Academic Staff

Teach with passion

Excelsia Academic Staff

Academic Staff - Business School

Professor Ian Eddie

Head School of Business

Prior to commencing at Excelsia College Professor Eddie was the VinaCapital Professor of Private Equity at RMIT International University Vietnam. Previous to this appointment he was Professor of Accounting and Corporate Governance and Director of the Graduate College of Management at Southern Cross University, Professor of Accounting and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Government at the University of Canberra and Associate Professor and Head of the New England Business School at the University of New England.
PhD from The University of New England for research analyzing consolidation accounting practices in the Asia Pacific region. Master of Economics by research from The University of Sydney investigating asset valuation in imperfect markets. Bachelor of Economics Honours from The University of Sydney for research examining purchase and pooling accounting methods in business combinations.

Dr Sunaina Gowan

Deputy Head School of Business
Leadership and Management

Dr Sunaina Gowan is the Deputy Head, School of Business at Excelsia College. She is an experienced academic with over twenty-one years teaching experience, in the area of Management. Prior to her appointment as Deputy Head, she was Senior Lecturer and Coordinator Leadership and Management at Excelsia College. Previously, she has held a variety of academic positions at various institutions in Australia including Western Sydney University, Federation University and as Lead Lecturer Management at Curtin University, Sydney campus. Dr Gowan has a highly developed expertise in team leadership, curriculum development and design; with extensive experience in lecturing, guiding and supporting domestic and international students. She is currently teaching classes in Management and supervises PhD and Masters Students on projects spanning workplace spirituality as well as student well-being. Sunaina is a member of the Academic Board and Research Committee at Excelsia College.

Dr Sarah Eyaa

Programme Director
Leadership and Management

Sarah joined Excelsia College in 2019 as a lecturer in the School of Business. Prior to joining Excelsia, Sarah taught Business and Management courses in various institutions in Australia and Uganda. Through this experience, Sarah has developed competences in teaching, curriculum development and research. Sarah is passionate about sharing knowledge and supporting students through the learning process.

DR. Henry Boateng

BA, MPhil, Ph.D
Sessional Lecturer

Henry is a lecturer and a prolific researcher. He has over 9 years of experience in teaching, research and curriculum development in Marketing, Knowledge Management and other allied disciplines.
Henry has worked on several research projects at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and at the University of Ghana Business School. For example, at the UTS, He has worked with Prof. Jim Macnamara and Prof. Sun on a research project tilted “Formative and evaluative research: Capacity building, participatory communication and co-creation to reduce smoking rates of people from a Chinese speaking background in NSW”.
Henry has consulted for several organizations including the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia, the Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS), NSW Australia, and Health Education and Training Institute, NSW Health.

Ms Amy Lee

Casual Lecturer

Academic Staff - School of Counselling

Associate Professor Ebi Cocodia

BEd (Hons), MEd, M.Couns, PhD (UNS
Assoc. Professor Ebi completed a PhD from the University of New South Wales in Sydney in 2004. She is an academic leader, researcher and integrative counsellor with an interest in person-centered approaches.
Young people and mental health; counsellor education; reflective practice; cross- cultural approaches; psychology of human intelligence

Dr Dion Khlentzos

PhD, BSc Hons (Psych), BA Grad DipEd, Grad Dip Counselling, MAPS
Senior Lecturer
Dr Dion Khlentzos has been a lecturer, researcher and manager within tertiary institutions for 12 years. He has also worked as a counsellor, both within organisations and in private practice. Dion has had previous roles as Program Manager and Program Director within a tertiary institution, as well as the Counsellor Trainer with the Salvation Army’s crisis telephone counselling service. Dion is the Senior Lecturer for the graduate counselling programs at Excelsia College.
Dion holds a Doctorate in Psychology and Mental Health through the School of Education at Western Sydney University. He also has a Bachelor degree majoring in Mathematics and Statistics, a Bachelor Honours degree majoring in Psychology, and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Counselling.

Linda Higgins-Reid


Daniella Taouk

Education & Training
Completed a Bachelor of Arts Psychology, Masters in Clinical Counselling, and postgraduate training in contemporary Gestalt Psychotherapy. A registered member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), and actively pursue regular professional learning and development.

