Humans of St John’s
Welcome to the latest edition of Humans of St John’s featuring our new Head of Mathematics, Mr Ashley Smith as he shares with us his journey to St John’s.
My passion has always been STEM, in particular, Biology and Mathematics – what I believe are the purest of all sciences. I was always an academic student, regularly recognised for my hard work and dedication to my studies by receiving academic awards in Mathematics, Biology, English and Religion. Upon graduating from High School, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Mathematics and Computing) through Central Queensland University in Rockhampton. To help pay my way through university, I worked as a tutor for the on-campus Maths Learning Centre. It was here that I uncovered my passion for helping others with their studies.
In the final year of my degree, my supervising lecturer arranged for a dual enrolment in a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary). My goal was to be the inspiration for others that my lecturers had been for me.
Commencing my vocation, I have had the opportunity to teach at three schools within Education Qld culminating in the acting Head of Science at Brisbane State High. From there I undertook the Head of Mathematics and Science roles in two Brisbane Catholic Education Secondary and P-12 Colleges, before spending the last 10 years in Senior Leadership.
Prior to commencing at St John’s this year my only connection to the school was through the BPAC eisteddfod. My daughter competed and danced in the industry standard, St John’s Performing Arts Centre of Excellence. I was in awe of the quality of facilities that the College offered its students. I was attracted to the role at St John’s in particular because of the high academic ranking of the school, regularly featuring in the top 20 schools in Queensland.
My goal at St John’s is to build upon the impressively high standards of the College and to ensure students have access to the highest quality immersion in Mathematics. To achieve this vision, I intend to map the learnings in Mathematics from Kindergarten through to Year 12 and fine-tune the curriculum. I believe there are opportunities to differentiate learning and offer greater rigour for our students. I anticipate uncovering opportunities for greater cross-curriculum connections, whilst preserving the integrity of mathematical learning.
I intend to lead a review of our assessment suite to ensure that assessment is an integral aspect of the teaching and learning process, which informs how we differentiate and what we teach in the classroom. Finally, I believe there is the capacity to further build upon the SOAR program. Currently, the SOAR program serves as both an extension and acceleration program, and there is great potential here.
Having only just begun my journey at St John’s, I have most enjoyed the interactions with students. I have been impressed by their politeness, focus, determination, and mature behaviour which is an absolute delight to encounter. I congratulate the staff on their immense efforts in establishing the positive and inclusive culture which pervades at the school. This is exemplified by the students who regularly commit themselves to weekend sports, often more than one sport, as well as the many extracurricular clubs on offer at the College. In Term One, I had the pleasure of coaching the First and Junior Girls Football teams and was impressed with the attitudes and sportsmanship on display.
I have particularly enjoyed working with the dedicated staff in the Mathematics department all of whom work incredibly long hours to prepare quality lessons, and learning and teaching materials. The staff have been incredibly welcoming, and I feel very much at home.
Away from the College, I have three great loves – my family, my faith, and my studies. I am a very proud father to my daughter. Whether it be helping her with her homework, taking her to dance and piano or sharing a Boba-tea.
As for my studies, I am currently in the pre-research phase of my third Master’s degree – a Master of Religious Education. I also have a Master of Networking and Systems Administration and a Master of Education Leadership. I am enjoying the opportunity to examine and explore my faith in depth, having spent the Easter break writing an exegesis on the Parable of the Lost Son (aka the Prodigal Son).