Never underestimate the power of exceptional teachers

Wednesday, 13 Jan 2021

Trish Thomas

Meet Trish Thomas who has been appointed Leader of Inclusive Education at Scots, heading up a team that provides unrivalled learning support alongside academic extension for students throughout the school population.

Trish brings a wealth of experience in classroom learning support, student testing and screening and small group intervention plus years of developing programs that help classroom teachers differentiate the curriculum to meet individual needs.

She joins Learning Enhancement (Inclusive Education) teacher Nikki Masters, who has a PhD in High Potential and Gifted Teaching, and a team of teacher assistants and wellbeing specialists providing solid foundations for students of all levels and abilities.

Trish has qualifications in Special Educational Needs and Teaching Students with Autism but her strengths lie in the years of hands-on experience and quantifiable results in helping students achieve their full potential.

Complementing Trish’s experience is that of Nikki Masters, whose PhD in High Potential and Gifted teaching from Charles Sturt University allows her to capably drive the program at Scots catering for our talented students from Kindergarten to Year 12.

She operates a series of enrichment groups which bring together like-minded, high potential students to inspire each other. They pursue passion projects – research projects focusing on an individual student’s personal interest – maths challenges, writing enrichment and robotics and coding. They are encouraged to participate in interschool competitions such as the Maths Olympiad, Da Vinci Decathlon and the CSIRO CREST program.  

Nikki describes giftedness being an equation of factors: Giftedness equals potential plus opportunity/support plus personal drive. She says no one factor is responsible for highly gifted students.

Trish, Nikki and the Inclusive Education team also provide screening of learning difficulties and initiate individual adjustment plans to support the student in class.

Through all these enrichment and extension opportunities, Scots truly offers individualised learning.

Sarah Rae

Meet Sarah Rae, Agricultural Leader of Scots' new $500,000 Agricultural Learning Space. Sarah grew up on a mixed enterprise farm in Deniliquin and is bursting with ideas for the new livestock, farming and agribusiness space at the school. 

She studied Science at CSU in Wagga and has taught high level biology for many years in tandem with agriculture and sports. At Rutherglen High School almost a decade ago, Sarah established the school’s show cattle team, now considered one of the best in the State. Planning the new Scots Agriculture Learning Space from the ground up is an exciting venture and has Sarah brimming with ideas. But she’s determined to expand in a measured way so that everything is done thoroughly and well. 

With access to a broad range of cropping, livestock production and agribusiness within an hour of the school,  Sarah believes few schools have the capacity to provide such a complete agricultural experience as Scots. Her aim is to raise the profile of farming in the school community and expose her students to the great diversity of vocational opportunities that lie within agriculture. 

Enrol now at Scots – the home of exceptional teachers.

Elsa Kilgour

Meet School Nurse and Head of girls boarding at Scots School’s Wilson House, Elsa Kilgour. Elsa is a critical care nurse who was a Scots boarder herself for six years. 

Elsa lived in Wilson House with her twin sister and graduated in the Class of 2001. Her older brother was not far away in Sellars House for most of her schooling. Elsa has been nursing for 15 years now and has extensive experience in many areas including Intensive Care, Midwifery, Remote Area Nursing and as a Flight Nurse for Care Flight International. Prior to returning to Albury with her husband and three children, Elsa spent nine years working in the Northern Territory in both urban and remote settings gaining a wealth of knowledge in public health, mental health and working with adolescents. Just prior to her return to Albury, she was the community nurse at a remote Aboriginal community at Daly River. 

Elsa grew up on a large cattle feedlot just out of Griffith, NSW, and spent her holidays working on the farm. After graduating from Scots she studied her nursing degree at CSU here in Albury. It is Elsa’s exceptional care and warm concern that make the boarding house feel more like a home and a big family than simply a place to stay.

Enrol now at Scots – the home of exceptional staff.

Matthew Boundy

Meet Head of Junior School Matthew Boundy. An inspiring leader, Matthew was a finalist in the Junior School Principal of the Year at the 2020 Australian Academic Awards.  Our junior school students adore him. 

Matthew has a masters degree in Educational Leadership and 20 years experience in guiding students on their individual pathway through school. When he joined Scots as Head of Junior School two years ago, he not only brought a wealth of knowledge - he also brought his 9-year-old labrador Cinders! The two have been woven into the very fabric of life at Scots and students can’t imagine life without either of them now: Matthew for his teaching excellence, caring and nurturing nature and strong vision for the Junior School; Cinders simply for her tactile, calming presence for young students.

Matthew’s pathway into education was almost pre-ordained. His mother and two sisters are teachers and he could see teaching was a vocation that would allow him to pursue his passions in life. He’s fond of music, relishes being outdoors and active and has a passion for encouraging young people to reach their full potential. As Head of Junior School, one of Matthew’s highest priorities has been to develop other teachers as leaders. He wants young teachers to shine and has encouraged them by creating leadership positions within the Junior School framework. He has mentored staff and identified ways to tear down traditional educational roadblocks. It all ensures a better learning experience for students.

Enrol now at Scots – the home of exceptional teachers.

Kelly McKay

Meet Head of Senior School, Kelly McKay,  an experienced and innovative educator who joined Scots this year from Wesley College in Melbourne. She is a published author of two English textbooks and also specialises in the field of social and emotional learning. 

Kelly grew up in country Victoria, in the quaintly named Koonoomoo, and was blessed with great teachers who fanned her love of English and History at a young age. She realised very early on what an impact good teachers could have on a student’s outlook at school and vowed to be one.

Kelly earned most of her teaching and leadership experience in regional areas, before being made Deputy Principal at Moama Anglican Grammar and then Head of Programs and Staffing at Wesley. In 2011, Kelly co-authored two English textbooks for Pearson Education. The books focussed on embedding ACARA’s cross-curricular dimensions and general capabilities for the Australian English Curriculum. She also has presented at conferences on Social and Emotional Learning.

Kelly believes that regional students should have all the opportunities their city counterparts enjoy and will be incorporating some of her advanced teaching and learning strategies into the Scots culture. In her return to regional living, Kelly is hoping to once again indulge her passion for gardening and golf.

Enrol now at Scots – the home of exceptional teachers.

Mark Geraets

Meet Scots Principal Mark Geraets - he has a quirky New Zealand accent with a hint of overseas influence and an infectious smile that morphs to steadfast when he talks about his vision for Scots over the next five years.

He has worked in six countries, with international families from more than 60 countries and navigated all the educational frameworks that such a varied career brings. But Mark’s vision for Scots is not about making wholesale changes to replicate the other schools in which he’s worked – it’s about using his global knowledge to build on the beauty and opportunities of Scots. 

Mark likes the word “build”. It encompasses everything he wants to achieve at Scots and it’s simplicity is fundamental to his plans. He wants to build a united and collaborative approach to education which is underpinned by Deep Learning philosophies, he wants to build student numbers and he wants to build our environment and infrastructure. When you say it quickly, it belies the depth and breadth of his vision, but he’s up for the challenge.

His three key “build” components are, he believes, paramount to ensuring Scots is as successful in the next 150 years as it has been in the last 150.

Enrol now at Scots – the home of exceptional teachers.