Since the beginning of 2020, commenced with private practice. Prior, has gained a wonderful 5 years of experience in working with various not-for-profit organisations, supporting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
During time as a therapist, has engaged in several areas of support for clients; including both face to face and online counselling, presentations to schools and communities and case management. Has also been involved in mentoring and supporting student interns, in the role of counselling. Thoroughly enjoys working with a variety of clients, both youth and adult individuals.

Through own individual experiences, I understand that healing is not a linear process, and I believe in gently working through the difficulties, in a safe and authentic space. I am passionate about empowering, supporting and walking with you, on your own unique journey of growth and healing.

Academic Staff - School of Creative and Performing Arts

Dr Lotte Latukefu

Lotte holds a PhD in Music Education from the University of Wollongong, Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music (NY) and a Bachelor of Music from the ANU School of Music. Collaborative Learning in Music, in particularly singing, has been a particular research interest for Lotte for about seven years. In her PhD thesis she examined the work of Lev Vygotsky and socio-cultural theorists who have followed in order to address questions concerning the nature of learning singing in collaborative settings. Her thesis demonstrated that there is a rich resource of learning to be found in the way that students interact with each other and learn from each other. Forming a nexus to this research is her own creative practice as a mezzo-soprano. Lotte’s practice-led research is concerned firstly with developing a canon of Australian contemporary art song that is influenced by Asia and the Pacific and secondly, experimenting with different kinds of folk music such as Klezmer, Gypsy, Balkan and Italian in order to extend the genre known as Australian Folk Music. She is a member of The Con Artists Community Gypsy Orchestra and Zumpa (Italian folk band).

Dr Mark Seton


Dr Mark Seton is an Honorary Research Associate (Department of Theatre and Performance Studies) at The University of Sydney. He is an adjunct lecturer in Theatre History at Excelsia College, and in health and wellbeing for actors at the International Screen Academy (ISA) and the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television (AFTT). He was recipient of the 2009 Gilbert Spottiswood Churchill Fellowship to conduct a study tour of actor training healthcare practices in the UK. Arising from this study, the Equity Foundation, in collaboration with Dr Seton, Assoc Prof Ian Maxwell (Department of Theatre and Performance Studies) and Dr Marianna Szabo (School of Psychology) at the University of Sydney, initiated a ground-breaking Actors’ Wellbeing Study (AWS) in collaboration with the Equity Foundation in 2013. Alongside membership of the international Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Dr Seton is one of the founding members of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH). In addition, he is Chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Australian College of Theology and regularly provides training in ethical research practices to its member Colleges.

Linda Nicholls-Gidley

Linda holds a Master of Creative Arts – University of Wollongong, Graduate Diploma – NIDA, and a Bachelor of Arts – Acting for the Stage and Screen Charles Sturt University. Linda Certified in Knight Thompson Speechwork in 2019 and is one of only 2 teachers of the method in Australia.

Trained as an actor and a theatre voice/accents and dialects specialist, Linda has worked in the Industry for over 20 years. This year Linda has coached on Pomona, The Boy George, Life is Impossible, A Chorus Line and Is God Is.

In 2019 Linda was dialect coach for: Shrek - The Musical (GFO), Little Miss Sunshine, I’m With Her, Kasama Kita, Good Dog, Baby Doll, Table, Once, Hitler’s Daughter, Mercury Fur, Cypress Ave, Saturday Night Fever, Russian Transport, The last 5 Years, Grounded, The Crucible, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Counting and Cracking and two short films The Hollow and Vincent. She also directed two short plays: Toxic by Maryanne Lynch and You Still Here by Patricia Cornelius. Other Theatre credits include Love, Maggie Stone, The Humans, Torch Song Trilogy, The Walworth Farce, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, DNA, and Home Invasion. Linda has also coached for large mainstage productions such as Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular, The Bodyguard, Rocky Horror and Dirty Dancing. Film: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2, Jungle, and Book Club. Television: Mary – The Making of a Princess, The Chase Australia. She directed Pramkicker by Sadie Hasler at its Sydney premier in October 2018.

