin University – Master of Education – Currently completing
Marcellin College Randwick (2014-2016)
– Over 2 years’ casual experience in numerous departments
– Multiple term blocks in the PDHPE department
– 7-10 Religious studies and Year 11 Catholic studies
– One term science block covering Ms. Gillian Clarke (term 4 – 2015)
Numbulwar Community School (2017)
– Working with Indigenous students in a remote community in the Northern Territory, Arnhem Land
– Subjects covered: Literacy, Numeracy, PDHPE, Social and Emotional learning
As the Sports Coordinator I planned, organised and implemented the following programs and events:
– Coordinated the 2017 school Athletics carnival
– Coordinated the School Colour Fun Run
– Committee member for the school fete
– Fundraising and organising the community fishing competition
– Rock and water program
– Senior boys Sex Ed seminar and domestic violence course
– AFL clinics
– Basketball Coaching
Blacktown Youth College (2018)
– Head of PDHPE faculty
– During school inspection for registration – programs, registers, work samples, assessment schedules, scope and sequencing – all updated
– Stage 6 SLR teacher
– NRL Gala Day organisation and coaching
– OzTag Naidoc week competition – organisation and coaching
– School wide behaviour – Positive behaviour policy
– School wide positive attendance strategy
– Whole school Anti- bullying event (Cyber Bullying awareness and prevention) – organised
– Food technology – cooking, theory and catering school events
– Mandatory Technology – stage 4
– Liaising with parents, counsellors and local welfare groups
– Assisting with student well-being and building resilience
– NESA accreditation – proficiency
Reddam House (2018)
– Year 12 PDHPE
– Tuesday night sessions for 2 hours going over the whole syllabus and practicing HSC responses as part of a maternity contract
– Follow up and feedback for students on their performance
Reddam House (2019-2020)
– Year 7-12 PDHPE
– Master of Soccer – organising fixtures, grounds, staff and training for all secondary school teams
– HSC PDHPE and Senior PDHPE teacher
– During school inspection for registration – programs, registers, work samples, assessment schedules, scope and sequences – all updated
– Organised and coordinated a community outreach program to go to Arnhem land in 2020 and 2021 with 30 students. Managing accounts, liaising with Indigenous Elders, promoting the trip within the school and all correspondence with families and school staff.
– Coordinated an online fundraiser, raising close to $20,000 for the Indigenous community
– Cultural Coordinator
– Filmed content and coordinated online PE learning during COVID lock downs.
– Director of Sports Portfolio
– Year 9, 11 and 12 tutor
VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM
Karen Ashbury: Relationship Building.
K-10 Visual Arts 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 8 PROGRAM & HUMANITIES/PBL
Jonny Wouters: Emotional, Social, Learning Awareness.
CF-8 Humanities & PBL Teacher
To me, learning is one of the most human and beautiful things we can do. Not only does learning quite literally expand out brains, but it expands our capacity to live meaningful lives. I once heard it said that the most interesting people are the most interested people. My dream and hope is that the sort of education I am involved in will cultivate interesting, creative and responsible people who create spaces of belonging for others.
Jonny considers himself a South African-Australian, and he is grateful that the story of his life has been shaped by two cultures on two vastly different continents. The immigrant experience is one of searching for your place to belong and for your identity. This is a part of why Jonny strives to create spaces of belonging for the students he teaches: places that allow all students to express themselves and seek a deeper understanding of themselves and others. Creative writing is a passion of Jonny’s because it helps facilitate this process. He loves helping students to find their voice in their writing and then seeing where this leads them.
Over the ten years of his teaching career, Jonny has been very involved in curriculum development. One of his highlights was being involved in a team that designed an alternative Year 9 program to improve student engagement and agency.
He has also worked as a Specialist Teacher for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority in the area of critical and creative thinking. In this role Jonny worked with teachers, helping them to better understand how to develop students’ thinking and creativity.
Bachelor of Arts (English, Psychology): University of Cape Town (RSA): 2005
Bachelor of Arts (English, Psychology): Latrobe University (Bundoora): 2007-2008
Diploma of Education, Secondary (English, Maths): Eastern College Victoria: 2009
Masters of Education: Morling College (NSW): 2011-2016
Graduate Diploma in Creative Arts Therapy: The Melbourne Institute for
Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy (VIC): 2017-current
Educational Content Developer, Elevate Education: 2019 (Nov) – Present
Designing and writing teaching and learning resources that align and integrate relevant aspects of the ACARA, VCAA and NESA English and Humanities curriculums to components of the design thinking process for project based learning experiences.
