Wendy Roediger – Principal
Wendy started teaching in 1976 in Carnarvon and is possibly the only WA teacher to have been transferred to Margaret River Primary School twice, once in 1978, then again in 1981 after a stint at Grovelands. She has travelled extensively, briefly ran a secondhand shop, has been with the school since its very early days as Nyindamurra Family School and through its more recent evolution into Margaret River Independent School.
Her teaching career has featured many highlights, the latest being some of her original students enrolling their own children in the school. In 2008, Wendy was presented with a Certificate of Excellence from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (WA). She wants to see the school vibrant and effective for the next 40 years and beyond and growing stronger without its size increasing too greatly.
“I want to keep the passionate care for our school, the small-school experience
Melanie Grace – Little Indies Pre-Kindy Teacher
Helen Ewing – Kindergarten Teacher
The first day of school can be daunting and emotional for parents and children, however, at MRIS much preparation and groundwork goes into ensuring a smooth transition. Many months before Kindergarten commences, Helen and her team have put several strategies in place to put both children and parents at ease including an Orientation Day.
Helen has been teaching since 1981 specialising in Early childhood education. She said the most exciting aspect of her work at MRIS was spending time with the children. “I also really like the PATHS course. It is a fantastic program which promotes social and emotional competencies which then reflect in all other areas of student learning including academics.” Parental involvement is an area Helen highlights as pivotal in the kindergarten’s philosophy.
“My parents are all so helpful. They can see what their children are doing and the kids love it too because they get to know the other parents and any siblings that come in for roster .”
Pre-Primary Teacher Ann Murray [email protected]
Ann Murray – Pre-Primary Teacher and Deputy Principal
MRIS Pre-primary teacher Ann Murray has been an integral part of the school for many years. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) from Curtin University and a Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Edith Cowan University) Her previous teaching position was at Castletown Primary School in Esperance. Ann said she enjoyed teaching because she liked spending the day with children and being a part of their world.
“I enjoy learning about their interests and observing how they interpret the world around them. I enjoy the ‘happy noise’ of the classroom as the children play and interact with others.”
Ann believes MRIS is special because it offers a nurturing environment for children. “The involvement of families contributes to creating a positive, safe extension of home,” she said.
“The staff at MRIS are enthusiastic and passionate about the education of each child. It is a school that motivates you to be the best teacher you can be.”
Amanda Mas – Pre-Primary Teacher and Numeracy Tutor
Amanda, who is also the school’s Numeracy Tutor said she was inspired to become an educator because “it is the profession I truly felt pulled within my heart to be a part off.”
“For me personally, being a teacher was a natural and logical progression of my development as a person…it simply felt like me being who I was meant to be. Developing relationships and rapport with my students, their families and my colleagues, being a part of our school community, brings me a genuine sense of satisfaction and happiness.”
Amanda’s love of music and passion for cooking is often woven into her teaching style resulting in a creative, family atmosphere which children relate to in their own homes.
“I personally love music, although to be honest my talent for it is limited!! That never stops us from having fantastic dance parties in the Pre Primary. I also particularly enjoy cooking and like to utilise that in my teaching when and where possible. Although often messy and chaotic, there is always lots of learning happening, the children are always enthusiastic and engaged. I believe that coming together, sharing food, helps us to builds a sense of community and belonging.”
Holding a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Children’s Services, Amanda has been teaching for three and a half years and she has been working with children, especially in the area of Early Childhood Education since 2003.
“I see teenagers about town now who I cared for as toddlers…time really does fly!”
“In my maths role I am looking forward to running our maths market stall towards the end of the year, where the senior students are given the opportunity to put all of their learning and efforts into meaningful practice.”
“In Pre Primary my focus area is science; I really enjoy creating lots of hands on activities and experiences for the children to explore different concepts.”
Skye Robertson – Year 1 Class Teacher
Joining the school in 2012, Skye has taught Kindy to Year 10 in independent schools for the last 10 years. Brought up in the Geraldton region, Skye attended Murdoch University completing a Graduate Diploma in Education before taking up her first teaching post at Geraldton Grammar School. She has had a varied teaching career with posts in London, at Presbyterian Ladies College in Perth, and at Busselton’s GMAS.
