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Securing Success - The New Team Members for 2018 and beyond

Securing Success - The New Team Members for 2018 and beyond;

Kyle Palmer - Primary Teacher

Steve Thompson - Chaplaincy Coordinator/ Secondary Teacher

Paul Lipscomb - Primary Teacher

Lauren Shepherd - Primary Teacher

Naomi Hookins - Primary Teacher

Luke Simkins - Secondary Teacher (HSIE)

Karen Huntly - Secondary Teacher (Mathematics)

Dimity Capps - Primary Teacher

Abby Tilburg - Learning Support & Netball Coach/Mentor

Donella Zakaria - Primary Teacher

Priscilla Colgan - Music Teacher

Also joining OAGS in 2018:

Natalie Daughtery & Di Healey - School Counselling Team

Kyle Palmer - Primary Teacher

Kyle, AKA Mr Bowtie, joined our team in late 2017, joining Jess Willis and Dave Currall on Stage 3. Coming in at the ‘fun’ part of the year Kyle was able to enjoy supporting the student's for the Stage 3 Camp, the Year 6 Celebration, the CAPA concert and Year 7 Orientation.

Born and raised in Bathurst, I am semi-local, attending and graduating school in Orange. I developed a passion for teaching stemming from the support I received from teachers in his education journey.

I will always remember my Drama Teacher, not just from his strange choices in fashion, especially his socks, but also through the way he taught and took time to work with Students.

I would describe my first term at OAGS as a fun filled pack of adventure, with more opportunities happening for the students every week.

2018 is shaping up to be very similar, and I am looking forward to seeing my relationships with the students grow and develop.

I look forward to contributing my years of experience in drama, as well as my passion for Christ and spreading his great word. I also look forward to contributing some new researched ideas on teaching that I have been taught through my recent university studies.

Steve Thompson - Chaplaincy Team Leader

Steve will be joining the team in 2018, taking the helm of the Chaplaincy Team in clearly communicating the Gospel to our community. We have also enjoyed welcoming the Thompson family to our school community with their children commencing in late 2017.

It is a real privilege to be joining the OAGS community. We have found it to be a young and vibrant community with a clear vision for growing as individuals and as a community.

There are many things I am looking forward to as the Chaplaincy Team Leader but the three that I am particularly excited about are:

1. the chance to get to know a whole heap of new students and their families.

2. joining the OAGS community at an important stage in its growth where God has provided so many opportunities.

3. but most of all I'm really excited by the opportunity to encourage people to explore the life changing news that Jesus is King and Saviour.

I am married to Catherine and we have 4 children. We moved to Orange from Sydney two years ago and we absolutely love it here. Cycling, digging in the garden with my dogs and doing things with wood tend to fill any spare moments I have, and I love a good coffee.

Paul Lipscomb - Primary Teacher

Paul joins us from Rouse Hill Anglican College, a school within The Anglican Schools Corporation. Paul is an experienced and faithful Primary Teacher who will be relocating to Orange over the Christmas break.

When considering what I am most excited about in the move to Orange Anglican Grammar School it would definitely be the opportunity to teach at a school underpinned by solid Christian values, with a significant community focus and a strong reputation for its high academic standards. I am also looking forward to ‘replanting’ my family in what is arguably a very popular regional destination. Likewise, I am excited about the opportunity to work collaboratively with the staff at OAGS and being widely involved in the broader school community.

Prior to primary teaching, I was in product management and marketing, with a variety of electronics brands, such as Samsung and Acer. However, making the switch to education dovetailed nicely with having my own four children.

As a career, this has been the most rewarding move I could have hoped for and has been an amazing opportunity to not only work with other Christians, but to also gently nudge students towards the Lord, many of whom do not know him as their Saviour.

I commenced teaching briefly in the public system, but then took up a temporary role teaching NESB Stage 3 students at a Coptic (Egyptian) Christian school in Western Sydney. I then commenced within the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation in 2014, teaching Stage 3 at Rouse Hill Anglican College in North Western Sydney, where I have been privileged to work with such fabulous children and a highly supportive staff.

Having had a strong desire to give my family a tree change for some time now, this move from Sydney to Orange is no doubt going to be a real blessing for my family and I.

I look forward to working collegially with the team at OAGS to plan and deliver rigorous academic programs across the curriculum, particularly in the areas of literacy and numeracy. I would also like to be involved in the embedding of ICT into students’ everyday learning. Further to this, I would like to be involved with staff in other programs. This may include leading students in programs such as the Maths Olympiad, debating and public speaking, teaching chess, coaching students in co-curricular sport, along with being involved musically and teaching students outdoor skills (using my experience as a Scout leader).