Senior Critical and Creative Thinking Assessment Review Panelist, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority: 2019 (Oct) – Present
Reviewing formal assessment tasks that will be used by Victorian schools for formalised data collection against the F-10 Critical and Creative Thinking Capability curriculum.
Learning Specialist in Curriculum and Pedagogy, Prahran High School (VIC): 2019
Designing and teaching English and Humanities learning programs for Year 7 students.
Leading the development of teaching and learning frameworks, principles, practices, initiatives, approaches (pedagogy) – including curriculum, assessment, learning culture, student agency and the capabilities.
Leading professional learning sessions and coaching with teaching staff.
Specialist Teacher in Critical and Creative Thinking, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA): 2017-2018
Designing and delivering professional learning programmes for teachers and educational leaders in the area of Critical and Creative Thinking.
Generating resources to assist teachers in understanding, integrating, teaching, developing and assessing the Critical and Creative Thinking capability.
- Secondary English and Humanities Teacher and Leader, Mount Evelyn Christian School (VIC): 2010-2018
- Teaching middle years English (Grades 7-10), VCE English (Units 1-4), Humanities (Year 9) through an alternative Year 9 program called Open Village, and VCE Psychology (Units 1-2).
School Advocate (Counsellor)
Sara Torpey: Authentic Self-Actualised Contributors
School Advocate & Learning Families Coordinator
My dream for Living School is to normalise counselling; both within the school and the community. I believe that the stigma associated with counselling is harmful and that people as a whole should view mental wellness as they do the rest of their health: a necessary part of self-care.
My goal as Living School Advocate is to work cooperatively with families and staff to help students build resilience, teach positive self-talk, and have a growth mind-set – while encouraging the school’s ethos of respect, responsibility and relationships.
I would like for students to become self-aware, empathetic and self-actualised members of society. Knowing and valuing one’s authentic and unique self is the first step of growing into your true self: setting you on a path to become a productive and valued member of the community.
My hope is that my office space, The ChatterBox, is considered a place to seek advice or respite and receive non-judgemental assistance throughout your journey at Living School. I want people to ask questions and feel free to vocalise worries, fears and stress. If nothing else, it should be a place of comfort, compassion and freedom of expression. A place to speak your truth and be heard.
Sara Torpey has been counselling children and adults for the last 16 years after receiving both a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education with a speciality in School Counselling.
Sara has a passion for working with children and helping them grow by encouraging emotional wellbeing, positive relationships, self awareness and an understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses. It is her goal to help children develop social awareness and self-management skills so that they can become well-adjusted, self-advocating adults.
In 2012, Sara left the United States to teach English as a Second Language in Thailand and Indonesia. Bali became a second home and Sara met her future Aussie husband, Nick, while living there for three years.
Sara moved to the Northern Rivers five years ago and also works as a Wellbeing Counsellor at Byron Community Primary School. Sara and Nick have a three year old daughter, Tabitha and a rescued Greyhound, Lola.
- 2004-2006: Suffolk University
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Award:Master of Education in School Counselling, M.Ed.
- 1999-2003: University of Hartford West Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Award: Bachelor of Art in Psychology, BA
- 2019 – present Byron Community Primary School: Wellbeing Counsellor, Byron Bay NSW
- 2015 – 2017 The Interact Group: Rehabilitation Counsellor, Lismore NSW
- 2014 SEASONS Bali: Addictions Counsellor, Bali, Indonesia
- 2012 – 2013 EF Bali: ESL Teacher, Bali Indonesia
- 2010 – 2011 VPS: Mental Health Clinician, Boston, Massachusetts USA
- 2008 – 2010 Arbour Hospital: Group Therapist, Adolescent Unit, Boston, Massachusetts USA
- 2006 – 2007 Wraparound Family Services: Case Manager, Boston, Massachusetts USA
- 2004 – 2006 McCall Middle School: School Counsellor, Boston, Massachusetts USA
YEAR 7 -10 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
YEARS 7-10 PROGRAM: MATHEMATICS
Brad Palmer: Challenging Life-Long Learning
My dream for the Living School is for the students to rise to the challenge of a
different way that knowledge can be accessed. A way that is more organic and
sustainable so that life long learning will be a daily staple.
I look forward to showing the students that Mathematics is something that they interact with on an everyday basis and that it can be a powerful tool for shaping their future.
