Through Jesus and each other, we become ourselves.

Get to Know the Head of Secondary - Kathryn O'Rourke

Posted in Teachers/Staff on Apr 26, 2018

It may not be known to many of our current school community, but Kathryn started her teaching career at Hunter Christian School. As a brand new teacher she moved from Sydney to Newcastle to teach Business Studies and Geography. Living in Kerr St Mayfield with one of the school families, Kathryn learnt about some of the cool aspects of life in Newcastle, she remembers being pleasantly surprised by the old Show Day Holiday, a unique feature of life in a new city. It was through the school that Kathryn met her husband Dean, a PDHPE teacher who was on staff at that time. She continued to work at school until the birth of her first child.

A strategic and creative thinker, Kathryn is always focused on the relational aspects of school life. She considers it a privilege to work with young people and believes that advocating for their needs is a vital aspect of her work. Striving for innovative approaches to teaching has been a trademark of her work with students, and she has experience as a Problem Based Learning Teacher, supporting the social, emotional and academic needs of Gifted Education students, and creating classrooms that are designed around teaching students to think deeply about their world. Combining this with a belief that young people benefit from support in developing entrepreneurship, Kathryn is experienced in developing opportunities for young people to consider establishing businesses and workplace beneficial skills, whilst still at school.

As a teacher and leader in various school settings, Kathryn has experience in the wellbeing and care of students, having worked to introduce prevention focused student support programs she has significant experience in supporting students as they transition to life beyond school. She established a locally based, creativity and innovation festival for young people, the festival- the first of its kind when introduced, aimed to connect students via inspiration, mentoring and training to deeper creativity and entrepreneurship. Her experience in developing K-12 events and programs is an outworking of her belief that as a K-12 Christian community, we can work together to build programs for our students to ensure they are known and supported throughout their years of development.

Through Kathryn’s commitment to excellence as an educator she has been able to support and lead teachers in developing Culture of Thinking Based Classrooms. She has been fortunate to receive training by lead educators and researchers from Project Zero Harvard University and the Australian arm of the New Tech Network for Project Based Learning. In addition to this she has worked in the University Sector to support emerging teachers as they complete their teacher training.

Although being at school is a significant portion of Kathryn’s day, when she is not at school she can be found hanging with her family, reading books, walking, heading to the beach and sharpening her skills in the kitchen as a slightly obsessive foodie.

Kathryn has loved her first few months in her new role and has felt so welcomed by the staff, students and parents of our school community. She is excited to be a part of this new season as a school and is looking forward to seeing the future unfold.

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