Lauren Shepherd - Primary Teacher

Lauren is a happy and joyful Primary Teacher with previous experience in Media and Communications. Lauren’s vibrancy and enthusiasm will be a welcome addition to our team in the New Year.

To be working in a school that adheres to Christian values is very exciting, as well as the opportunity to see students progress in their education journeys from Prep all the way to HSC level. I have been working with Stage 2 classes quite a lot over the past term, and am happy to be able to continue working with students at this level in their schooling.

I was born and raised in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, attending an independent school from K-12. After studying Business at uni; I worked in online marketing, media and communications in the Sydney CBD for almost 7 years.

During this time, I realised that I would rather be in an industry that made a positive impact on people’s lives. Heeding some advice from family friends and my own love of education, I studied to become a teacher online while working full time.

After getting married early last year, my husband and I decided we needed a “tree change,” and earlier this year we moved to our property just outside of Orange. Since the move I have been working casually as a teacher in some beautiful schools in the greater Central West area (in Molong, Parkes and Eugowra to name a few), and cannot wait to continue my teaching journey here at OAGS.

I am excited to be able to share my Christian faith with staff and students alike; but beyond that, I am hoping to be involved in the digital technology and encourage everyone to embrace technology and coding as valuable skills or additions in their present and future lives – both in education and employment.

Naomi Hookins - Primary Teacher

All the way from the UK we welcomed Naomi to OAGS in Term 4 to finish the year on our Stage 1 team. Naomi came to Orange for an extended stay with our very own Fisher family, and she hasn’t looked back just yet! While Naomi is enjoying her travels around Australia (currently on Kangaroo Island!) she will return to the team for the early part of 2018.

Naomi was unavailable for comment prior to going to print because she is having a wonderful time exploring our beautiful country. Maybe we can convince her to stay for the long haul?

Luke Simkins - Secondary Teacher

On meeting Luke his passion for teaching, learning, innovation and collaboration was unwavering. After teaching in Bathurst in 2017 Luke is looking forward to trading the commute for more time to commit to support the secondary students in their studies, and being involved in leading the implementation of the OAGS Strategic Plan.

When the opportunity came up to accept a position at OAGS I couldn’t wait to get started, As a teacher of History and Theology as well as having extensive experience in teaching and learning with emphasis on innovation, OAGS has a vision that I know I can embrace. My experience is widespread and I hope to bring a wealth of knowledge to contribute and collaborate with the staff and leadership team. In my previous position as Head of teaching and Learning at Wenona School in Sydney, I specialised in design thinking and project-based learning. I am looking forward to contributing my experience in these areas to the OAGS team to create cross-curricular links to foster school-wide learning with like-minded staff who care deeply about their roles as educators. I also look forward to joining the Stem Academy team and contributing my STEM related experience and ideas, some of which featured in the History Teachers Association Journal in June.

Being born in the UK and spending time in the US city of Philadelphia before settling in Sydney, I have travelled extensively throughout my life and I integrate cultural experiences into my day to day teaching practice.

I have recently moved to Orange with my wife and two dogs, Rocky and Apollo, however my learning journey to become a teacher did not follow a conventional path. Initially I pursued a horticulture apprenticeship and later studied as a personal trainer. However, as I got older I began to reflect on the immense impact that teachers had on my formative years and returned to study Teaching. I look forward to making a positive difference to the students at OAGS just as passionate teachers did for me.

I was particularly drawn to OAGS motto of “seek the truth” as I believe this is fundamental in creating a school environment which fosters students who are future focussed, empathetic and collaborative learners. Most importantly, Jesus stated “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” and as a dedicated Christian I am looking forward to fellowship with staff and students to know this truth to learn, achieve and grow in God’s world.

Karen Huntly - Secondary Teacher (Mathematics)

With a wealth of knowledge and many years of experience Karen has a clear devotion to supporting youth through their education journey. We feel very fortunate to have received Karen’s application for the Mathematics Teaching position, and from the moment she walked into the school we knew she had something very special to offer both our students and staff.

Looking for a ‘tree change’ I was thrilled to be successful in gaining the position of Secondary Mathematics Teacher at Orange Anglican Grammar School.

OAGS has a positive image both in the local and Christian community. It will be a pleasure to work for such an organisation to help serve the youth of today.

I am an enthusiastic and highly organised person with over 20 years’ experience in teaching, having taught in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. My passion and innovation for teaching as well as the caring I display towards all the students I teach is what I am looking forward to contribute as I commence at OAGS in the New Year.