Brad brings 40 years of teaching experience from a wide variety of schools to the Living School. For half of this time, Brad has been a Head Teacher of Mathematics and has been an HSC marker for 2 Unit Mathematics.
Brad’s last school was Reddam House in Bondi, where he was also the Technical Director of Football.
Brad has been a very strong advocate of the flipped classroom as he sees it as an essential ingredient in students taking responsibility for their learning, and developing the bonds that need to be formed for collaborative learning.
Brad has recently moved to the Northern Rivers after visiting regularly over the past ten years. He is married with two adult daughters, one of whom is a local.
SENIOR LITERACY AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER
Katie Biggin: Guiding Future Pathways
Curriculum, Literacy and English
My dream for Living School is that we can create a diverse program for senior students that fully prepares them for the world they will encounter in their future. Our conventional Year 11 and 12 programs are characterised by competitive standardised examinations and preference the awarding of university entry rankings, potentially limiting the development of 21st century capacities that are essential in our complex world.
I hope that Living School can cater to a variety of needs for senior students, guiding them to future pathways in respectful, caring ways that explore holistic learning as well as enabling academic excellence, adaptability, confidence and rich inner growth. My hope is that this school can provide an antidote to the encroaching pressures of social media, encouraging empowerment through experiential learning, leading our students to enter the world and participate in freedom.
Katie has 30 years of experience across a variety of educational settings in the areas of school leadership, English teaching, senior school co-ordination, student wellbeing and teacher mentoring. She started her passion for teaching English and ESL in Victorian schools. Her passion for travel led her to teach in Germany and Zimbabwe, as well as training English teachers for 2 years in a university in Hanoi, Vietnam for Australian Volunteers Abroad.
Katie moved to the Northern Rivers in 2005 and began at Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, taking on the role of Deputy Principal and expanding the high school and senior program. She has immersed herself in teaching senior English and modelling innovative assessment practices, with her Year 12 students achieving some of the best results in the state each year.
She is known for creating meaningful and long-lasting relationships with students and sees this as the key to working with their learning and wellbeing. She has very close links to local families and community, recognised through her Principal of the Year award in 2014 for the Byron Shire. She also is an expert in NESA requirements in the senior years and has guided many students in achieving highly, gaining entry into university or other courses of their choice while always maintaining a nurturing and holistic approach. Katie is currently studying a Masters of Education Studies, focusing on innovative education and leadership.
Katie loves colour and is widely known in the area for her penchant for ‘Steiner’ colour days; Monday is purple/pink, Tuesday is red, Wednesday is yellow, Thursday is orange and Friday is green. She is fully committed to each colour day and unlikely to deviate! Katie loves stand up paddle boarding and swimming, singing, performing and reading fiction.
- Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Arts – University of Melbourne – 1989
- Masters of Educational Studies in Leadership – University of Queensland – commenced 2020
- English Teacher Trainer – Australian Volunteers Abroad, Hanoi University of Technology, Vietnam – 1995-1996
- English Teacher, Class 7 Transition Co-ordinator, Migrant Program Co-ordinator and Year Level Advisor – 1990-1998 -Elwood College, Victoria
- Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne – ESL Teacher Trainer– 1997-1998
- Senior English Teacher – 1999 – Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne
- Head Teacher English Department – Cape Byron Steiner School -2005-2020
- High School Faculty Co-ordinator – Cape Byron Steiner School – 2008-2010
- Deputy Principal of High School – 2011-2018 – Cape Byron Steiner School
- Senior School Co-ordinator – 2018 -2020 – Cape Byron Steiner School
- Co-Acting Principal 2011-2012 – Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School
- HSC English Advanced Marker – 2011-2014 NESA
- Extension English 2 Presenter – NSW State Library and WordExpress 2016-2017
- Principal of the Year – 2014 – awarded by Byron Shire Council
- Expertise in maintaining NESA Accreditation for High School over 3 cycles
- Developed a co-ordinated Student Wellbeing Program in High School combining anthroposophical and community best practice in consultation with Wellbeing staff
- Excellence in leading teaching in Advanced and Extension English – demonstrated in 2019 and 2020 by CBRSS ranking 10th in NSW amongst independent schools for these subjects
- Senior Teacher 1 – AIS classification – achieved in 2017
YEARS 7-10 PROGRAM: COMMERCE, MUSIC, GEOGRAPHY
Mal Stekhoven-Smith: Learning is for Life
Mal (and granddaughter)
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.