Recent acting credits include various characters for the immersive tour experience at Hyde Park Barracks, The Ex-Girlfriend in Once, Marge Murray and Judy Shepard in The Laramie Project/ The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, Polonius/Stage Manager in Håmlet with Ban Shakespeare at Bondi Feast, Susan in One Way Mirror with Subtlenuance, and as various characters for the KXT Storytellers festival, she appeared as ‘Coach’ in the independent feature film Zoe.Misplaced.

Linda was accent, dialect and voice teacher at NIDA in Sydney for 7 years and has worked at numerous actor training institutions both in Australia and internationally.

Linda can be heard talking about the Australian accent on the podcast In A Manner of Speaking and about the voice in general on the podcast Brady’s Hunch and the podcast Don’t Be So Dramatic. Linda will be seen later this year on Channel 72’s science program for children Get Clever, talking about the voice.

John Sullivan

Production Lecturer & Designer

John Alan Sullivan is a Mudgee based Designer with a passion for the unusual (although he has done his fair share of realism). John’s wide range of artistic experience spans at least three areas of design and began in the fashion industry. At eighteen, John started studying at The Whitehouse Institute of Design. He quickly found himself designing for the stage via runway shows, and a fascination for theatrical expression was born. After ‘serving’ two years at the sewing machine, he shifted his focus onto set and props and took a design assistant job with Channel 7. He then studied at Excelsia College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in 2015. In his final year and after graduating from Excelsia College he was employed by the ABC for the design and construction of set pieces and props for Giggle and Hoot.
John has worked as set, costumes and props designer for many different theatres and television companies. Production highlights include Faust (2013) A Thousand Cranes (2013), Acting Out (2013), (2014) and (2015), Classic Shorts (2014), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014), The Falcon (2014), The Main Thing (2014), Blood Wedding (2014), Experiment with an Air Pump (2014), Bubble (2015), The Oresteia (2015) and Norm and Ahmed (2015). He designed and constructed the set and costumes for the 2015 graduation show, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, and is currently working in the same capacity on Mustard Seeds Production’s performance of My Father’s Left Testicle at The Depot Theatre. He has also worked as Head of Art on the short films Yolo (2013), SRC (2014), Enough Rope (2014), Soul Date (2014), Cross My Heart (2015), Hope to Die (2015) and The Outsider (2016).

Malcolm Frawley

Acting Lecturer

Malcolm is a writer/director/teacher & actor with over 35 years of professional experience. His plays &/or productions have been performed in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Byron Bay & Darwin. He has taught at NIDA, Sydney Theatre School, Screenwise, Actors College of Theatre & Television (ACTT), Theatre Nepean (University of Western Sydney), Screen Actors Workshop, ADASA, Ed5, Kick & Gala Studios. He has been a member of the Excelsia team since 2014.

Hailey McQueen

Acting Lecturer, Drama Pedagogy Lecturer, Director

Teaching Drama Pedagogy, Acting and directing Hailey has been a part of the School of Drama at Excelsia College for twelve years. Graduating from Excelsia as Valedictorian in 2002, Hailey went on to receive a Diploma of Education and a Master of Applied Theatre Studies from the University of New England. As an actor her credits include a host of short films, theatre and the occasional television commercial. For Wesley Institute she held lead roles in; Talking With, The Hot Mikado, Easter, Fear and Misery in the Third Reich, J.B, The Popular Mechanicals, Charlotte, Only Words and Morning Sacrifice. In 2005 Hailey was involved in the development of a successful theatre company, Cufflink Productions and consequently had the privilege of working with some ‘Theatre Greats’ including Tony Taylor. For Cufflink Productions; Talking With (Seymour Centre), The Popular Mechanicals (Newtown Theatre and Big Laugh Comedy festival) and The Cardboard Box (Tony Taylor). She went on to develop Lumi Theatre, a physical theatre ensemble and Wesley Institute’s Alumni theatre company Twisted Tree Theatre. More recently Hailey established Clock and Spiel Productions with Yannick Lawry producing and directing two sold out seasons of The Screwtape Letters in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Kate Gaul

