Senior Leadership Team

Joanne Sheehy M.Ed, B.Ed (Hons)

The role of Principal is to lead and direct all Operations on the Prep to Year 12 Arundel Campus. The Principal is responsible for the following: 

• Educational curriculum of the College;
• Promotion of equity and excellence for all;
• Ensuring a high quality of teaching and learning;
• Sound financial management of the College;
• Development of Campus-specific policy;
• Development of all staffing, resourcing and operations of the College required to achieve the Objectives of the College.

Ms Joanne Sheehy joined A.B. Paterson College in 2003. She has held numerous leadership positions at the College including the Head of Mathematics, Dean of Studies, Head of Senior School, Assistant Principal and now the Principal.  Ms Sheehy has a Bachelor of Education (Hons) with double majors in both Physics and Mathematics as well as a Masters of Education in Leadership and Management. 

Ms Sheehy has been instrumental in developing student-related programs, structures and policies, most significantly in the areas of student leadership, personal development curriculum and student services.  She combines her strong academic and pastoral background with a collaborative style of leadership and an ardent belief in creating an inclusive educational environment where individual strengths can be encouraged and nurtured.

Darren Harvey
Assistant Principal

The role of Assistant Principal is a key leadership role in the College, reporting directly to the Principal, and is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the College. The Assistant Principal deputises for the Principal as is required and works within and assists the Principal in the leadership of the Senior Leadership Team. As such the Assistant Principal’s key accountabilities include the following areas:

  • Administration of College Prep to Year 12
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Pastoral Care and Student Behaviour Management
  • Co-curricular Activities
  • Statutory Compliance
  • College Budget
  • Human Resource Management
  • Community Engagement

Mr Darren Harvey joined A.B. Paterson College in 2022. Before joining the team at A.B., Mr Harvey was a key educational architect in the founding of fellow independent school, Sheldon College in Brisbane. This developmental work at Sheldon College has led to many leadership opportunities throughout his career including Director/Deputy Principal and middle management portfolios. These include the portfolios of Co-curricular, Academics, Student Wellbeing, Operations and founding Director of the Australian School of the Arts.

Darren has a Bachelor of Education and Master of Leadership having focused his research study on ‘How the development of cohesive executive leadership teams can positively impact on organisational culture’.

Simon Edgar
Acting Head of Senior School

The Head of Senior School is the immediate delegate of the Principal in matters pertaining to the Senior School. The Head of Senior School is responsible for the leadership, development, financial viability, staffing and day-to-day management of the Senior School.

Prior to joining A.B. Paterson College, Simon held a variety of leadership positions across independent schools in Australia, including the Head of Junior and Middle School at The Scots PGC College, and Deputy Headmaster – Curriculum at Guildford Grammar Preparatory School in Perth, Western Australia.

Simon considers himself a lifelong learner, which is evidenced by his ongoing commitment to professional development, having completed a Bachelor of Arts (Primary Education), Bachelor of Education, Master of Education, majoring in Educational Leadership. He is currently undertaking a Doctor of Education through the University of Southern Queensland.

Sara Bakanay
Acting Head of Junior School

The Head of Junior School is responsible for the planning, development, and operation of the Junior School, under the direction of the Head of Campus. The Head of Junior School also has a special responsibility in the development of Junior School staff.

The Head of Junior School is accountable for building positive and effective relationships amongst staff, students and parents in the Junior School. This includes ensuring communicating in a timely and effective manner with parents and external groups, demonstrating sensitivity and responsiveness when addressing individual challenges and concerns, and recognising student and staff achievement in an appropriate and timely manner.

Sara joined the College in 2021 after teaching for more than two decades across multiple year levels, as well as holding the position of Head of Languages from Prep to Year 12.

While her main teaching areas were previously Japanese, French and Mathematics, she also has a deep passion for Psychology and Student Wellbeing and is currently studying her second Masters in Guidance and Counselling.

Sara also holds a Master of Education in Teaching Second Languages and speaks six languages.

Stephen Cooke
Director of Business & Finance

Before joining A.B. Paterson College as Director of Business and Finance in 2021, Stephen held a number of senior leadership roles in the Independent School Sector both in New South Wales and Queensland along with other senior roles in the Queensland government and several leading QLD universities.

He brings a broad range of financial, systems integration, capital redevelopment, industrial relations, and governance experience to the College – all focused on student development and outcomes.

