Louise Cameron, School Principal & Special Needs Coordinator
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, Deputy Principal & High School 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!
Jodi Swan, Early Years 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.
Zoe Stevens, Lower Primary Years Teacher
Hello everybody my name is Zoe. I have been studying education for 15 years and I LOVE IT! My passion is helping children unravel their uniqueness while discovering and developing their individual interests. As a teacher, one of the most rewarding things for me is seeing each individual child’s personality emerge as we all grow together here at BRIS.
I grew up in Lismore on a working dairy farm and loved this time milking the moo-ers and wandering the paddocks. I’ve always loved the outdoors and am still somewhat of a farm girl at heart. After completing my own schooling in Lismore, I soon left Australia to travel and work overseas. This was a great experience during which I was exposed to many different job opportunities and life experiences. I particularly enjoyed my time in Holland and managed to learn the language. Once I returned home I enrolled at the University of New England, Armidale and began studying a Bachelor of Education majoring in Creative Arts and Aboriginal Studies.
In 2015, I moved to the Sunshine Coast region and as I had been aware of BRIS for some time I popped in to put my kids name down on the waiting list. It wasn’t long before I received a happy phone call from Maureen inviting us to attend the school and they have been here ever since and love it! I joined the BRIS community as a teacher in 2018 and I’m very happy to be a part of such a lovely school.
My family and I are currently living on an acreage south of Gympie where we are building our own small menagerie. We like spending our weekends at home caring for our animals and being outdoors in the bush.
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!
Jane Britton, Senior Mathematics & Science 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.
Wrenna Hubbard, Visual Arts
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.
Netty Pukall, Prep – 3 Art Teacher
I am chuffed to be working with a humble, artistic community here at BRIS. I have worked within the Education system since the beginning of my working career and have been a fully registered teacher for QLD Education since 2012. I have worked as a Senior English and Humanities teacher at Innisfail, Murgon, Nanango, Maroochydore and Nambour High Schools and am now on a passionate path of visual arts.
I volunteer my time at the Cooroy Butter Factory to ensure my involvement within the local art scene and keep up to date with any local art competitions that could benefit my students.
I live at Maroochydore with my husband and two beautiful children whom attend Maroochydore State High School as seniors and will soon be graduates.
I am excited to meet you and assist in the artistic development of your children within the local artist community.
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’, Bussiness 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 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. 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 welcomed by everyone involved at BRIS and I look forward to the future!
Margaret Symes, Bus Driver/Co-ordinator
My family includes Ron and three girls who are grown up now. Our roots are in Western Australia in a farming area in the Wheat Belt known as Mt Hampton. Our farm was a ‘wheat & sheep’ farm working 7000 acres and helping parents with another 6000 acres, with a gold mine included on the property. Ron’s family were pioneers of low rainfall farming, living on the property for over 90 years.
Being in such a remote area, driving was a must, as the local shops are an hour’s drive away. I got my heavy vehicle license to help with delivering our wheat to the wheat bins.
In 2006 we leased the farm and moved to Cape Burney near Geraldton. I worked at the Geraldton court house, in my first full time driving role.
In 2010, while the girls were small enough to travel (aged 10,12,14), we sold our home in Geraldton and travelled around Australia. That travel experience was the highlight of our lives for the whole family.
After more than a year living in a caravan, we stopped in Corowa in NSW and worked. I took a job as a school bus driver, and I loved it, so when we moved to Chinchilla in QLD for Ron’s work, I again got a job with the local bus owner, driving school buses to get farm kids to and from school.
With purchasing a home on the Sunshine Coast only 4 minutes from Blackall Range Independent School, I was given the fantastic opportunity of driving their new bus, starting at BRIS in Feb 2017.
I enjoy driving and 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 a part of the supportive community for BRIS students is a pleasure. I am the one who takes care of your kids while they are travelling on the bus, and I promise to really take care when driving.
Jenny McColl, Teacher’s Aide
I grew up on a farm not far from Invercargill New Zealand- the furthest south you can get- hence my beautiful accent with my rolling r’s. Once I was married we lived in various places in both the South and North Island. In 2009 we (Husband Allan and children Chris and Theresa) moved to Mudgee in New South Wales for seven years before moving to the beautiful Sunshine Coast in 2017. There is no better way to explore, finding new scenery and camping spots than to make somewhere new home. We are loving Queensland but I will always be a committed All Black Supporter! When I’m home you will find me lost in a variety of books, scrapbooking or trying my hand at a new craftI have my Cert IV in Social Services and Cert IV in Education Support. I have always loved mentoring and supporting young people in education, sports and social groups.
I have worked in High Needs Special Education, and at both primary and secondary schools. Nothing makes my heart sing more than to see a young person succeed in something they previously thought impossible.
I very much enjoy the flexibility Independent Schools provide for educating all students and am embracing the caring family atmosphere with the staff, students and families. Thank you for making me feel at home and I’m very excited to be part of the exciting future at BRIS!
Eva Carless, Physical Education & Teacher’s Aide
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!
Charlotte Bradshaw, Music