Louise Cameron, School Principal & Special Needs Co-ordinator
I can’t imagine a world without children. My life has always been filled with children! Children are my favourite kind of people, as I haven’t met one I didn’t like yet! They are an endless source of joy for me – intelligent, honest and entertaining in their uniqueness.
I turned twenty-one a month after I began teaching my very first class in Dubbo. My early years teaching were spent in lower primary classes in western NSW before taking a break from the classroom to raise my family of four children for twelve years. During this time, I became involved in running small family businesses and studied business at TAFE. But I always considered myself a teacher first and foremost and loved the time I spent at home with my children, including a short stint of home-schooling with my eldest daughter.
One day in 2001, I received a phone call unexpectedly asking me to do a day’s teaching at Blackall Range Independent School. A day turned into fifteen years! During this time I was fortunate enough to teach both of my youngest children for three years. At BRIS, I always felt as if I were home schooling, with some delightful companions joining us along the way.
In 2008, I decided to go back to university to study Special Education which led to work with Education Queensland’s Special Education Programs for students from Prep to Year 12. I have been so fortunate in my teaching career having worked alongside many talented and dedicated teachers. I came on as principal at in 2013 and I hope to share the many things they have taught me along the way, whilst continuing to grow and learn in this latest stage of my teaching journey.
Jodi Swan, Early Years Prep – 1 Teacher
I was born in Sydney but spent my childhood moving regularly with my father’s job in banking. My family and I were lucky enough to experience expat life; living in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York. I finished my high school years back in Australia as a border at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School. My passion for travel was ignited during those childhood years and I have spent some of my adult life travelling and living overseas in London and Vietnam (twice!).
I have been a Primary School teacher for the past 8 years and in that time, I have found my niche in Early Childhood teaching. I love the enthusiasm for learning and creativity that young children have and feel lucky to be part of their learning journey. My teaching career began in Brisbane teaching Year 7 before moving to Vietnam to teach at the Australian International School in Ho Chi Minh City. My son and I loved it so much we stayed for 4 years! We have now been living back on the Sunshine Coast since 2015.
I have a love of books and find it difficult to walk past a book shop without going in! My library of children’s books seems to be continually growing and I love discovering new literature to inspire learning.
The community at BRIS have made me feel very welcome and I am enjoying getting to know the amazing children, families and staff at this wonderful school.
My name is Julia and I am extremely excited about teaching in the 2/3 Possum classroom this year! I grew up in the beautiful Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays and spent much of my childhood sailing on boats. After a few years of travelling I moved to Melbourne and called that amazing city home for 10 years. I came to the Sunshine Coast from Melbourne 5 years ago to visit family and then never left! It is such a beautiful place with lots of opportunities to be in nature which I adore.
My teaching experience is shared between Melbourne, Victoria and the Sunshine Coast. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1999 and then went exploring the world. While travelling through South East Asia I began teaching English in Cambodia and there discovered a love of teaching and working with children. When I returned to Australia, I went on to complete a Masters of Teaching at the University of Melbourne in 2007. I am passionate about education and understanding each individual student and inspiring their curiosity and creativity. I have taught from prep-4 and have enjoyed sharing in the students learning journey as they move through the primary years. For the past 3 years I have taught in a multi age 2/3/4 classroom and look forward to working in a multi age 2/3 classroom this year.
Outside of school I love doing yoga, going to the beach and curling up with a really good book. I also love to cook and sharing time with friends and family. I have been lucky enough to travel to many different parts of the world including Scotland, Morocco, Spain, India, Thailand, Laos, Prague and many more. I feel very lucky to now call Peregian Beach home.
The BRIS community are extremely welcoming! I look forward to getting to know everyone at BRIS this year and being part of such a wonderful school community.
Danielle Hicks, Primary Years 4/5 Teacher
I grew up in Toowoomba in South East Queensland and completed a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Southern Queensland. I practiced as a registered nurse in many areas of the hospital in Australia and England, but my favourite area and the place I spent the most time, was paediatrics. This is where I discovered my love for working with children. Their courage, honesty, optimism and sense of humour is truly inspirational and left me with some amazing memories.
