Meet just some of our Senior School staff. Our teaching & support staff are experts in their fields.

Their breadth of knowledge and life experiences add a rich and deep level of unparalleled learning that extends well beyond the classroom.

This knowledge and experience is passed on to our students as they are mentored and challenged to think deeply about possibilities and to strive to individually achieve their best.


Leigh Cordell

Head of LOTE & Teacher

Favourite song: Hmm, I have quite eclectic tastes so too hard to narrow it down to just one. Special memories growing up of the Beach Boys though.
Favourite place: I love travelling so anywhere interesting! But I have a soft spot for Tasmania and China.
Inspired by: Cannot go past my supportive and incredible wife and family. Students constantly amaze and inspire me too; people are so capable when they choose to be.
Favourite book: A tough one. When I was young, I would have said Harry Potter but recently Julia Donaldson has kept me sane!
If you could be any animal? An eagle, or the like. The chance to fly and see the world from above? Sign me up!
Why SOC? It really is a supportive and inclusive place where each student can strive to achieve their own potential and are catered for in a holistic manner. Regardless of a student’s interest, passion or individual difference, there is always a pathway and support to let them be their best. Likewise, as a staff member, I always know there are colleagues who I can turn to and rely on when required.


Sharon Beattie

Head of English & Teacher
English, French

Favourite song: SOS by Abba & Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Favourite place: Paris and Bridport
Inspired by: Refugees who make the decision to flee their homes, with their children, for a safer life and working mothers.
Favourite book: Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen, To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee, Narrow Road to the Deep North-Richard Flanagan, The Rain Heron-Robbie Arnott, Boy Swallows Universe-Trent Dalton (indulge me, I’m an English teacher)
If you could be any animal? A panda (for Briggs House) or our dog Daisy (labrador x beagle) who has the best life ever.
Why SOC? Second best family I have ever belonged to. Totally dedicated colleagues and passionate students. And I get paid to read great books and then talk about them which are two of my favourite things.


Joy Russell

Year 11 and 12 Coordinator & Teacher
Economics, Business Studies, Humanities

Favourite song: I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor
Favourite place: Any beach with crashing waves
Inspired by: My students
Favourite book: So many to choose from…Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
If you could be any animal? A Carmine Bee-eater bird, this gregarious bird lives on the banks of the Zambesi river and migrates to equatorial Africa from March to August.
Why SOC? Because the Robert Dean Senior Student Centre is an environment where people care.


Kate Gard

Senior School Head of House (Nance), Deputy Head of Boarding & Teacher
Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Systems, Biology

Favourite song: Today it’s Vapour Trail, by Ride.
Favourite place: Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu.
Inspired by: Sir David Attenborough
Favourite book: I couldn’t possibly narrow it down from my twenty or so favourites.
If you could be any animal? Michelle Rybka’s dogs. They have a very good life.
Why SOC? Because the teachers are amazing, of course! It’s wonderful to be a part of such a supportive, fun and professional community.


Michelle Rybka

Teacher and TASC Liaison Officer
Health Studies, Food & Nutrition, Science, HPE

Favourite song: Main Titles by Ramin Djawadi (from Game of Thrones – one of my favourite TV shows)
Favourite place: Whistler Blackcomb, Canada (in winter)
Inspired by: Anyone who follows their passion, even if it means that it pushes them outside of their comfort zones.
Favourite book: The entire Scarpetta Series by Patricia Cornwell
If you could be any animal? Given how spoilt my dogs are, I would be one of them; however, if I couldn’t choose my owner, I’d be a Raven because they are smarter than we give them credit for.
Why SOC? The fantastic relationships that I have with both the students and the staff. It is a nice mix of serious and fun!


Anna Waites

Teacher, Head of Maths
Maths, Science, Physics

Favourite song: I love many songs and bands all depending on my mood ranging from punk rock and folk music to classical music.
Favourite place: Anywhere outside in a natural environment from beach to forest. The alpine areas of Sweden have a special place in my heart.
Inspired by: Many people that show compassion, persistence, determination to influence society to be a better place for all.
Favourite book: Impossible to say. I read or devour lots of different books mainly fiction when on holidays. Examples range from Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita to teenage fiction Finnikin of the Rock.
If you could be any animal? Maybe an arctic fox (even though it is a harsh life).
Why SOC? It is a place full of amazing staff and students that all work together. Simply a great place to work.