Skye has also taught in the specialist area of fine art and has exhibited in a number of successful art exhibitions. She said the most rewarding part of teaching was getting to know the children, developing a relationship with them and encouraging them to reach their potential ” I have no preconceptions of my students. I focus on the heart of the child, their individuality, and then work with their strengths”. MRIS’ Virtues Program is a crucial strategy used throughout the school’s curriculum making it stand out from other schools, said Skye.
“I love the way ‘The Virtues’ underpin all MRIS teaching. Hearing kids talk about virtues and use them in their everyday life is very uplifting. They are set up for life with fundamental skills and beliefs”.
MRIS’ vibrant, caring community is another area Sky identifies as essential to the harmonious atmosphere on campus.
“The children are caring and encouraging of each other from K to 7. Because MRIS is small, the kids know each other which fosters a wonderful relationship between all ages”.
Kate Appleton – Year 2 Class Teacher
Kate Appleton has been teaching children from Kindergarten to Year 6 for 21 years , nine of those in the UK in the North of England. She has taken several roles in that time, including Literacy coordinator, Special Needs support, Maths support and Drama teacher. Since arriving in Australia in 2007, Kate has primarily taught Year Two, before taking on the role of Mathematics Tutoring teacher at MRIS. She is now enjoying her role back in the classroom as the Year Two teacher.
I believe that as an educator, I am extremely privileged to work with children every day and that it is my job to create a positive, safe and fun learning environment. I aim to encourage a sense of wonderment in the world around us and give students the confidence to be the best that they can be.
Ashley Burke – Year 3 Class Teacher
Ashley has been teaching for 13 years, including three years spent in a remote community as sole teacher. In that role, which she credits as a career highlight, she experienced a different culture and world in the heart of Australia. Her favourite subject is writing, because she gets “to hear and read such amazing and creative stories by Australia’s youngest authors”. Ashley describes MRIS students as great fun and sees her role in the classroom being “to equip and empower students to learn”.
A long-standing teacher at MRIS, Ashley hopes the school “continues to grow as an amazing community of dynamic and involved people”.
Sara Walker – Year 4 Class Teacher
How long have you been teaching? 9 years
Why MRIS? It is a small school with a great community feel and the ability to extend creativity beyond classroom possibilities.
What are your favourite aspects of teaching? Exploring new ideas with the students
Do you have a favourite or specialist subject? I love HASS.
What is one of the highlights of your teaching career to date? Taking the students to the Eisteddfod
What is your educational philosophy? To view every student as an opportunity.
What is your wish for MRIS’s current development and in the future? To continue to maintain its family feel.
Lindsay Burke – Year 5 Class Teacher
Lindsay Burke joined Margaret River Independent School in 2013. He has a Bachelor of Education Primary. He said he really liked the philosophy of Margaret River Independent School.
“MRIS students are nurtured not only intellectually but also socially and emotionally, this means they leave the school a more well-rounded human being. My goal as a teacher is to help to positively influence the next generation.”
Laura Nicholls – Year 6 Class Teacher
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching since 2001.
I chose MRIS as I love the philosophy of the school, fantastic team members, and wonderful programs that focus on the whole child, whilst providing academic excellence.
What are your favourite aspects of teaching? The children! I love teaching new concepts and have the children enthusiastic about learning and participating fully in the inquiry process.
Do you have a favourite or specialist subject? I love all subjects, but I particularly enjoy project work, the inquiry process and real life learning in Science, Sustainability, Maths and English.
What is one of the highlights of your teaching career to date?
Helping children who find learning difficult, with the support of a close community, watching them grown and achieve their potential to become really wonderful, happy and successful people after their school learning journey is finished.
What is your educational philosophy?
The focus on the whole child’s development, and valuing each aspect through virtues, enables a child to achieve to the best of their ability, by fostering a love of learning, in a supportive, caring learning community.
What is your wish for MRIS’s current development and in the future?
