Our new leaders at St John's Grammar

We have recruited exceptional staff to lead our School this year. The selection criteria for new leadership roles is very straightforward, but not so easy to meet!

  • They must show a passion for young people and their learning, and relish being involved in school life.
  • They must have an imposing track record of service, involvement and success. There has to be evidence of that.
  • They must have a compelling set of reasons to join St John’s Grammar.
  • They must be up for change, have a willingness to reflect and review, and then an appetite for improvement.

Content knowledge, the size of the degree or the number achieved, and the years of experience are factors that do not always guarantee that a teacher will be able to generate those special relationships with young people that inspire wonderful outcomes. Having a growth mindset and a genuine and deep understanding of how a young person learns and thrives in today’s schooling environment is far more important.

Our new Mathematics and STEM teacher, Tim Budenberg, joined us from The Hamilton and Alexandra College in Victoria.  Originally from Adelaide, Tim developed his passion for teaching when he was a Residential Tutor at Pembroke School.  Before his teaching qualification, Tim completed a Bachelor of Finance and he will graduate from his Master of Education later this year.  Tim loves to get involved in school life, has participated in many extra-curricular activities and school trips. He is launching the Frequent Flyer program in the middle years, a series of problem solving and task orientated competitions for groups of students who want to extend their thinking across a number of areas of interest. Tim’s approach to teaching Maths is well aligned with our SOARING pedagogy and Tim has been leading the way in the integration of digital technologies in the Maths curriculum.  His passion and enthusiasm for the wellbeing of young people made him the perfect candidate for the Head of Moffatt Senior School role. Needless to say, but he has made an instant splash with his students.

Our new Head of English is Cheryn Witney, who was at Immanuel College for the past 11 years, teaching English, Research Project  and the Personal Learning Plan.  For the last 7 years, Cheryn has led the Kavel House staff and students and she has also had experience as Head of English in an acting capacity.  Cheryn was instrumental in a whole school pastoral review and has taken the lead in many projects within the English faculty.  Mapping the curriculum from Year 7-12, Cheryn has taught all mainstream classes as well as Stage 2 English and English Studies. Over the years, Cheryn has taken on a variety of extra-curricular activities such as coaching soccer, hockey, badminton and tennis and she loves getting involved in school life and culture. Cheryn also brings an imposing track record of outstanding Year 12 results and was considered by so many at Immanuel as one of their very best teachers. Cheryn has her son Xavier joining us in Year 8 and he has enjoyed a great start to his high schooling.

Our new Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School is Leonie Harwood. Leonie is a dynamic educator with vast experience across all sectors. Her most recent work was as Head of Middle School at Seymour College, where she instigated some revolutionary changes to their middle years program. Leonie has inspired outstanding results in her students over many years and her Year 12 Legal Studies students are already appreciating the brilliant educator she is. Leonie has extensive understandings of International education and Special Needs, and has done some exciting work in strategic planning. Her prowess in structuring and delivering wellbeing education is second to none. She is passionate about personalising education for each student, and securing future pathways for them. Leonie’s two girls, Annabelle (Year 6) and Emily (Year 9) have loved their new beginning at our School. On top of all this, she has a unique sense of fun and spirit. She loves dress up days (she spent two days dressed as a student at her last school to get a feel for what it was really like for the kids!), will be first to grab the microphone and have a sing and will jumping in at the swimming carnival!

Rev Scott Magann is our new Chaplain. He has worked at Scotch College for 8 years, before that at various schools as both a spiritual leader and teacher. ‘Rev’ as he is starting to be affectionately referred to, is on campus Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and such is his conviction to the role he has put in place a number of measures to ensure our students and staff get to know him well, build that trust and respect and see him as an ideal and caring advocate. He brings to chapel a sense of humour and engagement. Rev Scott is very keen to make services resonate with young people’s lives and you only get that from really immersing yourself in school life. He has an impressive track record of service in this area and is keen to participate in as many activities as he can. His counselling and mentoring skills are exceptional and he will provide that additional layer of direct support to students on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Simon McKenzie is our new Head of Junior School. He, like Scott, hails from Scotch College, spending the past five years as the Deputy Head of the Junior School. He was a much respected and loved part of their community. Simon brings to the role a hunger for excellence and first class service. Simon has in-depth knowledge about wellbeing. He has spoken at a number of national conferences on the topic of student and staff wellbeing and is well connected through the Positive Psychology Institute. He is also part way through his Masters at the Australian Catholic University. Simon has extensive experiences in a wide range of school life activities and his main area of excellence is in sport. He is a keen cyclist and in his younger years a more professional one! A ‘roll-the-sleeves-up’ leader, Simon not only sees an absolute need in building close relationships with parents and students but loves that part of school life.

In our quest to soar higher, it is absolutely fundamental that we continue to resource our school with the very best educators and leaders in our school. It is also pivotal to ensure all our staff continue to strive for excellence and that the school provides a meaningful professional platform that allows that growth and improvement to occur.

Richard Anderson