Meet Our Principal

Dr Sandra Hastie

I am thrilled and honoured to commence as the 13th Principal of Somerville House in 2024. I am looking forward to meeting the Somerville House community, and connecting with students, staff and parents as well as the Foundation and Old Girls' Association as I settle into this new role.

2024 is a significant year as together we celebrate a school that has been growing strong young women for 125 years. I recognise the responsibility placed on my shoulders to carry on the legacy established by Miss Eliza Fewings, and so richly contributed to over the years by the 12 Principals who have led before me.

While treasuring this rich history, it is equally important that we ensure that Somerville House remains leading-edge and future-focused in our approach to leading and educating the young women of the future.

Dr Sandra Hastie

Leadership Team 

The Leadership Team at Somerville House oversees all aspects of the School’s operations. Our Leadership Team members are listed below: 

Dr Sandra Hastie

Dr Sandra Hastie EdD, M.Ed (Admin) Hons, B.Ed, Dip Tchg

Dr Hastie commenced as Principal of Somerville House in January 2024.

A vastly experienced teacher and principal, she attended the Christchurch College of Education, Canterbury University, and Auckland University where she completed her Doctorate in Education and has held senior leadership roles in both state and independent schools.

In 2010 she was appointed as Principal of Saint Kentigern Girls’ School with responsibility for growing the roll and establishing the first Saint Kentigern Pre-School. At this time, she was also appointed as Head of Primary for both Saint Kentigern Schools to provide strategic and curriculum leadership, a role that she held until the end of her 19-year tenure in the Saint Kentigern environment.

In January 2016, Dr Hastie returned from the UK where she was the Headmistress of Tavistock and Summerhill Preparatory School, to take up the position of Principal at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School.

She has enjoyed the challenge of working within the Primary sector as well as leading a Secondary School which was consistently placed in the top 3% academically within New Zealand.

Dr Hastie is passionate about independent education in this ever-changing world.

Mrs Jo Matherson

Mrs Jo Matherson BSc, DipEd, Assoc.LEADR, MACEL commenced with Somerville House as the Deputy Principal in January 2020. Jo brings with her fourteen years’ experience teaching in regional independent girls’ boarding schools and understands the importance of a balanced education with a focus on strong academic foundations, fulfilling co-curricular activities and a robust wellbeing program, all grounded in faith, to provide the platform for each individual student to achieve their best. As the Deputy Principal, Jo is responsible for curriculum oversight, professional staff development, student wellbeing, the extra-curricular program, boarding, policies and procedures and daily organisation of the School.

With a career spanning twenty-five years, Jo’s extensive teaching and leadership background, including Acting Head of School at PLC Armidale in 2014 and Acting Principal of The Glennie School in Term 3 2019, means that she has developed a thorough knowledge of girls’ learning and growth. Jo’s teaching background is in science and mathematics, and Jo is currently studying her Master of Education in eLearning and the Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice. Jo endeavours to provide opportunities for students to explore their talents and support them to persist in achieving their best in all aspects of their schooling; growing the mind, body and spirit. She enjoys working with staff to build their capacity to collaborate and develop leadership skills to fulfil their potential and maximise their job satisfaction.

Ms Chris O’Gorman

Ms Chris O'Gorman BSc, DipEd, Cert IV Theol&Min grew up in Brisbane and trained as a mathematics and science teacher at the University of Queensland. After teaching for three years in the government system, she joined the staff of Scripture Union (SU) Queensland (Qld). She worked as a Schools Ministry Worker, setting up and resourcing voluntary Christian groups in schools, running a vacation camping program, and helping set up Chaplaincy in government schools.

After 12 years at SU Qld, Chris went back to teaching Maths, Science and Christian Education at Brisbane Boys’ College (BBC). She was also on the pastoral care team at BBC as a Head of House and remained at BBC for 11 years. In 2007, Chris was appointed as Senior Chaplain at Somerville House, where she teaches Christian Education, takes Chapel services and assembly devotions, offers pastoral care, and develops the Christian life of the School.

Chris is passionate about helping people connect more closely with Jesus Christ, and understand God’s grace as expressed through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Her life and ministry are driven by the motto ‘Know Jesus and make Him Known’. Chris is a credentialed pastor in her denomination.

Mrs Julie Brunckhorst

Mrs Julie Brunckhorst BA, DipT, MACEL, Dean of Students, has held various roles in her fifteen years at Somerville House including Head of Year, and teacher of Learning Enhancement Literacy and English. Julie’s teaching and educational leadership experience of more than thirty years have spanned co-educational government schools and independent Christian girls' and boys' schools. Previous to Somerville House, Julie has been Deputy Principal, Head of Department - English, Head of Year, Boarding House Supervisor, teacher of English, Economics and History, and Manager of Human Resources across Queensland offices in an international professional services firm.