Stephen has a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics), a Master of Business Administration (Executive), a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Governance, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

He is driven by providing opportunities for others to grow, develop and contribute back to their community. This is shown through years of volunteer experience across the local volunteer Surf Life Saving community, as well as youth development programs with the Kokoda Youth Foundation on the Gold Coast. 

Nathan Burgess
Director of Activities

Nathan Burgess joined A.B. Paterson College in 2022. Nathan is an experienced leader in the Sports Management industry, specifically relating to school-based programs. Nathan has previously worked in Colleges with ties to the Greater Public Schools (GPS), Associated Independent Colleges (AIC) and Greater Brisbane Conference (GBC).

Throughout his career in various school leadership roles in Sport and Coaching Development, Nathan has built successful and sustainable programs through progressive strategic thinking and planning.

Nathan has a genuine passion for coaching, mentoring and fostering in students a lifelong love of sport, co-curricular and physical activity. Nathan has a strong interest in progressive theories around coaching and is always looking for opportunities to implement these theories in his programs.

Nikki Ward
Director of Community Relations and Development

The Director of Community Relations and Development is responsible for leading and managing the Community Relations Department, the development and implementation of all corporate strategies for branding, marketing, social media, communication, media, partnerships, community engagement and public relations.

Before joining us at the College in 2017, Nikki held Director positions at some of Australia’s largest and most recognised media organisations, including but not limited to, The Nine Network and Southern Cross Austereo's Hit and Triple M Networks. Nikki brings with her over 17 years of professional, extensive experience across the Corporate Communications industry.

Nikki has been a guest speaker at a number of national conferences, events, and leadership seminars.  Nikki's professional experience brings many benefits to our College community and beyond, to create wonderful new opportunities and, in turn, strengthen our community relationships.

Tim Grosser

Tim Grosser
Director of Operations and Planning

As part of the Senior Leadership Team, the Director of Operations and Planning is responsible for the day-to-day organisation of the College, the efficient coordination and effective utilisation of staff, the development of staff, and the planning associated with major events, functions and the College calendar.

Tim joined A.B. Paterson College in 2015 as Head of Mathematics and was appointed as Director of Operations and Planning in Term 4, 2017. Prior to this, he has held senior roles in independent schools in both Queensland and New South Wales.

Belinda Pilgrim
Director of Student Academic Performance

The Director of Student Academic Performance (Years 4-9) is responsible for the teaching and learning in Years 4-9, ensuring the best educational care for our students. Belinda will work with both Junior and Senior School staff and Heads of Faculty, monitoring the students’ academic progress as they move from Years 4 to 9.

Belinda is also Head of the Academic Academy; a program that runs from Years 1 through to Year 12. Within this program Belinda runs classes in Project-based Learning in Years 1-6 and a comprehensive Honours Program in Senior School.

Belinda joined A.B. Paterson College in 2018. She has held the position of Director of Teacher Development and Effectiveness and Head of Academic Excellence, Growth and Development before taking on the role of Director of Student Academic Performance in 2022. Prior to moving to the Gold Coast, Belinda predominantly worked in NSW and Victoria. She has held various leadership positions including Dean of Students, Director of Boarding, Head of English and Languages, Year Coordinator and Head of Stage 6 Learning. Belinda is very passionate about supporting each child’s academic journey, ensuring they all achieve their best possible results.

Sue Walduck
Director of Teacher Development and Effectiveness

The Director of Teacher Development & Effectiveness is responsible for the induction of all new teachers to the College and ensuring their understanding of the Teaching for Understanding framework and our UEH (Understanding, Effect and Humanity) coaching program. In addition, Sue works with teachers new to educating in Queensland, with their submission of a portfolio for full registration with the Queensland College of Teachers. The Director of Teacher Development & Effectiveness oversees the College Mentoring Program that measures teacher success through the 37 national AITSL standards.

Sue joined our College most recently in 2020 during the online learning period when most students were working from home. She was however very familiar with our College as she had worked here from 2001 to 2007 and then again in 2011. She has been the Head of Mackellar House at the College, a Head of Faculty, Coordinator of International Programs and the Director of Staff in Independent Schools throughout Queensland.

Sue has a strong passion for co-curricular programs and outdoor education to support the development of the whole student.

Afzal Shariff

Afzal Shariff
Director of ICT Services

The Director of ICT Services is responsible for the IT infrastructure of the College and for ensuring that technologically is geared to best support the education of our students and to enable the business operations of Administration.