When a I saw an ad for a nursing job that involved teaching and mentoring graduate nurses, I knew the next challenge in my career had just arrived. I was successful in gaining this position and enjoyed every minute I was in this role. The experience I gained educating nurses helped me to transition into a health promotion position in high schools (teaching about issues affecting teenagers as well as one on one consultation for kids that needed more time.)
We moved from Toowoomba to the Sunshine Coast around about the same time as I had my first child. Now I have 4 beautiful children ranging in age from 8-15. While at home on maternity leave, I decided that my love for working with children, education and young people could be combined into teaching. I enrolled and completed my Graduate Diploma of Education in 2010.
I love teaching at BRIS. I love the rural surroundings, the peaceful environment, and the caring community of both staff and parents. I love that everyone works together to make sure that all the children are nurtured, supported and challenged. I truly believe that establishing quality relationships with the children is the first step to successful teaching and learning. We know all the children here at BRIS and love them all like an extended family.
Eva Carless, Primary Years 6/7 Teacher & Sports Co-ordinator
My journey as an educator is just beginning, as I completed studying a bachelor of primary education in 2018. As soon as I graduated school in 2012, I began working as a teacher’s aide within special education at Nambour High. I then moved into disability support work where I assisted adults with disabilities, teaching technology skills, work experience and also running gym and physical activity programs. In 2015, I was lucky enough to join the BRIS team and begin working in the primary classroom.
I have a passion for sports in particular softball, which I have played for 16 years. I have been lucky enough to have travelled all over Australia and overseas with my sport. I have represented my state since the age of 12 and was honoured with the opportunity to play for my country as a junior player.
I am very happy to call BRIS home and work with such amazing people and students. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Jane Hold, Senior Mathematics & Science Years 10-12 Teacher
I am a former Toowoomba girl but have loved living on the Sunshine Coast for the last ten years. I adore the area both for its beautiful environment and the laid back holiday atmosphere. I have three grown children and I can honestly say that I enjoyed them best when they were teenagers! I truly like the company of young people and I miss the days that my home was filled with the joy and laughter of my children and their friends. I currently have a Mexican exchange student living with me and this is one way I fill the silence in my home!
I am a recent mature age graduate of the University of the Sunshine Coast where I initially began studying Dietetics and Nutrition. A few months into my degree I knew I truly wanted to teach. I changed my course and several years later here I am! As part of my studies I was lucky enough to spend some time here at BRIS where I fell in love with the campus, the students and the way the school embraces a diverse range of learners. I am looking forward to getting to know each child at BRIS which is one brilliant advantage of working in a small school.
I am teaching Senior Mathematics and Science and hope to teach your children resilience and determination, qualities that are beneficial with math as well as awaken their curiosity as they explore real life scientific concepts.
Personally I have three children aged 28, 24 and 20 and am engaged to be married in 2018 to the best home cook on the coast who has two grown children of his own and a 12 year old son who it is my privilege to love and help raise.
Jason Copeland, Secondary Mathematics & Science Teacher
I was born in Sydney and moved up to the Sunshine Coast with my parents in 1993 where we have been living in the beautiful town of Buderim ever since. I completed my primary education at Buderim Mountain State School and my high school years at Matthew Flinders Anglican College. After taking a gap year to travel around the UK and western Europe visiting friends and family, I started my dual degree at the University of Queensland in 2004. I graduated in 2011 with a degree in Science majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Physics and a degree in Education with a focus on secondary school teaching.
During my degrees I worked for Aldon Tutoring Centres Buderim, Caloundra and Nambour for over five years. After graduating I taught Mathematics and Science at Longreach State High School. In 2013 I bought Aldon Tutoring Buderim where I have been teaching Literacy and Numeracy to primary school students, Mathematics and Physics to high school students.
Alongside the tutoring centre I spent time relief teaching for Immanuel Lutheran College and Buderim Mountain State School. In 2018 I began my relief work for BRIS and have loved every moment at this wonderful school. I am now working part-time at BRIS teaching Maths and Science to grades 8 and 9. I love teaching at BRIS as it is a school focused on developing the greatness within each unique student and working with their individual strengths, something that is easily lost in most school settings. I adore teaching and helping people and students of all ages and I am honoured to be accepted into the caring family at BRIS.
My favourite past time activity is taking my border collie puppy for walks and spending time training him. I also enjoy listening to a wide variety of musical genres, reading, antiques, learning to play piano and guitar, sewing, photography, meditation, yoga, gardening and helping my family and friends.