Director, Lecturer
Kate Gaul: Freelance Theatre Director/Designer. NIDA 1996 (Directing Course), Anne Bogart SITI Company NYC 2005. Associate Director Ensemble Theatre 2004/5. Festival Director World Interplay 2009/11. Festival Director Short Play Festival Canberra 2013 - 2015, Cabaret Sydney 2014, Mardi Gras Parade Creative Director 2015/16. Curator Playlist 2018 – 2020. Kate’s directing credits include plays, opera, physical theatre, devised works and classics for theatre companies and schools in Australia. Kate has won numerous awards across the fields of directing and design. She is Artistic Director of Siren Theatre Co where her passion is for text-based drama challenges artists and audiences to have bold imaginative experiences. Kate’s play – Fatboy has been produced twice and she has written and directed two short films – Embrace and Cake.

In 2019 Kate produced and directed The Moors (by Jen Silverman) and curated PLAYLIST both in conjunction with Seymour Centre and Mardi Gras; directed a stage version of Janne Teller’s YA novel Nothing for Blue Cow (Tasmania); By the Light of the Moon (Opera Australia), and Hansel & Gretel (Pacific Opera). Kate’s gender bending HMS Pinafore for Hayes Theatre opened in November 2019 and tours NSW in 2020

Amanda Stephens Lee

Lecture Acting (First Year), Voice (Second Year)

Amanda is a graduate of NIDA’s MFA (Voice) program, and she holds a BA (Performance Studies) from the University of Sydney. Her training includes acting at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art; The Actors Centre (London); voice with Patsy Rodenberg, Kristen Linklater and Barbara Houseman; acting with Larry Moss, Scott Williams (Meisner Technique) and Philippe Gaulier (Physical Theatre/Clowning); and singing with Elena Doria (Metropolitan Opera House, NYC).

Acting includes: On the Shore of the Wide World (Griffin), Leaves (KX Theatre), Four Places (Outhouse Theatre), Beautiful Thing (Burley Theatre, Seymour Centre), Macbeth & Taming of the Shrew (Sport for Jove), and Open for Inspection (Darlinghurst Theatre). Film credits include several short films, commercials, corporate films and the feature Operation Lysistrata.

She has taught in many of the major drama schools in Sydney and at East 15 Acting School in London. Amanda is a member of MEAA, Equity and the founder of Some Company Productions. She was nominated for a Best Actress award in the Sydney theatre awards for her performance in Leaves.

Dr Lotte Latukefu

Lotte holds a PhD in Music Education from the University of Wollongong, Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music (NY) and a Bachelor of Music from the ANU School of Music. Collaborative Learning in Music, in particularly singing, has been a particular research interest for Lotte for about seven years. In her PhD thesis she examined the work of Lev Vygotsky and socio-cultural theorists who have followed in order to address questions concerning the nature of learning singing in collaborative settings. Her thesis demonstrated that there is a rich resource of learning to be found in the way that students interact with each other and learn from each other. Forming a nexus to this research is her own creative practice as a mezzo-soprano. Lotte’s practice-led research is concerned firstly with developing a canon of Australian contemporary art song that is influenced by Asia and the Pacific and secondly, experimenting with different kinds of folk music such as Klezmer, Gypsy, Balkan and Italian in order to extend the genre known as Australian Folk Music. She is a member of The Con Artists Community Gypsy Orchestra and Zumpa (Italian folk band).

Dr Christine Carroll

B. Mus, Dip. Ed. PhD.
Music Program Director

Christine Carroll has many years of experience teaching in both Music and Education, in both tertiary and secondary contexts. A classical flautist and contemporary vocalist and worship leader, her work and research interests focus on effective pedagogies and knowledge-building practices for 21st Century musicians. Christine graduated in 2017 with a PhD in Music Education from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music/The University of Sydney, Australia. She also holds a Dip. Ed. In Secondary Music Education and a Bachelor of Music (Performance) from the University of Sydney.

