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2016 Staff Matters

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

By Mr Bob Holloway, USC Principal

A number of members of the USC academic staff were engaged by the University of Adelaide during 2016 to serve as sessional lecturers in the School of Education. Glen Arthur (Chemistry), Kate Cutts (Psychology), Andrew Hartigan (EAL), Zahra Pirvali (Physics) and Maurie Wetherall (Biology) each contributed to the delivery of information and skills to allow pre-service teachers to prepare themselves better for the challenges of the classroom. In addition Nadia Lovett (Positive Psychology and Wellbeing), Murray Thompson (Value of Demonstrations) and Bob Holloway (Career Pathways in Teaching) gave pre-service teachers some valuable insights. Yvette Winter (Law) and Tammy DiGiusto (Classics) also contributed as sessional lecturers.

Also during the year a number of academic staff continued to pursue post-graduate study and research at Masters or Doctoral level. Kate Cutts (Education), Ryan Jackson (Analysis of the SACE Research Project), Andrew Hartigan (Discursive Classrooms), Robert Horne (Creative Writing) and Simon Sypek (Education) gave time and energy to their own professional development. It was pleasing to learn that Tammy DiGiusto received her Masters Degree during the year. Members of staff were often very generous in sharing their own learning experiences with students undertaking the Stage 2 Research Project.

Members of the academic staff – Morris Allen, Glen Arthur, Anna Bassani, Hayley Cundy, David Garwood, Martin Gray, Andrew Hartigan, Lynn Jackson and Ryan Jackson – have given their professional support to the SACE Board in a variety of roles during the year. In addition, Kate Cutts and Nadia Lovett have been active in their support of the delivery of Wellbeing and Positive Psychology programs arranged by SAHMRI.

STAFF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I am personally grateful for the support and guidance provided by all members of the senior leadership team in this very dynamic and complex learning community.

Our Deputy Principal, Dr Murray Thompson plays a key role in the management and daily operation of the school. We are indebted to Murray for his good judgement and unbounded energy in his endeavour to accommodate the needs of each individual. Murray continues to approach his professional responsibilities with integrity, consistency, a wonderful sense of humour and a genuine desire to assist all staff and students to make the best of the opportunities available at USC.

We are indebted to the leadership and course counselling skills of Lisa Temple (Year 12 Dean), Simon Sypek (Year 11 Dean) and Michael Jacobsen (International Dean) as they monitor the academic progress and engagement of students under their care and guidance. The position of Dean is a demanding and complex role and it is absolutely critical to the smooth running and efficient operation of the school as they lead their respective mentor teams. Most importantly the Deans ensure that every student is supported throughout their time at USC, from enrolment and orientation through to graduation.

Our school counsellor, Dr Nadia Lovett continues to have a strong influence over the wellbeing of our whole school community and provides generous support and sound advice to the students in her care. Nadia has the capacity to connect with young people and gain their confidence willingly because of her sincerity and genuine desire to help in any situation. In addition to the important roles that Nadia undertakes in counselling, fundraising and building community spirit, she is highly regarded for her photography – the images she captures each year provide a wonderful record of special events and developments across the whole school community.

The delivery and administration of learning pathways at senior secondary level are complex issues especially when faced with the uncertainty of significant change imposed by external agencies. We are indebted to Kate Cutts (Director of Teaching and Learning) who has taken on the responsibility to lead staff through changes linked to the national curriculum and the need to review our professional practice.

We are also fortunate to have the judicious guidance of Yvette Winter (SACE Coordinator) to facilitate the myriad operational tasks surrounding the administration and reporting of SACE. Additionally, Heather Wiseman’s role as ICT Manager is pivotal to the smooth operation of the school and the impact of new technologies on learning strategies and teaching methodologies seems to increase the complexity of her role ever year. This year has been particularly demanding as Heather has been instrumental our shift to the Jordan and providing support for staff as we transition to a new administration database and LMS.

I wish to acknowledge the high degree of professionalism and guidance provided by team leaders; Glen Arthur (Professional Practice and ICLT’s), Martin Gray (Stage 1 English), Andrew Hartigan (SACE International), Ryan Jackson (Research Project), Lisa Lanchester (Mathematics), Louise Small and Damien Coghlan (Careers) and Zahra Pirvali (Science). Every individual has made a significant contribution to the depth and quality of our teaching program and we are indebted for their input and leadership.

As well as recognising the ongoing professional input from the teaching staff, I also acknowledge the critically important contribution of our wonderful administration staff: Wayne Adams, Brenda Adcock, Michelle Giavis, Lee Paschburg, Lisa Maiorano, Laurene Trus, Helen Webber, Zora Wenham and Carolyn Woods. In particular I thank Tash Pressley for the support that she has given me personally to help keep operational matters on track.

Carmen Bishop is to be commended on the professional and energetic manner in which she continues to approach her role as Director of Marketing and Community Relations for the local school. In particular her work with the Old Scholars’ Association and the Children’s University has been greatly appreciated. Guanye Qu does a remarkable job as our International Marketing Manager and is our man on the ground in Asia. He continues to deliver a productive support service to our network of overseas agents and builds relationships from which we are able to maintain enrolments against all the market trends.

Finally I wish to acknowledge the work of our Finance Manager, Karen Boyd who continues to execute her role in an exemplary and thoroughly professional manner. Karen’s financial expertise, her deep understanding of operational matters and her attention to detail provides a wonderful skill set that ensures high quality administration and strong professional leadership across the school.