The role encompasses delivering technology to classrooms and ensuring the seamless integration of IT into pedagogy and not merely as an ‘add-on’. IT and associated devices are important educational tools, but like any tool, are only for for specific purposes. Our pedagogy drives the technology needed and not dictated by it.
Prior to joining A.B. Paterson College, Afzal has held former positions, such as IT Manager at a local independent school and the Director of IT at Brisbane Boys College. Afzal has extensive experience in the tertiary education sector, having worked 10 years for the Queensland University of Technology.

Afzal has a Bachelor of Information Technology degree (majoring in Information Management) and an Associate Diploma in electrical Engineering from Queensland University of Technology.

Caitlyn Hoffman
Director of Early Learning

The Director of Early Learning is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Early Childhood Centre, ensuring high quality standards in relation to the National Quality Framework, the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Services laws.

Caitlyn leads a strong and dedicated team of Early Childhood Educators, who work closely together in the development and facilitation of appropriate and meaningful programs for children attending the service.

Caitlyn joined A.B. Paterson College in June 2017 and has been a part of the ever-evolving Early Childhood industry for over 10 years. She completed her Diploma in Children and Community Services in 2009. She is an established Director and has had additional experience in consultation services, providing advice and assistance to many Childcare and Outside School Hours Care Services across Australia. Caitlyn enjoys studying and is currently studying for her Diploma of Leadership and Management. 

Rachel Horner 
Dean of Studies

The Dean of Studies is responsible for ensuring the best educational outcomes for all students in Years 10 – 12, by guiding and advising on course offerings, monitoring their academic progress as they proceed from Year 10 to Year 12, and overseeing and taking responsibility for all moderation processes within the College.

Rachel joined A.B. Paterson College in 2021. Prior to moving to the College she held various leadership positions in schools in the UK, NSW and on the Gold Coast. These included Assistant Head of Learning and Teaching, Head of Learning Enhancement and Head of Year. She is passionate about supporting the individual learner and finding pathways for all students to be able to access their education and achieve to the best of their ability.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor
Deputy Head of Junior School: Teaching and Learning

The Deputy Head of Junior School: Teaching and Learning works closely with the staff and students from Prep – Year 6 on all matters relating to curriculum, pedagogy and instructional techniques; and with the Director of Teaching and Learning and other Senior Leaders to ensure the very best educational outcomes for students in the Junior School.

Rebecca joined the College in 2008 as a primary school teacher following her graduation from the College as a student and her university studies. She has international teaching experience following her appointment in England and has held a range of leadership positions at our College, including eMentor, Head of Instructional Leadership and Development, and Head of Learning Analytics. 

Liam Burke
Acting Deputy Head of Junior School: Pastoral

The Deputy Head of Junior School: Pastoral is responsible for the pastoral development and care of students, including both the formal Pastoral Care program, based upon Positive Education principles, and the operational pastoral care of all students within the Junior School.

Having originally pursued a career in Science, Liam began his teaching journey after a back operation gave him time to reflect on his true calling. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Education at RMIT, including Science units, and emerged as a qualified Primary (Generalist) and Secondary (Maths, Science and P.E.) teacher.

Over the coming years, Liam held various roles in Primary and Secondary schools in Queensland and Victoria, including Head of Campus, Maths and Science teacher, as well as teaching at a special assistance school for disengaged and disadvantaged students. It was here that his passion for student wellbeing grew. In his most recent previous role, Liam helped pilot a state-first Year 9 program, focusing on personal development as a priority for students at such a critical age in their development.

Liam was excited by the opportunity to join A.B. Paterson College in 2020 where he enjoys having a positive impact on the wellbeing and pastoral care of students every day.

Stephanie Bryan
Head of Foundation & Alumni

The Head of Foundation and Alumni is responsible for the effective running of the A.B. Paterson College Foundation with particular focus on raising community awareness and engagement. The role of the Foundation is to provide a strong philanthropic support mechanism to the College community through the awarding of scholarships, bursaries and the development of College facilities.

Before joining A.B. Paterson College, Stephanie has held a number of marketing and business development roles within the education sector including, but not limited to, National Marketing Manager for UniLodge Australia, Head of Marketing for Independent Student Living in London and General Manager of School Partnerships at Bond University. Stephanie brings with her a strong suite of skills that will ensure the Foundation is able to build a legacy that will continue to provide for our College community for generations to come.