Ludmila Beliavskaia

DipMus, MMus(Hons)

Tutor, Classical Piano

A graduate of Rachmaninov Conservatorium of Music in Russia, Ludmila has more than 30 years experience of teaching classical piano. She started working at Rachmaninov Conservatorium of Music as a teacher in solo piano and chamber ensemble performance. She also worked as an accompanist. Having worked in Australia for 15 years, Ludmila currently teaches at the University of New South Wales, Excelsia College and International Grammar School. Some of her recent performances include concerts with the German Chamber Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House and the Greek Choir at Sydney Town Hall. Ludmila’s students have received awards at piano competitions both in Russia and Australia.

Dr Sadaharu Muramatsu

BA(Hons), MMus, MMus, Hon.DMus
Lecturer, Large Ensemble (Choral), Musical Direction
Tutor, Conductor

Sada completed a Masters of Music in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. Subsequently, he was granted a fellowship to study conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney under the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists.

Sada completed a Masters of Music in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. Subsequently, he was granted a fellowship to study conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney under the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists.

Sada studied conducting under Imre Pallo, Kurt Masur, Sir Mark Elder CBE, Hirofumi Misawa and Kazuki Sawa.

Julia Michaels

Tutor, Contemporary Vocal; Song Writing, Small Ensemble

Regularly performing in venues across Sydney Julia has worked alongside artists such as Paramore, Delta Goodrem, Prinnie Stevens, Barry Crocker, Darlene Zschech and Merrick & Rosso as well as featuring as a guest vocalist with Soul Deep, Busy Hands, One Foot in the Groove, Cardboard Animals and Dr Bob and the Amazing Disciples of Groove.Recently Julia has received international recognition for songwriting. The single "Walls" off A Beautiful Descent EP was awarded Song of the Year in Adult Contemporary Category of the 2014 Song Contest in the U.S. Her single "Love my Ghost" won Song of the Year in the Folk/Acoustic Category at the 2015 National Songwriting Awards hosted by the Australian Songwriting Association (ASA) as well as placing Runner Up for Australian 2015 Songwriter of the Year (ASA)

Candice Boyd

Tutor, Contemporary voice and contemporary violin

Candice teaches singing and violin specialising in contemporary singing and violin, as well as classical violin. In 2010, she began teaching the choirs and small vocal groups at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. She has toured with Ben Hazlewood and Molly Meldrom, and is currently performing with her self-managed duo “Am Believe I” developing her skills as a singing violinist, which is also the focus area of her Masters research.

David Pudney

AssDipJazzStud, Industry Professional

Lecturer, Functional Keyboard
Tutor, Jazz Piano, Bass Guitar, Double Bass

David completed his Associate Diploma in Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium in 1984 and has been a sought after bass player in the Australian jazz scene since that time, with a wide repertoire of mixed styles. He spent 16 years as bassist in the Don Burrows Quartet and has worked with many distinguished Australian and overseas jazz artists. David is also a pianist and teaches piano, electric and double bass, and improvisation at the Sydney Conservatorium Open Academy, Avondale Conservatorium in the Newcastle area, and here at Excelsia College. As a working musician, recording artist and teacher, he brings a wealth of musical experience to Excelsia College.

Na Ri Kim

BA(Mus), BCA(MusPerf), MMus
Piano Accompanist
Tutor, Piano

Na Ri is an experienced piano teacher, organist and music theory teacher. Na Ri Kim was born in South Korea and interested in music from a young age. She started learning the organ when she went to university. While studying, she performed in numerous concerts as a soloist and accompanist. She migrated to Australia after she got married in 1998. She studied and completed a Bachelor of Music at Wesley Institute and a Master of Music at Newcastle Conservatorium. She is currently teaching at Excelsia College, Message Musical School in the Korean Community and as a private piano teacher.

