Mal Stekhoven-Smith

Learning is for Life

Mal Stekhoven-Smith

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)


Tertiary Qualifications

  • 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


Work Experience

  • 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