Louise Cameron, School Principal & Early Years Teacher
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.
John Rasmussen, School Principal & Middle Years Teacher
I was born in Brisbane, but grew up in Wolvi, a small community just over the range from Kin Kin. My parents were small crop farmers, so I spent my childhood stumping around paddocks and exploring the wonderful bush around our farm.
When I completed year 12, I moved to Brisbane to attend university, studying information systems. After graduation, I spent a few years in South Korea teaching English as a second language, as well as travelling around Asia and the U.S.A . Upon my return to Australia, I enrolled at university and gained my bachelor of education.
Before BRIS, I taught at the Aboriginal and Islander Independent School in Brisbane. I love the flexibility that independent schools provide, this fluidity in the delivery of the curriculum really allows for a rich educational experience!
I love being outdoors surfing, walking, rock climbing, camping and taking photos. I enjoy listening to and playing music, reading books and watching movies. I love playing soccer and taking my dog to the beach to throw Frisbee.
I live in Buderim with my wife and daughter. I love the Sunshine Coast and I am so glad and thankful to live and work in such a magnificent place!
Danielle Hicks, Primary Years 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.
Jennifer Lopes, Senior Years Teacher
I was born in Darwin and have recently moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Darwin is a very multicultural place, so I have been involved in teaching senior secondary students in school, as well as adults in TAFE, from a wide variety of backgrounds including remote Indigenous communities, West Papua, Indonesia, East Timor, Sudan, South Korea, etc. My education background includes a Bachelor of Arts, Postgraduate Diploma in Education, VET Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and I am currently completing my Masters in Education in TESOL.
I enjoy the natural environment as we moved to the Sunshine Coast to swim in the ocean minus the crocodiles. I am happy to be living in Coolum Beach with my husband and have our home become the “holiday home” for our children and family to visit.
Since arriving here, I feel lucky to be teaching the senior students’ at Blackall Range Independent School. The main thing I enjoy about teaching senior students is helping them gain confidence and transition into young adults who can all find pathways to work or further study as well as a happy place in their communities. The view of Ferdinand the Bull from my window is not bad either. Thank you BRIS for making me feel so welcome!
Maureen Haycock, Office Manager
My family moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2003 from rural NSW to be closer to my parents and the ocean! The eldest of our five children is now studying overseas and the youngest is just beginning her high school journey.
During 2012, I began a Science (Psychology) degree as I have had a long-held interest in gaining a deeper understanding of what makes us human’s tick! Having a family member with special needs I endeavor to be a part of networks that provide support.
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 hope will support the continued popularity and uniqueness that is BRIS!!
Shelly Tome’, Bookkeeper
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, Administration Assistant
I joined the BRIS team in 2016 during Term 1. I completed my Certificate III in Business Administration in December 2015 and am very excited to have the opportunity to start my new career path in such an appealing environment.
I am drawn towards being a part of an educational-based community like BRIS and find satisfaction 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. My social life mainly revolves around friendships held since high school. I enjoy being outdoors, with the Sunshine Coast having so much to offer, either up the mountains or down at the beach. I have felt very welcome by everyone involved at BRIS and I look forward to the future!
Eva Carless, Physical Education & Primary Years Teacher’s Aid
My journey as an educator is just beginning, as I’m currently studying a bachelor of primary education. 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!
Caryn Skeen, Welfare Officer
I am an accredited mental health social worker, play therapist, educator, and author. I have spent over a decade working with children and adolescents, and their families in areas such as child protection, child health services, sexual assault and private practice. I have worked in the government and non-government sectors both here in Australia and UK.
As student welfare officer, I have the privilege of supporting parents and empowering students to exceed and achieve greater results, relationships, self-awareness and ultimately greater success during their school years. I work closely with staff to facilitate small group work focusing on areas such as: life skills, relationship skills, enhancing positive school culture and community engagement projects.
I have been on the Sunshine Coast for about 12 years with my husband and children. My eldest daughter is at uni and the youngest is in year 5. As a parent I have had my fair share of parenting challenges (and they continue!). As parents our ultimate goal is to raise children in a way that makes them blossom. We want our children to enjoy meaningful relationships, be caring and compassionate, do well in school, work hard and be responsible, and feel good about who they are – those are my goals as both a parent and welfare officer.
Charlotte Bradshaw, Music