In addition to teaching the curriculum, I have had experience as a Key Learning Area Coordinator, developing Maths teaching programs and curriculum resources, including differentiating curriculum. I have also been strongly involved in developing a numeracy continuum in schools for Years K - 12. In my previous position I enjoyed introducing a Leadership structure in our school by creating and supporting an SRC and organising a Leadership Day for other schools to attend. I hope to be able to contribute in the area of student leadership and representation at OAGS.

Dimity Capps - Primary Teacher

Dimity’s motivation was quite exciting to see and her commitment to both student education and her faith are clear. Dimity looks forward to being mentored by our newly appointed ‘Learning Leader’ Jess Willis.

I am looking forward to the opportunity of joining OAGS, and becoming a part of an innovative and passionate team of educators. I also look forward to the opportunity to be mentored by the many experienced teachers at OAGS. I'm also coming to OAGS as I believe it is the best and biggest step of faith to continue to grow personally and professionally.

I grew up in Canowindra NSW and did my high schooling in Sydney. I then went to Bible College to participate in a ‘gap year’ program before completing a combination of work and study which confirmed I definitely felt led to be a Teacher.

I completed a Bachelor of Education (Birth - 12 years) at the University of Notre Dame in 2017 that gave me a wealth of practical experience prior to working casually in Sydney.

I have been heavily involved in my churches throughout my life in youth groups, children ministries and mission committees and many mission trips.

I am a motivated graduate teacher who has a strong interest in being involved in and promoting inclusive education, community engagement and inquiry-based learning. I am passionate about my ability to work collaboratively with staff. I look forward to developing balanced, innovative programs that encourage students to take risks and make choices in their learning and have a positive impact in their communities. I am very excited to be a part of the OAGS community.

Abby Tilburg - Learning Support Assistant & Netball Coach

Abby has been a familiar face around the grounds at OAGS in 2017, assisting Sheryll Selwood and the netball community with coaching and mentoring for our budding sportspeople. Abby will be coming on board in Term 1 to join the Learning Support Team to implement programs that assist our student's, particularly in literacy.

I am truly looking forward to joining the team at OAGS. Being able to develop my skills and knowledge while working with an experienced and professional team is an amazing opportunity. I look forward to joining the Learning Support Team under the guidance of Justine Staniforth. Helping and supporting children is something I am very passionate about in both an education setting and also a sporting setting.

I have live in Orange my entire life. I am heavily involved within the netball community, playing, coaching and umpiring. I was thoroughly enjoyed volunteer Coaching alongside Sheryll Selwood last year at OAGS. It is my passion to be able to see children grow and develop throughout netball. OAGS certainly has something special that I am looking forward to being part of.

Donella Zakaria - Primary Teacher

Joining OAGS in mid 2017 Donella is well known to our Year 3 and 4 students. Having experience working in an International School and also having experience in teaching both Japanese and Indonesian languages, Donella has a great deal of knowledge to impart on our students in the coming year.

I had the great privilege of coming to OAGS mid year to join the Stage 2 teaching team alongside Christine Clissold and Keith Macleay. As a Central West local it is exciting to see a relatively ‘new’ school thriving and flourishing and it is great to be a part of this.

I am very grateful for how welcoming the parents and student's have been. Entering a class mid-year is a unique experience and the wonderful community were extremely supportive.

As a student I remember the teachers that made me laugh, and I hope to be able to be that memorable teacher for the students I am teaching in 2018.

Having taught in an International School I am looking forward to bringing a global focus into the classroom, and celebrating the rich variety of cultures and diversity within our school community. I am also interested in promoting language learning, particularly Japanese and Indonesian.

Above all else I am very keen to encourage the students of OAGS to actively participate in Christian Service.

Priscilla Colgan - Music Teacher

Priscilla came on board in late 2017. A trained and passionate Music Teacher, Priscilla’s experience at OAGS in 2017 was fast-paced and exciting as she took the lead on music with the Performing Arts Concert, Christmas Carols, Wontama Carols and many other events held late in the year. And who could ever forget the ‘Bucket Drumming’ at the Presentation Night?

I am elated to have the opportunity to work at a school that is closely aligned with my own faith as well as having a rich commitment to music and the arts.

I am deeply committed to ongoing improvement of my teaching practices to ensure full student engagement and achievement, as well as staying up to date with contemporary syllabus documents and music curriculum.

I am looking forward to upholding the worth of all student contributions while always pursuing excellence.I view my role as a teacher at OAGS to develop the child musically as well as personally and spiritually. I have enjoyed being a part of the planning and execution of the wonderful events held in late 2017, and I am excited at the thought of what is to come in 2018. I look forward to working collaboratively with Noel Annett to develop the music program at OAGS, particularly with the arrival of 4 new peripatetic classrooms for use in the new year.