Nathan Peterson


Favourite song: Party in the USA by Mylie Cyrus is a classic! who couldn’t love it?
Favourite place: Twilight Cove in Esperance WA.
Inspired by: My Family, my colleagues and my students.
Favourite book: Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
If you could be any animal? I don’t understand why anyone would willingly choose to be further down the food chain!
Why SOC? Here I get to teach amazing young people, work with outstanding, and altogether interesting, colleagues while living in one of the most beautiful (and peaceful) parts of the planet. And I get to deal with Mathematics on a daily basis – it’s the dream!


Luke Hammond

Science, Physical Sciences, Chemistry

Favourite song: Shark Fin Blues – The Drones.
Favourite place: Derby
Inspired by: Nelson Mandela
Favourite book: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
If you could be any animal? Wedge Tailed Eagle – It is the largest bird of prey in Australia. I would love to be able to fly.
Why SOC? There are so many reasons I choose to teach at Scotch Oakburn College. Most of all it is the fantastic students, colleagues, and opportunities available.


Stephen Dobson

Design and Technology

Favourite song: Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Favourite place: East Coast in Tassie, Penang, Malaysia if overseas.
Inspired by: Great Australian Designers and Architects.
Favourite book: River God Series by Wilbur Smith
If you could be any animal? A sea turtle would be nice. Travel the world, tropical beaches and live a long life.
Why SOC? The students are fantastic to work with, the staff are genuinely interested in the care and growth of our students and I am lucky enough to work in the best Design Department in the State. Hard to ask for more than that as a teacher.


Virginia Berechree

Head of Professional Learning, Research and Innovation & Teacher

Favourite song: The Sound of Silence by Disturbed.
Favourite place: Anywhere with my son.
Inspired by: Jacinda Ardern
Favourite book: Lot!
If you could be any animal? A seahorse because the males give birth … no, seriously, some sort of awesome, graceful bird who can soar!
Why SOC? I love it! I have loved it every year I have been here. We have wonderful students, supportive parents and community and incredible colleagues and facilities. What more could anyone want?


Roger Carey

Design & Technology

Favourite song: Kah San, Back in Black, Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
Favourite place: Beechford
Inspired by: My mother and sons.
Favourite book: Sporting biographies.
If you could be any animal? Dog – because they get loved, housed, fed and someone picks up their poo.
Why SOC? Great kids and awesome toys in an excellent D&T department!


Angela Vaughan

Science & Biology

Favourite song: Pachabel’s Canon in D.
Favourite place: By water in a rainforest.
Inspired by: Sir David Attenborough
Favourite book: Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
If you could be any animal? Dragon – though mythical it is an animal that is renowned for wisdom, is long-lived and can fly!
Why SOC? It is a community that is supportive and encouraging while striving for excellence.


Lei Sun

Teacher & Database Administrator
Chinese & Digital Technologies

Favourite song: A little happiness 小幸运 by Hebe Tien.
Favourite place: Zhenjiang 镇江(my hometown).
Inspired by: My mum, my calligraphy teacher, people who have passion and try hard to pursue their dreams.
Favourite book: 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan
If you could be any animal? A turtle living a long life in the ocean.
Why SOC? I am so grateful and proud to work at SOC because the school provides holistic education and is open to innovation and internationalism. The people I work with are caring, inspiring, supportive, appreciative and inclusive.


Judy Poynter

Careers Project Officer

Favourite song: Paul Kelly’s How to Make Gravy.
Favourite place: Coningham Beach, Southern Tasmania.
Inspired by: My father, who has been one of my most valued teachers.
Favourite book: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl … and any book that speaks of adversity and rising above it in a positive way.
If you could be any animal? Teresa Darcy’s (SOC Careers Advisor) horse Fig … I’ve never known a more well cared for animal!
Why SOC? Our focus on supporting each student to achieve their potential is an enormous privilege in which to be involved.


Georgie Routley


Favourite song: Israël Kamakawiwo’ole’s Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World medley.
Favourite place: Hmm…so many; skiing down a mountain slope on a sunny day, visiting London, or sitting at the Christmas lunch table with my family!
Inspired by: Annabel Crabb – clever, funny and colourful.
Favourite book: How to choose…?!? Noble House by James Clavell.
If you could be any animal? A horse – they’re strong and valiant.
Why SOC? My family has a long history with the school and I knew I would feel welcome here and feel a sense of belonging… and I was right!


