Academic Leadership

Our teachers strive to deliver high quality learning experiences and regularly collaborate with professionals farther afield to expand their knowledge. Their dedication to the pursuit of professional excellence contributes to the culture of lifelong learning within our community.

Maria Caruso

Head of Science

It was one of my own teachers who inspired me to teach physics. He made science interesting and broke it down to a form that we could understand as students. In turn, I urge students not to be frightened by a label. Physics sounds hard, but I draw upon what inspired me, and work to make the subject interesting and accessible. I provide support to students who need extra help and encourage students to try their best and explore different areas of science that may appeal to them.

I love all things science, particularly physics. Using what we know on a macroscopic level to explain what we can’t see or touch is fascinating. It is amazing that so much of what we think we know, or accept to be true is based on theory.

As well as teaching at Walford, I teach physics revision courses for Adelaide University and have authored a test and examination pack. This year I was thrilled to be recognised as the South Australian State Finalist in the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards for teachers.

Kerri Proctor

Head of English

A love of literature from a young age and a number of inspiring and highly committed teachers, led to my own desire to become an English teacher. Having taught in schools and led English faculties in both the UK and SA, my focus continues to be to fully prepare my students to communicate in a confident and succinct style. In our ever-changing world our girls need the ability and self-belief that they can articulate their ideas, opinions and values coherently, in the secure knowledge that they are the voice of our future.

I am a passionate classroom teacher; I believe it is essential to keep up to date with contemporary pedagogy and I use a range of high impact teaching strategies to keep my students engaged, curious and excited to learn. I love to learn and believe that teaching is a continuous, ongoing and constantly deepening process; as educators, we are always learning.

Ongoing research tells us that reading, and the comprehension of content, is a key skill, so in a moment of relaxation, there is no better pleasure than curling up in a quiet corner with a book; that is where you will find me.

Catherine Quinn

Head of Mathematics

In my work I try to emulate the mentoring that I received as a student and found so valuable in my own learning journey.  Respectful and authentic relationships built with students are the key to achieving much together.  I remember my Year 2 teacher, Ms Taylor, (who was one of the first teachers to use “Ms” as a title!) encouraged me and told my parents that I was good at Maths. I can still remember and feel (!) the almost tangible belief she had in me. Her belief in me no doubt propelled my belief in myself and my whole approach to learning. Teachers can change lives and it is such a privilege to work with young people and help them in their formative years; I love it.

After leaving school I embarked on a degree in Physiotherapy, but I really wanted to be studying Mathematics, which was always my favourite subject. I recall the Chief Examiner of Mathematics 2, (similar to today’s Specialist Mathematics in the SACE) Dr Rey Casse, visiting our class and giving an inspiring talk. Years later Rey would be my PhD supervisor and lifelong dear friend. I still use a couple of his tricks and examples in my own work.

I have spent 12 years as a Lecturer in the Department of Pure Mathematics at the University of Adelaide and more recently three years teaching at Mercedes College and six years teaching at Pembroke. I am delighted to now be working with the wonderful students, families and staff at Walford. With three daughters of my own I enjoy the responsibility of mentoring and empowering young women.

Lara Elsdon

Head of Music

Listening to music and music making has always been an important part of my life. At Walford I enjoy the challenges of finding exciting opportunities for our students through performance and exploration.

After completing a Bachelor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium and a Graduate Diploma of Education from the University of Adelaide I worked in both boarding and comprehensive schools in England. On my return to Adelaide, I commenced my teaching at Walford.

Conducting is a passion of mine, and I enjoy directing numerous ensembles and gives me an opportunity to work closely with many students across the school. I enjoy exploring a variety of genres with the students, helping develop their understanding through rehearsal and performance.

Alice Speirs

Head of House / Teacher of Economics and Legal Studies

After a ten-year career as a Chartered Accountant I made the move to education. My philosophy for teaching economics and legal studies is to encourage students to engage with the world in meaningful ways, providing opportunities for students to analyse contemporary and relevant issues. I often draw on our school community for experiences outside the classroom and engagement of subject matter experts.

I am passionate about pastoral care. As a mentor and Head of House, I support each girl by understanding her individual needs as well as being part of the Walford Wellbeing Executive Leadership Team, a group that works collaboratively to make sure our girls can achieve their best.

Jamie Bahnisch

Head of Sport and Coaching

My passion and motivation for high performance in sport will help create a well-resourced, safe, collaborative environment which provides the foundations for every student to reach their desired success.

My qualifications include a Bachelor of Human Movement and Applied Science from UniSA and postgraduate studies in High Performance Sport Leadership at Australian Catholic University (ACU). My background in high performance sport began in 2010 when I undertook an internship at the Port Adelaide Football Club. This experience developed my passion for sport and led me to working as a Performance Analyst at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. More recently, I have worked at the Victorian Institute of Sport with the Melbourne Vixens Super Netball Team and the Victorian Men’s and Women’s Hockey Programs. I have been privileged during this time to also work with the Senior Men’s and Women’s Australian Hockey Teams, Australian Diamonds Netball Team, and be a part of Team Australia at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

I am excited to bring my skills, knowledge and experience from high performance sport here to Walford as we work together to create a leading sporting program for our students and coaches.

Emily Button

Head of Arts

Since joining Walford in 2016, I have played a pivotal role in promoting creative art and design opportunities to invigorate the arts and excite Walford students. As the Head of Arts, I am deeply passionate about effective and innovative teaching, leading a strong faculty that values creativity. I was recently certified as Walford’s first Highly Accomplished Teacher through the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). I hold a Master of Teaching (Secondary), Bachelor of Visual Arts and Bachelor of Media Art (Digital Media). I have an extensive background in the arts, with a particular passion for graphic design, where my style is characterised by splashes of bold colour.

Kate Fisher

Special Education Coordinator

Early in my teaching career, I developed a passion for working with students with learning difficulties. This led me to return to university and complete a Graduate Certificate in Special Education.

At Walford, my role as the Special Education Coordinator is to oversee the implementation of learning support programs for students with specific learning needs. These programs include MiniLit, MultiLit and the Beat Dyslexia Program. I liaise closely with external professionals to support student learning and am responsible for the creation of Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) for students from Reception to Year 9. I work closely with teachers and parents to ensure that each student is able to achieve her personal best and realise her potential.

Deb Woodard-Knight

Secondary Mathematics Teacher

I have taught maths for around 40 years in various schools and Universities around Australia. My favourite area is calculus and how we use this to describe the world around us. I enjoy teaching maths enormously. I love it when students pick up on my enthusiasm and get as excited as I do! I have taught all levels of maths but am currently working with extension groups in the junior school and middle school, as well as teaching senior levels of SACE and IB maths. I strongly promote the need for students to be resilient, innovative thinkers. In the past I have been lucky enough to be nominated for and awarded with a Teaching Excellence Award in 2010 from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering SA Division, a Teacher Mentor Award from the University of Adelaide in 2017 and, in 2019, two national awards for Excellence in Teaching and for Outstanding Secondary Teacher from the Choose Maths section of the Australian Mathematics and Science Institute.

Tabitha Noble

Senior Library Manager

I am an Old Scholar and returned to Walford following 17 years teaching all boys. With qualifications in education and librarianship, at both a Bachelor and Masters level, my educational philosophies are demonstrated through the provision of opportunities for all students to develop lifelong skills for learning. As Senior Library Manager, my team and I provide an inviting and accessible learning space for girls in the Middle and Senior Schools. In leading the Flexible Learning faculty, I facilitate unique learning opportunities through subjects such as the Research Project and Personal Learning Plan as well as support senior students with individualised and tailored pathways.