A new era for Somerville House in 2020

From 2020, Somerville House is thrilled to be welcoming three recently appointed staff, a Deputy Principal, Dean of Academic Programs and a new Head of Junior School. These appointments support the School’s 2020 structure and are the first steps in the newly created strategic plan slated to be launched by Principal, Mrs Kim Kiepe in late November.

Mrs Kiepe says strengthening the structured academic and pastoral support for the Heads of Year is of utmost importance in 2020.

“We want to provide our Heads of Year with the tools to access and report the progress of student information to parents and guardians in a way that is more timely, precise, personalised and relevant,” Mrs Kiepe said.

“As a result of this new structure, the School is set to move from the current separate sub-school structure to a Junior and Senior School structure to provide a coherent, considered and balanced transition across Years 7 to 12,” she said.

“Somerville House will retain a Junior School (Prep to Year 6) and Senior School (Years 7 to 12). The Senior School will include the Middle Years of schooling for girls enrolled in Years 7 to 9 and the Senior Years of schooling for girls enrolled in Years 10 to 12.”

The newly created role of Deputy Principal will provide effective leadership in all aspects of the School, specifically through oversight of the Academic program in Years 7 to 12, including curriculum development and professional learning for staff. Stepping into the role is Mrs Jo Matherson, current Deputy Principal at The Glennie School, Toowoomba, a position she has held since 2018. 

Mrs Matherson brings with her fourteen years’ experience teaching in regional independent girls’ boarding schools and well understands the importance of a strong focus on pastoral care supporting the personal growth of each individual. In the Deputy Principal role, she has responsibility for curriculum oversight, the staff professional development program, the extra-curricular program, policies and procedures and daily organisation of the School. With a career spanning twenty-five years, Mrs Matherson’s extensive teaching and leading background mean that she has developed a thorough knowledge of girls’ learning and growth. 

The Dean of Academic Programs is a role that works in partnership with the Somerville House Dean of Teaching Practices, Mrs Laura Duffield, and the Dean of Student Wellbeing, Mrs Julie Brunckhorst, to focus on the co-ordinated provision for each student at Somerville House. From 2020 Somerville House will welcome Mrs Wendy Jurss into this role. 

Mrs Jurss is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning (Prep to Year 12) at The Springfield Anglican College, having held this position since 2011. With over twenty-one years’ experience in education, Mrs Jurss brings to the role considerable expertise in teaching and learning in the 21st century across Prep to Year 12; leading the design, development, implementation and evaluation of curriculum, contributing to the strategic direction of best practice in a contemporary school environment.

Following the retirement of Head of Junior School, Mrs Arna Bennett after twenty-seven years of service to the School community, Somerville House will welcome the newly appointed Ms Louise McGuire into this role from January 2020. 

Ms McGuire, currently the Head of Junior School at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, has held many executive roles including Deputy Head of Primary at West Moreton Anglican College. Principal, Mrs Kim Kiepe believes that Mrs McGuire has an excellent understanding of current educational research and practice, with her experience in all girls’ environments extending through her educational leadership career of twenty years.

“Ms McGuire is an energetic educator with a demonstrated record of school improvement, as reflected in her advocacy for the use of data to inform pedagogy,” Mrs Kiepe said.

“With extensive experience in primary years schooling, she brings to the role considerable expertise in school leadership, curriculum development and leading exemplary practice in teaching and learning,” she said. 

“Throughout her wealth of experience, she has built positive relationships with all stakeholders, and I know she very much looks forward to building these relationships at Somerville House."

Somerville House is committed to maintaining exceptional learning and educational outcomes for all students, which includes high-quality pastoral care, positive wellbeing and personal development.

Indicating that research into best practice in leading girls’ schools around Australia supports the new structure in 2020, Mrs Kiepe said this structure will offer all students increased uniformity of approach to teaching and learning, pastoral care, cultural practice and operational matters.

“A major transition point will be from Year 6 to Year 7, in line with the research indicating that another transition can be disruptive to student learning; and, improved opportunities for both formal and informal student-to-student interaction, which is aspirational for the younger students and affirming for the senior students,” Mrs Kiepe said.

“I firmly believe that this new structure will bring significant benefits to all students at Somerville House,” she said.

“The newly appointed Deputy Principal, Head of Junior School and Dean of Academic Programs will play a significant role in the vibrant future of this remarkable school.” 

“This is an exciting era of providing an exemplary educational experience.”