Meet the Faculty
Dr Ed Stolarchuk is Head of Science at St Hilda’s School and holds a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Education and Master of Education (Program Evaluation) from the University of Alberta, Canada; and a Doctor of Philosophy (Effect of Laptop Computers in Science on student achievement, student-teacher interaction and classroom environment) from Curtin University of Technology. After relocating from Canada, he began his career in Australia at the Queensland Department of Education (Charter Towers and Herberton) in 1974. He has held senior positions at Keyano College, Alberta, Canada (Head of Science); College Preparation Department (Chairman) and Trinity Anglican School (Chemistry Coordinator and Head of House). Dr Stolarchuk has been involved in developing Senior level science programs for more than 30 years and oversaw the implementation of the Australian Curriculum in Years 7 to 10 at St Hilda’s School. He has also served on the Chemistry Panel for 16 years. Dr Stolarchuk believes strongly in providing classroom experiences that enable students to consolidate their learning through peer discussion and practical work; and the importance of relating learning experiences to the everyday world.
Simon Lees has a BSc(Hons) in Applied Biochemistry from Liverpool John Moore’s University, UK and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (P.G.C.E) from Manchester University, UK. He started teaching in 1994 at Seaford Head Community College in the South-East of England in Science and Senior Biology until moving to the Cayman Islands in 1998. There he taught General Science for two years before moving to New Zealand in 2000. In NZ he taught Science and Senior Physics for ten years and was Head of Science, Academic Dean for Year 13 and Assistant Principal for four years with the responsibility for Pastoral Care, before moving to Australia in 2010. He was appointed as a teacher of Science and Senior Physics at St Hilda’s in 2011. Simon was awarded the 2014 Peter Doherty Award for ‘Outstanding Teacher of Science Award’ for his work with iTunes U. He has presented at many conferences on the subject, and in 2015 spoke at two sessions at the National Science Conference, CONASTA 64, in Perth.
Susan Tiplady graduated from Macquarie University with a Science degree and Graduate Diploma in Education. She then followed an interest in fashion and textiles and operated a business in the fashion industry before moving to the Gold Coast in 1980, where another business opportunity arose in office equipment and supplies. Susan spent time in the general aviation industry and obtained a Private Pilot’s License. She arrived at St Hilda’s in 1998 having previously taught at Somerset College. As a Science Teacher Susan appreciates that she has an opportunity to foster a sense of curiosity that allows the girls to explore the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge and the issues presented by these through practical work and problem solving. She encourages the girls develop a deeper understanding of science and its place in their world, enabling them to develop critical and creative thinking skills to understand the importance of their personal actions and their impact upon the world in which we live and in the future.
Sara Bentley teaches general Science and Senior Biology and is St Hilda’s STEM Coordinator in partnership with Griffith University. Sara holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom; a Master of Science in Conservation Biology and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Secondary Science from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Sara started teaching in 2008 at The County High School Leftwich, UK where she taught Science and Senior Biology. During her time at The County High School Leftwich, Sara was in charge of Senior Biology and oversaw the implementation of a new national teaching syllabus within the subject. In 2013, Sara relocated to Australia where she began teaching at the Queensland Department of Education (Ipswich) before moving to St Hilda’s in 2014.
Blake Wheaton holds a Bachelor Science (Hons) and a Bachelor of Education, having studied in Canada at Concordia University, Carleton University and Queen’s University. In Australia, he completed further subjects at Deakin University and the University of Queensland. Blake’s teaching career began in Canada at a school in a mining town in northern Quebec; and later in Montreal. He received an offer from the Queensland State Education Department to teach in Charleville. Since 1976, Blake has been teaching at St Hilda’s. “I thought that I might stay a year or so! As the longest serving male in the school’s history, I can say that it has been a privilege. Having taught thousands of girls at St Hilda’s, I have enjoyed a long and satisfying career. Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying that ‘Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ My goal in teaching science is to take the complex and present it clearly using analogies, examples, demonstrations – anything that works to make the theory seem less daunting and more readily understandable.”
Chris Caughley holds a Bachelor of Science from James Cook University, Townsville and a Diploma in Education from the University of Queensland. Her teaching career began with the Queensland Education Department and she joined the staff at St Hilda’s School in 1976. Underpinning her passion for teaching is the philosophy that education is of the whole person and should therefore involve presenting challenges both inside and outside the learning areas. Outdoor pursuits such as the Middle School Outdoor Education Program and World Challenge provide opportunities for self-growth, self-reflection and character development for young women. Chris has an avid interest in these programs and has led three World Challenge expeditions as well as innumerable camps. Science provides a vehicle for students to understand their place in the world. Testing of ideas using practical activities is paramount as is peer discussion in a science-based classroom. Presenting intellectual challenges that promote questioning, lively discussion and ways of finding solutions gives students ownership of their learning. I would hope that they leave my classroom having gained knowledge that will allow them to challenge themselves further. To have been involved in the education of thousands of girls and to watch them grow into the capable young women has given Chris great satisfaction.
Alexa Wood holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) from QUT and a Graduate Diploma of Education and Certificate in Religious Education from Australian Catholic University. She has a keen interest in health and fitness and worked in this field before moving into education. Alexa taught at Bunbury Catholic College in Western Australia for four years as a HPE and Science teacher and Sports Co-ordinator. In 2012, she joined St Hilda’s School as the acting Head of Sport, before moving into her current position of Head of Year 10. Alexa is the mentor for the Non Nobis Solum portfolio and is also involved in World Challenge, having recently taken a group of students to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. She teaches across the Health and Physical Education and Science faculties.