Jennene Scott

English and Humanities

Favourite song: I love a wide variety of music but 90s music will always reign supreme. Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap is a go-to song for car trips.
Favourite place: Tassie’s East Coast
Inspired by: Jacinda Arden as a leader who acts with integrity and kindness, all while doing her most important job as a mum.
Favourite book: It’s hard to narrow it down to one, but Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet is a book I’ll happily read again and again.
If you could be any animal? No animal is more indulged than my dog, Billie. I’d love to be spoilt like her.
Why SOC? The teachers, who genuinely care for the development and well-being of their students; and the students, who embrace the amazing opportunities they are given at this school.


Jane Gregg

Senior School Head of House (Fox) & Teacher
Humanities & Legal Studies

Favourite song: I have many favourite songs depending on my mood. I am known to break some moves to Sandstorm by Darude.
Favourite place: The Beach – any beach with white sand and that beautiful blue-green water; in particular Noosa.
Inspired by: Resilience in the face of adversity inspires me. I am inspired by people who rise from the ashes or demonstrate that something can be achieved from nothing.
Favourite book: I don’t have a favourite as I tend to say the last book I read was just that! However, there are many life lessons to be learnt from children’s books. Winnie the Pooh is a favourite of mine.
If you could be any animal? I would be a dolphin. Dolphin’s move effortlessly and eloquently through the water and are also social animals, and I enjoy a social chit chat.
Why SOC? Scotch Oakburn is not just a great College, it is a great community.  The African quote “It takes a village to raise a child/ren” sums up our College.


Katie Lester

Middle School Head of House (Fox) & Teacher
English & Humanities

Favourite song: Even though I’m a wordy person, I love sweeping melodies: Layla by Eric Clapton, Local Hero – Dire Straits, Forever Autumn – Jeff Wayne.
Favourite place: Send me to a beach in any season.
Inspired by: Michelle Obama (such an intelligent, classy lady!) and my beautiful family.
Favourite book: I did recently enjoy The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.  I found it exceptionally inspiring.
If you could be any animal? I’ve always admired elephants for their majestic presence and loyalty to family.
Why SOC? There’s no other place I’d rather be!  The opportunities are endless for everyone, the support is phenomenal but most of all, I just love the kids.


Ali Foot

Teacher & Sports Administrator
Health and Physical Education

Favourite song: Runaway by Ziggy Alberts
Favourite place: Marourds Beach at St Helens, Tasmania.
Inspired by: Beau Vernon
Favourite book: The power of one by Bryce Courtenay
If you could be any animal? A Cheetah, they are really fast and have orange hair like me!
Why SOC? SOC is always changing for the better, looking for innovative ways to offer opportunities to all students and staff. SOC motivates everyone that walks through the gates to do extra and chase their dreams on the way to becoming a well-rounded member of the community.


Kylie Wolstencroft

Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist

Favourite song: really depends on my mood but Cowboy Junkies Blue Moon has to get a mention.
Favourite place: Riding my Clydesdale George
Inspired by: People who persist despite knockbacks and adversity.
Favourite book: Got to love a good murder mystery!
If you could be any animal? I think Paddington has a pretty good life!
Why SOC? SOC provides a positive and caring learning environment with a firm focus on holistic development and wellbeing.



Wellbeing Dog

Favourite song: Who Let the Dogs out by Baha Men
Favourite place: Anywhere where there is food!
Inspired by: A tie between Scooby Doo and Pavlov’s dogs
Favourite book: Spot Goes to School
If you could be any animal? A cat, nah just joking. I’m awesome, I’ll just be me.
Why SOC? Are you kidding? SOC has a renowned reputation for employing only the best wellbeing and therapy dogs. It is an honour to be here.


Sharon Geale

Humanities & English

Favourite song: Lose Yourself by Eminem
Favourite place: Any beach in Tasmania!
Inspired by: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Favourite book: The entire Harry Potter series!
If you could be any animal? Swings daily between a Sloth and a Cheetah!
Why SOC? The Inter-House Singing Carnival is THE most important date on the calendar! How fabulous is that?!


Peter Smith

Learning Development

Favourite song: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
Favourite place: Greek Islands
Inspired by: Nelson Mandela
Favourite book: The man who was Thursday by GK Chesterton
If you could be any animal? A Seychelles Giant Tortoise…they live a LONG time!
Why SOC? Great students, great staff and great facilities.


Lauren Knight

Head of Design and Technology & Teacher
Food Technology

Favourite song: Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
Favourite place: Waikite Valley Thermal Springs, New Zealand
Inspired by: Food from cultures around the world.
Favourite book: Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph
If you could be any animal? I would be a lioness!
Why SOC? Opportunities for teaching and learning are endless. There is such a focus on the development of the whole student, not only academic rigour.