My wish is that the beautiful, creative programs that support every child, in every aspect of their development continues and grows; with the support of a fantastic team at MRIS.
Sean Allen – Sports Specialist
The wonder of education and fostering an interest in ‘always learning’ is what inspires Margaret River Independent School’s Physical Education Teacher, Sean Allen.
“I became an educator because I believe all careers start with what a teacher does,” Sean said.
Sean Allen holds a Diploma in Teaching with a Major in Physical Education and has been teaching for 16 years, the last 5 at MRIS. He is also an Accredited Rock & Water teacher and has been a Martial Arts instructor for the 36 years.
Sean has survived raising his own teenagers and knows young people go through extreme periods of growth not only physically but emotionally and intellectually. He uses his own experiences as a father along with Rock & Water resolution strategies and emotional regulation strategies to assist with everyday student issues.
Extreme sports also keep Sean grounded. He once rode the world’s longest wave on the Amazon River – it took two hours! These kind of experiences reflect the way he encourages his students to enjoy challenging environments and help them embrace their strengths and individuality.
“I want my students to feel exhilaration and at the same time be able to make critical decisions under pressure.
A physical education curriculum teaches not only sports and outdoor pursuits, but also other invaluable virtues like self-control and concentrating under pressure.
It is invaluable for students to learn how to concentrate in primary school but it takes on a whole new meaning in high school when peer pressure reaches its crescendo and our kids have to make life choices.”
Physical Education Projects
The annual Leeuwin Interschool Sports Carnival sees MRIS, St Thomas More, Augusta, Rapids Landing and Karridale primary schools compete in a range of athletic events.
The aim of the carnival is to foster team work, patience and learn how to support others.
“The Sports Carnival is also a great opportunity to help practise focus when confronted with pressure…in a friendly atmosphere of course!
Students are taught how to practise self-talk before a big race.
Positive words of support are a skill that applies to our sports day and in many other areas of life.”
Sean said other projects planned for his students in 2020 included an environmental focus whereby the Year 6 students learn about ‘Green Living’ as well as Surfing sessions (Yr 6) and a Gymnastic program (Yr 4).
Sky River – Dance & Drama Specialist and Mini Indies Playgroup Leader
Sky has a BA in Visual Arts and English Honours and is actively exploring how ecological relationships can be expressed through play, storytelling, performance and puppetry to encourage social and environmental connection.
Amalia Curtin- Music Specialist
Maree Norris-Mohn – Visual Arts Specialist
Maree has been teaching visual art for 42 years and has a particular fondness for claywork. She said the highlight of her work was teaching the children of past students.
Her favourite aspect of teaching was providing both an opportunity for and encouraging students’ awareness and sensibility to art. She chose to teach at MRIS due to an interest in the intial concept of setting up of an independent school.
“My education philosophy is to help students to be open, perceptive and flexible in their creative endeavours and my wish for MRIS is to always encourage students and staff to perceive, imagine, explore and invent.”
Alicia McIntosh-Language Teacher (French)
How long have you been teaching? Since 2005.
Why MRIS? I love the holistic outlook on education and learning.
What are your favourite aspects of teaching? The magic. Those moments when our students are fully, deeply and eagerly engage in their own learning …it’s then their education takes flight. I love finding new ways for my students’ to learn, explore and discover their world.
Do you have a favourite or specialist subject? French
What is one of the highlights of your teaching career to date? I have been very fortunately to travel the world for many years and do what I love… Teach and learn.
What is your educational philosophy? I believe all children have the capacity to learn when provided with appropriate scaffolding, opportunities for learning and a nurturing, holistic environment.
What is your wish for MRIS’s current development and in the future? For all students to be able to speak French with growing proficiency.
Pam Tuffin – Literacy Tutor
Pam Tuffin has been teaching for over 17 years and relishes the opportunity to work with children individually in a flexible environment that nurtures the learning abilities of each child. The highlights of Pam’s teaching career are the long term connections made with the children.
“I also enjoy the opportunity to witness their growth and development and the innocence of their conversation. I want children to look forward to coming to school each day. I get great satisfaction when children love school and love learning.”