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
Helen Ewing – Little Indies Pre-Kindy Teacher
Murray Stevenson – Kindergarten Teacher
What essential tools do you use to deliver your unique style of education?
As an experienced teacher I have a plethora of tools I can implement depending on the situation and the child’s specific needs. However, I am always honing my skills and adding more tools to my kit. I am hoping to use this year to learn more about the PATHS program and to develop my Non-Violent Communication tools.
How do you cater for individual learning styles?
Every child is unique with their own distinctive interests, needs, motivations and learning styles. I try to cater for individual needs by sharing time and space with each child to try to get to know and understand them, until I reach a position of genuine care.
What qualifications do you hold and how many years have you been teaching?
I hold a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from Edith Cowan University. My first teaching position was in Fremantle in 1991, so this year is my 30th year in the profession. I also hold a Bachelor of Creative Industries, a Diploma of Woodcraft and a Diploma of Building Design.
Do you have any particular interests, hobbies or talents that you like to weave into your teaching style?
I have a passion for oral storytelling, which is probably one of the oldest and ingrained methods of teaching/learning, which I weave into my teaching. I love bushwalking and am passionate about the biodiversity, geology and history of the Southwest environment. As well as teaching I work as a guide on the Cape to Cape track and at the Caves and run a small business that designs and builds playground structures.
Do you have any special projects planned for your class this year?
Most of our ‘special projects’ in Kindy are child initiated and tend to be more spontaneous than planned. I would love to use my playground design skills to work with the children, to further develop the outdoor play space.
Why did you become an educator?
I don’t think I every really had a choice. I honestly feel that Early Childhood Education is my true vocation. It is my “calling” and I am blessed to be given a calling that is so filled with joy and purpose.
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.”
Shaunna Kilcullen – Pre-Primary Teacher
Skye Robertson – Year 1 Class Teacher and Visual Art 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.
Amanda Mas – Year 2 Tandem Teacher and Numeracy Tutor
Seeing students succeed and thrive not just academically but also emotionally is “what really lights up” Margaret River Independent School’s Pre-Primary Teacher, Amanda Mas.
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 five 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.”
“My focus area is science; I really enjoy creating lots of hands on activities and experiences for the children to explore different concepts.”
Kate Cawse – Year 3 Class Teacher
“I believe the most essential tool in delivering a unique style of education is to build positive relationships with the children. Understanding each child as an individual and building a rapport is a priority in order to establish a supportive environment where effective learning and development can take place.”
“Through fostering the Inquiry process, children’s individual learning styles can be catered for. When children can draw on their own wonderings, strengths and interests, learning becomes more meaningful, effective and engaging for each individual.”
Kate studied at Edith Cowan University in Churchlands and has a Bachelor of Education (Primary). She has been teaching for 13 years and became an educator because she enjoys spending her days with children!
“I appreciate the opportunity that I have to provide children with a calm, caring and supportive environment where they can foster a love of learning, grow as individuals and where they feel happy.”
Additional programs, the Year 3 students are fortunate to be involved in this year include:
- The ‘Wadandi Cultural Mentoring Program’ with local Wadandi mentor Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming.
- The ‘Our Patch’ environmental education program with project officer Michelle Keppel from Nature Conservation.
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.
Jacob Horsey – Year 5 Class Teacher
My teaching career began when I was aged 11 teaching guitar to friends, often at the back of the classroom passing chords and tablature to and fro while teachers had their backs turned. I gradually began teaching people in the school community, cousins, adults and children. After finishing school I studied sound engineering at the conservatorium of music, had a stint as a roof truss and wall frame detailer, worked as a draftsman, had a very strong desire to be a monk, completed a bachelor in biomedical science and followed it up a few years later with a post graduate in primary teaching. My interest in teaching really stems from my curiosity with how life unfolds, how we grow up, and the process of awakening from a wholistic perspective. My main interests include music, writing, poetry, history, and spirituality- I enjoy all the learning areas we cover as teachers though, particularly Mathematics and English and any cultural subjects. As a teacher I have worked in several different environments- running an adolescent collective with the Natural Learning Centre teaching HASS and Science, and in Montessori education both primary and secondary, as well as running a dance and drama troupe for adults with disabilities. I see a lot of need for education to evolve and shift with the times, incorporating the deepening awareness of the psychological developments of childhood, paying attention to play, connection to country, and freedom within limits, not to forget music, art and creative expression. I have noticed that all children enjoy learning, being encouraged, and challenged, and connecting to a space that is rich in purposeful activities both socially and academically. I see my role as being someone that can facilitate this natural curiosity towards life, with a little patience, some thoughtful prompting, a lot of practice and a dash of humour.
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
Building on a background in Theatre Studies, Sky has written, produced and performed numerous original puppet shows for children and is experienced as both a drama teacher and 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.
Amy Johnstone- Music Specialist
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.”
June Cunningham – Business Manager