Securing Success - The newly appointed members of the School Executive ‘Learning Leaders’

While both Jessica Willis and Kelly-Ann Sackey have been members of the OAGS Team for many years we were excited to announce the news of their role promotions at the recent Presentation Evening. Jessica and Kelly-Ann will be joining the School Executive in developing innovative teaching strategies and will be championing the new ‘Visible Learning’ initiative.

Jessica Willis - School Executive Learning Leader

Jess is very well known in the Primary School after nurturing our Kindergarten students for a few years running. In 2017 Jess made the move from Kindergarten to teach Year 6 with a personal aim of bridging the step between Primary School and the entry into Secondary School.

As an added bonus Jess is highly skilled and motivated in providing opportunities for students in the areas of sport, with a particular passion for Athletics.

I loved school, from the sheer point of view of all the different things I could do. From music, to concerts and performances, sport, choir, public speaking and leadership opportunities, I was involved in it all. I strongly believe that it was this wide variety of experiences that helped shape the person I am today. These activities gave me a strong sense of belonging, as well as opening up my friendship circles beyond what would ordinarily be available in the classroom.

The students have always been the main focus at OAGS. I would like to see this develop further so that each child's growth and development is monitored for the entire length of their educational journey - from Transition to Year 12. This would improve the continuity between each year, teacher, class and cohort, and would further build upon our current practices. I would like to see the development of systems and strategies that encourage students to become responsible for their own learning and confident in their own ability to improve and grow. By using current research and solid, evidence-based practices, I am excited to be part of developing systems that allow for student learning and growth to become more visible - for staff, students and parents. Increased visibility will allow us all to work together to best support our students in reaching their full potential. With appropriate systems in place, students can be supported if needed, extended when possible and inspired at every opportunity.

On reflection, 2017 has been a year of change and growth. Change is never easy, but we have all become stronger because of our journey. With a focus on developing a shared vision, OAGS is becoming aligned across all areas of our school and is moving into the future with a stronger purpose and a clearer view of where we are going. The confidence that having a shared vision gives should not be underestimated. It is enabling the development of new programs, proposed projects, improved transparency and a more consistent approach to teaching, learning and assessment across the entire school. These are all things that may not be noticable on the "outside", but that will have a dramatic effect on the educational experiences of our students. The increase in opportunities offered to our students in 2017 has been exciting - dancing, athletics, Athlete Development Programs, drama, specialised sport programs in K-10, a canteen, makerspace in the library, a Japanese trip and many more. In the routine of a busy day, it is easy to forget all the things that we have achieved this year. Imagine what new opportunities 2018 might hold??

In the years I have been at OAGS, I have never been more excited by what the future might hold. The vision for our school is vivid and it takes into account the traditions we have built and the values we hold dear, while focusing on creating a learning environment for our students that is second to none. The plans for 2018 and beyond are well underway and the future is looking very bright indeed. OAGS has been blessed with passionate, driven and enthusiastic staff. With everyone working towards common goals and a shared vision, I have no doubt that our school community will flourish for the benefit of all our students.

Kelly-Ann Sackey - School Executive Learning Leader

Kelly-Ann could be considered the school ‘Quiet Achiever’, but don’t be fooled by this. Kelly-Ann is an enthusiastic, passionate teacher who did not hesitate to jump on board to embrace implementation of the strategic plan and Visible Learning program. In fact, Kelly-Ann’s can-do attitude has seen her join the Stage 5 Japanese Students on the Japan Trip in 2017 and immerse herself in preparation and planning for the launch of the STEM Academy.

In terms of my schooling, what stood out for me were the teachers who were passionate about their subject and believed in us as students. However, I still consider myself to be on my "education journey" - I am still learning, even after more than 20 years teaching. So, if I look at the big picture, the highlight for me would be my years in international schools. The exposure to different education systems, cultures and perspectives helped to define who I am as a teacher.

I would like to see us helping students to become lifelong learners who want to make a positive difference in their communities. Through the use of real world contexts and learning experiences we can develop independent learners who can think critically and creatively.

In 2017 I have identified that there is a renewed sense of purpose and a clear vision for the future. The school is growing and continuing to build a good reputation in the local community. The school community is a vibrant one with opportunities for students far beyond what would be expected from a small school.

In 2018 I am looking forward to our partnership with the University of Sydney in the STEM Academy. This partnership will provide us with support and training to reinvigorate our teaching programmes, develop cross-curricular projects and refine our teaching practices. The professional development in Visible Learning will support a whole school approach to teaching and learning based on data and evidence. I am looking forward to a focus on student growth and using data to target the needs of individual students to help them grow.

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