Dr Peter McNamara

Tutor, Composition; Advanced Harmony

Dr Peter McNamara is an award-winning Sydney-based composer gaining a reputation as one of Australia's most talented and innovative emerging voices. His work is particularly influenced by landscapes and the physics of the natural world and universe, and extends across a wide variety of musical genres including orchestral, chamber, electronic, installation and film composition. Between 1999 and 2011 he studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with composers such as Michael Smetanin, Bozidar Kos and Trevor Pearce, graduating with a PhD. McNamara numerous awards include the 2015 APRA Professional Development Award, the Gallipoli Songs Prize in 2014 (The General’s Garden), second place at the 2011 Young Composers Meeting with Orkest de Ereprijs (Cross Modifications), the 2008 2MBS-FM composition award for Orchestra (Modes of Deception), the 2007 Betty Amsden Award for Orchestra (Auftauchen der Nacht) and second place in the 2007 Asian Composers League Young Composers Awards (Landscape of Diffracted Colours). McNamara also received a High Credit from the Lepo Sumera International Composition Contest in 2003 for his orchestral work Shadows of Fallacy.

Luke Sweeting

Tutor, Performance (contemporary and jazz piano); Small Ensemble; Composition

Improvising pianist and composer Luke Sweeting resides in Sydney, Australia. He is best known for the strength of his composing like in his 2012 jazz album 'People and Lightbulbs' and more recently with the Grey Wing Trio who recently released their debut album 'Amoroso' on Jazzhead. Last year, Luke toured Germany, Sweden and Australia with Svelia, The Grey Wing Trio in Australia and toured New Zealand and Australia with Kiwi/Aussie collaborative band Antipodes. He also toured in April with Vulkan quintet (DENMARK/AUST) whilst performing with other projects. uke studied at the ANU School of Music before their recent course changes, receiving the Dennis Griffin Scholarship to complete his performance based masters. He studied and performed with and alongside trumpet legend Miroslav Bukovsky (of Wanderlust and Ten Part Invention fame), James Greening (of Greening from Ear to Ear) amongst many others at the school. Luke received the Sprogis Woods Composition Competition for his large ensemble piece Sound Canvas in 2010. In 2013, with the help of the Australia Council Luke was able to pursue overseas studies with Florian Ross (German pianist/composer) and Hävard Wiik (Norwegian/Berlin pianist).
Steven Crain
Tutor, Guitar; small ensemble

Steve is a Sydney based jazz guitarist, composer and band leader. In 2011 he released a solo album “Kthwack!”.Steve studied at the Sydney Conservatorium in the early ’90s and over the last 25 years has enjoyed playing jazz, blues, gospel, pop and latin music in Sydney, across the country and internationally. He is in high demand in Sydney as a performer and combines this with teaching guitar at Excelsia College and part time music ministry at St Barnabus Broadway.

Mr Art Phillips
Lecturer, Music and Media, Music and the Moving Image, Screen Music Analysis

Art was President of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers 2001-2008 and served as Vice President from 1992-2000. He is also a councillor for Music Australia (Music Council of Australia) representing ‘Music in Film and Television’ since 2005. He is a two-time EMMY winning composer for a myriad of TV series and films both in the USA and Australia. He penned the R&B single ‘Here We Go’ for Minnie Riperton, co-wrote the Motown Record release ‘Now That I Have You’ for recording artist Teena Marie, composed for Santa Barbara (NBC), The Love Boat, Neighbours, Missing Persons Unit, The Lost Treasure of Fiji, and Outback House, and his production library work on over 75 album releases used on the television shows includes Cold Case Files, Good Morning America, The Dog Whisperer, E True Hollywood Story, America’s Most Wanted, A Current Affair (US), Celebrity Profile, NYPD Blue, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Survivor, 60 Minutes, The Ricki Lake Show, Harry’s Practice, The Great Outdoors, Extra-The Entertainment Magazine Show and The USA Today Show, and many more.


Dr Mark Seton

Adjunct Lecturer
Dr Mark Seton is an adjunct Lecturer in the School of Performing Arts at Excelsia College. His research and scholarship in the field of actor health and wellbeing, both in training and in the workplace, have been recognized internationally: by a Churchill Fellowship to the UK, and by his ongoing contribution to the annual training Certificate program for Performing Arts Medicine, conducted by the Performing Arts Medicine Association each year in the USA. He has contributed chapters to several books and has authored peer refereed publications and reports in key areas of actor wellbeing in training and in the workplace. Mark is an invited examiner of Honors, Masters and Doctoral theses in this field and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health. He is also Vice-President of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare and is an Ambassador for Entertainment Assist.