Gil Hatcher, Secondary English and HASS Teacher
I’m Gilroy Hatcher or Gil and I am part of the High School team here at the school. I’m so happy to be here in this unique environment providing a very individualised educational environment for our students. I’m a family man and my wife and two young daughters are loving living up in the Sunshine Coast region. We love the beach and the mountains so living at Mt Coolum with our dog is pretty perfect for us. I love music especially Funk and R & B, and even sing and play a little when I get a chance, but I haven’t done nearly enough of lately. My mum is Tongan and my dad was born in Fiji and I enjoy travelling overseas and experiencing different cultures as often as I can.
I have a pretty varied educational background, studying History and English during my teaching degree but have also studied Engineering, Religion and Indigenous Studies. I have worked in both the Independent and State school systems and have been lucky enough to teach at an international school in China. I have an interest in pathways post school and partnerships with Employers and other training groups while students are still at school. Outside of the school setting I have experience in building and construction, hospitality and tourism as well marketing and promotions. I try to bring as much practical understanding of the ‘real world’ into the school setting as I can.
Grace Baker, Social Welfare Officer
The Sunshine Coast has been my home for my whole life, I grew up in Diamond Valley, completed all my schooling on the coast, and have now settled in Ilkley with my family. We live on 10 acres, and love spending our time at home working in the garden and slowly renovating our house.
I’ve been in the position of Social Welfare Officer at BRIS since July 2018. I love everything about our little school – the students, staff and the wonderful families that make up the community. At the beginning of 2019 my children were lucky enough to be offered places at BRIS, as it’s been beautiful watching them thrive in such a positive environment.
I completed my Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) in 2015. Throughout my degree I was fortunate to be able to volunteer in a variety of different programs – from mentoring school students, to preparing teens for employment and supporting a family with complex medical needs. Originally, I planned to continue on with an Audiology qualification after I completed my undergraduate, but I fell in love with the work of supporting children and families and headed in a different direction. ASD fascinates me, and I hope to further my education with some more study in that particular area.
I have worked in a few different schools over the last couple of years and am so happy to be based at BRIS now. I am passionate about building relationships within the community and supporting positive mental health. Every day is different for me, and I love the variety that working with children aged from 4-18 can bring. It really is a wonderful community to be involved in as both a staff member and a parent.
Wrenna Hubbard, High School 8-12 Art/Digital Technologies Teacher
I grew up on acreage in regional Queensland, with Mum and Dad taking us on a lot of long country road trips. Holidays were always spent at the beach or tinkering on our property. This, along with the camping, hiking, swimming, canoeing and abseiling I did growing up instilled in me a love for the outdoors and a deep connection to nature. I’ve lived in Brisbane, Kuranda and Byron Bay and travelled a little overseas. More recently I spent 15 years in Melbourne, with many of those years spent in the stunning Dandenong Ranges.
My family and I relocated to the Sunshine Coast one year ago to soak up the warm weather and lifestyle in, on and by the water. I am blessed to be a mother of three (two young boys and one adult daughter) and enjoy the adventures we all share as a family immensely. I have a Diploma of Arts – Community Theatre, a Bachelor of Arts – Multimedia from RMIT and completed my Graduate Diploma – Secondary Education at Melbourne University. I have worked as an educator of students of all ages over the last 15 years, starting my teaching journey in inner city Melbourne at an innovative P-12 school with both a Reggio Emilia philosophy stream and a Steiner philosophy stream. I then taught at Secondary Colleges in Frankston and Endeavour Hills in very multicultural environments, along with facilitating occasional teacher professional development in ICT and Media Arts. I am a big supporter of the STEAM movement (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) and love connecting the students’ artwork with contexts they can relate to.
I am a lover of all things messy and imaginative and a firm believer in drawing success from creative error. I believe that people live, learn and work best when they feel appreciated, heard and seen in supportive environments. This is why BRIS appeals to me as an educator. I value building positive and progressive relationships with my students and enjoy facilitating engaging and exciting curriculum for them.
I am also a multi-disciplinary artist and designer, currently working on a few projects – large, textured canvases, sketching and painting with ink, toy design, new media art, animation, lighting and photography, along with a community arts sculpture project. This year, along with working at BRIS I will also occasionally facilitate art and media workshops in regional areas of Queensland with the Flying Arts Alliance Inc.