STAFF FAREWELLS

This year we farewell a number of highly valued colleagues.

It is with mixed emotions that I formally announce the retirement of Graham Payze who commenced teaching Specialist Mathematics at USC in 2002, our foundation year. With his broad experience in education and many years in leadership roles as a senior teacher, examiner and author, Graham brought knowledge, insights and skills that were invaluable during our formative years. Graham graduated from the University of Adelaide with a degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics, a challenging and rigorous tertiary pathway. However, it is highly probable that the time Graham spent in National Service as the Regimental Drill Instructor at Puckapunyal, provided another strong foundation for the years that followed as an exemplary teacher and universally respected leader in Maths education.

A clear thinker and persuasive speaker, Graham was always able to provide clarity and direction to the important discussions regarding how best to implement the school mission and build a new school culture. From the outset Graham was a strong advocate for a school community built on tolerance and mutual respect. We are indebted for the lead he took as Year 11 Dean and the deep impact he had in his role as Deputy Principal for a period of five years.

A true gentleman, his interactions with staff and students were always thoughtful, calm and supportive. We will certainly miss his input to the teaching of Specialist Maths, his good counsel and his calm assessment of complex issues. However, more importantly we will miss his smile, his jokes and those perceptive, timely and sensible comments that provided clarity and direction in our vibrant school environment.

Graham’s empathy for young people, his capacity to nurture confidence, build self-belief, focus thinking and engage learning is without equal. His teaching has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students and I’m sure that they all wish Graham good health and much happiness in retirement after such a successful and distinguished teaching career.

 

Maurie Wetherall has also announced his retirement and will step out of the Jordan laboratory at the end of this year.  A member of our foundation staff, Maurie established the Biology program at USC and has been actively involved in the smooth operation of our laboratories for many years.

After graduating with an Honours Degree in Developmental Biology from Flinders University, Maurie spent 25 years with the SA Education Department and fulfilled a wide variety of teaching and leadership roles. He chose to make a move into the independent sector and gained a great deal of experience in senior secondary education including some time teaching Foundation Studies in science for aboriginal students attending Wilto Yerlo. Maurie’s work with students from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and his work as an exam writer and editor of the highly popular ‘Biology Essentials’ brought a vast wealth of experience to both the classroom and the broader school community.

As an inaugural member of staff, Maurie was actively involved in developing strong links with the science and medical faculties at the University of Adelaide. This collaboration opened new opportunities for USC students and allowed a number of positive learning experiences. His work with pre-service teachers in the School of Education at the University of Adelaide has always been highly regarded and Maurie has given wonderful support to the program over many years. The quality of his work has been recognised by graduate students on several occasions through his repeated nomination for the annual ‘Award of Excellence’.

Maurie is a highly skilled and well-respected teacher who has always demonstrated the capacity to nurture his students, build their confidence and engage them in their learning. We are grateful for the broad contribution that Maurie has made to USC especially during those foundation years. We will miss his experience and wisdom, but Maurie’s legacy will prevail. We wish Maurie good health and much happiness in the years ahead.

 

Trevor Bland has announced his retirement and will leave USC at the end of the year after a decade of exemplary teaching. Trevor joined the Maths department in 2007 after many years of service in a number of government high schools, both country and city. A highly acclaimed teacher of mathematics, Trevor also took on a senior leadership role as Deputy Principal in a large metropolitan High School for more than a decade. He served in this demanding role with distinction and there is little doubt that his astute classroom management skills were perfected whilst in the role.

Trevor brought skills and insights to our staff room that provided clarity, a sense of calm and practicality. His work in the classroom was even more stunning. His empathy for young people, his capacity to nurture their confidence, focus their thinking and engage their learning is without equal and we will miss his professional input into our program. Trevor’s outstanding contribution in the classroom has also been recognised though an Award of Excellence presented by the School of Education.

Trevor came to USC for a few years and we are thankful that we managed to hold him for ten. Trevor has distinguished himself in every school that he has taught, he has set high standards and always conducted himself in a manner that has drawn the best from students and colleagues. A true gentleman, universally admired, his presence at USC and his calm efficiency will be sadly missed. The allure of that fishing boat is just too great and we reluctantly wish Trevor ‘tight lines’.

 

Robert Horne also leaves USC this year after 8 years of service. Robert came into teaching after almost 20 years in the Commonwealth Public Service where he was held in high regard as a senior project officer and team leader. He secured graduate qualifications in teaching and developed his professional craft in a variety of Adelaide schools before arriving at USC in 2006.

Robert was a highly skilled, knowledgeable and well-respected teacher of Classical Studies and he transformed many students into highly effective critical thinkers and skilled writers through his exemplary teaching and his passion for the Classics.

Robert is a published author of short stories (‘The Undergrowth’ and ‘Love the Hurt’), former vocalist, songwriter and an avid learner.  After securing a Masters Degree in English Language and Literature in 2010 he embarked on extensive research in Cambodia to compile material for a thesis and book, both to be presented towards a doctorate. In more recent times Robert’s pursuit of post-graduate studies has limited his time in the classroom, but we have been grateful for the time that has been possible. However, we are thankful for the positive contribution that he has made to the teaching of Classical Studies at USC and his undying support of Humanities and Arts. We wish him every future success and look forward to reading his next publication(s) when released.

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