Julie is passionate about positive wellbeing. Her professional focus has always been on building positive, respectful relationships, to provide a secure space where those with disparate needs can flourish. She believes in empowering students and staff: to think creatively and critically to achieve individual potential, to develop educational and personal capacity for resilience, and to celebrate a life of meaning and care for the greater good. She is particularly interested in building community, in creating a sense of belonging and empathy for others. Julie’s current leadership research and initiatives centre on the correlation between wellbeing and achievement.

Julie’s collaborative approach has been inspired by William Butler Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

Ms Naomi Holley

Ms Naomi Holley – MEd(Leadership&Mgt), BEd(Sec), GradCert(CareerDevelPrac), Cert IV Career Devel, MACEL.

As the Dean of Academic Programs at Somerville House, Naomi brings a rich background in fostering academic excellence within girls’ education. With a tenure spanning over twelve years at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, Naomi has held a variety of roles including Head of Faculty, Head of Year and Director of Careers and Pathways.

Naomi demonstrates innovative approaches to integrating technology in education and has a deep commitment to fostering academic care. She has a proven track record in leading transformative educational change, including the enhancement of the P-12 Learning Development, Careers Education and Counselling Programs. Her previous initiatives have significantly enhanced data analytics processes and academic planning across the secondary school.

Deeply attuned to global educational trends, Naomi is committed to empowering young women to excel in leadership roles and across a diverse number of fields. At Somerville House, Naomi is eager to continue her commitment to shaping strategic educational direction, championing a nurturing environment that ensures students not only achieve academic success but also develop resilience and make impactful contributions to society.

Mr Clayton Forno

Mr Clayton Forno – MA(AppLing), GradDipEd, BA.  

Deeply committed to the Somerville House vision and values, Clayton considers it a privilege to have served at the School since 2012, including a tenure as Head of Languages for over 10 years before taking his current role as Dean of Academic Care (Years 7-9)

As a passionate educator and school leader, Clayton began his work in schools in 1997. With French as his teaching area, his career has included roles in co-educational, all-boys, and all-girls schools.

Clayton has a passion for empowering and supporting students to effectively navigate the very important middle years of schooling, and to build an excellent foundation for success in the Senior Years and beyond. He is very keen to nurture a learning environment that enables students to thrive, and to be compassionate, purposeful, resilient, and independent young women.

Clayton is particularly interested in contributing to the School’s strategic initiatives, using data to enhance student learning, and leading innovative classroom practices and curriculum design that meet the diverse needs of our Middle Years learners.

Clayton is in the final stages of completing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership at QUT and enjoys the benefits that this postgraduate study brings to his work.

Ms Renee Bromiley

As Business Manager, Ms Renee Bromiley BCom, CPA, GAICD oversees the School’s business functions including finance, technology services, facilities, and corporate enterprise and provides high-level support to the Principal, School Council and PMSA Board as part of the School’s governance arrangements.

Before joining Somerville House in late 2017, she held several senior leadership roles both locally and internationally and has a diversified skill set and a keen interest in strategic planning, capital projects, business planning and analysis and business improvement initiatives.

She holds memberships with CPA Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Renee champions a healthy lifestyle and is always motivating her staff to achieve their personal best both at work and in other pursuits.

​Ms Taryn Miller

Ms Taryn Miller BBus (Human Resources), DipLeadership&Mgt commenced as the Human Resources Manager in May 2019, with the recent appointment to Director of Human Resources in Feb 2021, overseeing the provision of the School’s Human Resources services, policies and programs.

Before joining Somerville House, she has held key senior HR leadership positions over the last seventeen years across industries such as the Queensland Government, Residential Building, Civil Construction and Student Accommodation.  She has developed a diverse skillset across areas such as providing operational support and guidance to Executive Management, implementation of HR teams and strategy both nationally and internationally, HR Administration, Attraction & Retention, Learning & Development, Organisational Development, WH&S & Regulatory Compliance and Policy & Procedure. 

She holds the level of CAHRI membership with the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

Taryn is passionate about the employee experience and lifecycle within an organisation.

Mr Peter Yeates

Mr Peter Yeates (M.IT) commenced at Somerville House as the Director of Technology Services in November 2021.

Peter is an enthusiastic champion for effectively utilising Information Communications Technologies (ICT’s) to facilitate improved organisational outcomes.

Before joining Somerville House, he worked in ICT for twenty years, predominantly in education, including State, Catholic, and Independent schools. Prior to that, he held supervisory and managerial roles for fourteen years in the Hospitality industry, where his collaborative, team building and ICT skills were honed. Peter is a Certified Professional member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and is currently the Queensland Branch Committee - Honorary Secretary. Most recently, he has attained microCredentials in recognition and validation of achievements against a defined set of skills, knowledge and competency in Cyber Security, Operations Management & Information Security (Gold – SFIA Level 5).