Treena Jordan, Kitchen Garden Coordinator/Teacher’s Aide
My involvement with BRIS started in the beginning of 2017 and I haven’t looked back. I began by being the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program Kitchen Specialist, a program that I had long been involved with as a volunteer at Montville State School. In this program I guide students of varying ages of Prep to grade 12 in pleasurable food education which teaches positive food habits through fun, hands-on learning. I have over 20 years of experience in hospitality as a qualified chef, waitress, and assistant manager. In 2016 I completed my certificate IV in education support and have had the enjoyment of using this knowledge as a teacher aide here at BRIS since mid-2017.
I am a Sunny Coast kid myself and now I am lucky enough to have my two children having the benefits of living here on the Blackall Range. I feel very fortunate to be able to assist with the learning of the amazing students we have here at BRIS. Being part of the BRIS community brings much joy to my life.
Jane Little, Community Garden Coordinator
Hello, my name is Jane. Thank you to all staff & families for making me feel so welcome! I’m really enjoying the pond and the chickens and the lovely atmosphere in the school. I’m passionate about school gardens and growing food and I look forward to seeing some of you in the gardens on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Maureen Haycock, Office Manager/Facilities and Accounts
My family moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2003 from rural NSW to be closer to my parents and the ocean! My five children range in age from 26 to 17 – not long now and I’ll be finished my “school parent stage”!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve have had an interest in gaining a deeper understanding of what makes us human’s tick. Having a family member with special needs I also endeavor to be a part of networks that provide support and advocacy for those who need someone’s “louder” voice. To this end I completed my Bachelor of Science (Psychology) during 2019 after a number of years of external study – I must say that my family appeared just as proud as I did on graduation day for the part they played!
Apart from textbooks and study, I enjoy different forms of art, sewing and listening to music for relaxation. But obviously, my family remains the predominant focus.
I joined the BRIS team in April 2012, so I have been witness to the wonderful growth of the school in recent years. It’s been a busy time with lots of changes and immense positivity that I know will support the continued popularity and uniqueness that is BRIS!!
Shelly Tome’, Business Services Manager/HR
I have been employed at BRIS since January 2014. I live locally in the hinterland, with my family on acreage, enjoying the wonderful environment and lifestyle that we have here.
We have horses (both large & miniature) and like to show them, participate at Pony Club and also ride for recreation.
I have come from an Early Childhood background, having worked in a variety of early childhood centres across NSW, QLD & the Northern Territory for over 20 years.
I have also managed childcare centres and have experienced and relate to, the community minded not-for-profit philosophy at BRIS! I feel very much at home at BRIS, working with and alongside the wonderful mix of staff.
Rebecca Ramsay, Receptionist/WHS Representative
I joined the BRIS team in 2016 during Term 1. I completed my Certificate III in Business Administration in 2015 and am very excited to have the opportunity to start my new career path in such an appealing environment.
It’s very rewarding being a part of a community like BRIS, and I find joy in providing support throughout the school.
I spent 10 years in the hospitality industry, which took me across the east coast of Australia. The Sunshine Coast is where I call home and I love being close to my grandparents, where I spend some of my free time. I enjoy being outdoors, with the Sunshine Coast having so much to offer, either up in the mountains, down at the beach, or exploring all the hidden treasures in between. My hobbies include op-shopping, reading, gardening and 4×4 adventures. I have felt very welcomed by all the staff, parents and students at BRIS.
Margaret Symes, Bus Driver/Co-ordinator
My family includes Ron and Rebecca, Natalie and Caitlin who have all grown up now. Our roots are in Western Australia in a farming area in the Wheat belt known as Mt Hampton.
Driving has been a big part of my life as we lived in the remote parts of Western Australia and driving for jobs I have had previously.
We arrived in Queensland in 2012 at Chinchilla and in 2015 we purchased a home on Sunshine Coast. In 2017 the opportunity came to drive a school Bus for Blackall Range Independent School. I enjoy driving and I take pride in driving safely at all times. Being a small school with great staff, working at BRIS is totally enjoyable. I love watching the kids grow and become more independent as they get older. Being of part of the supportive community for BRIS students is a pleasure.