Academic Staff - School of Education

Dr Leonardo Veliz

Bachelor or Arts, Cert IV TESOL, Master of Applied Linguistics, Doctor of Philosophy
Head of School of Education
Dr Leonardo Veliz has been a teacher, lecturer and manager within educational institutions for over 15 years. Beginning his career teaching English, as well as English as a foreign language (EFL), Dr Veliz has taught in diverse contexts, spanning primary, secondary and tertiary classrooms, teaching in South America, the UK and Australia. In addition, Dr. Veliz has extensive experience in Management, and the ELICOS sector.

Dr Peter Stiles

Early Childhood, Senior Lecturer
Dr Stiles has had many years of teaching experience and been Head of English, Director of Studies, Director of Human Resources and Head of Middle School in leading independent schools. He holds a Doctorate in Literature and Theology from Glasgow University, Scotland. He has studied Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, and been the recipient of several international awards.

Dr Scott Smith

BA, MA, MEd, PhD,Senior Lecturer
Master of Education Program
Scott holds a PhD in Education from Macquarie University, a Master of Research and a Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL) also from Macquarie University, as well as a Master of Arts from the University of Sydney. His Bachelor’s degree was in Geography and Anthropology. Scott’s PhD research investigated teacher beliefs and interculturality in Chinese language teaching in Australian schools. It found that there is much potential for languages education when teachers actively engage in Wenger’s Communities of Practice and purposefully reflect on their own teaching practice.

Dr Garry Gannell

Doctor of Education, Lecturer
Dr Garry Gannell has worked in Christian Education (in CCS/CSA schools in NSW) from 1981 to 2014. During this time, he taught secondary students, mainly in the Physical Education, Social Science, Computing areas (including a period where he was a Senior Marker of HSC Computing Studies). He was also a Deputy Principal for six years and Principal of K-12 schools for 22 years. His doctoral studies explored leadership of Christian Schools in NSW, with a specific focus on the experiences of first time principals in their first 12 months in the role. During this time, Garry also served on CCS/State Council for multiple terms, and was the inaugural Chair of what ultimately became the NSW Christian Schools Sports Association. He was also the inaugural Chair of the NSW Christian School Teacher Accreditation Committee, responsible for establishing policy and procedures leading to the Accreditation of Teachers at the levels of "Highly Accomplished" and "Lead" levels on behalf of (then) NSW BOSTES. Another significant task that this committee developed under his leadership was the development of Christian Distinctive Standards, aligned with the BOSTES/NESA Teacher Accreditation Standards.
Joanne Ng | Excelsia Staff

Joanne Ng

Masters of Early Childhood (Macquarie University), Bachelor of Arts and Social Science (Singapore University), Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood, Institute of Early Childhood, Postgraduate Certificate of Research (Macquarie University)

Joanne is a reflective Early Childhood practitioner who has been teaching extensively for over 12 years both in Australia and Singapore. She has assumed the position of Head of Chinese Department in one of Singapore’s largest kindergarten and has been working as a teaching director with KU Children’s Services for 5 years. Joanne is passionate about young children’s positive interactions, inclusion, second language acquisition and staff’s well-being, professional development and leadership. Her current research interest includes, use of technology in teaching, overseas teacher’s perception of teaching in Australia and second language learning.

Helen Child

Bachelor of Education and Music - Liverpool Hope University, Diploma of Photography - CATC
Helen Child is the Education Practicum and Placement Coordinator at Excelsia College. She has over twenty years of teaching experience both in the UK and Australia, specialising in music, performance and vocals. Helen has past experience in management, marketing and creative arts having owned a successful photography business for 14 years. She is passionate about Education and is relishing the opportunity to work with an amazing team of educators and academics, while creating a foundationally sound process flow to the element of practicum placements within the Bachelor of Early Childhood.

Vivienne Webster

Otago University: Dip Phys Ed, Auckland Sec Teachers College :Grad Dip Ed :Sec Teachers College Diploma

Professional Experience Coordinator

Vivienne brings extensive teaching experience to the position, having taught Science, Biology and PDHPE in both Auckland and London. Vivienne has past experience working in Advertising and Marketing, and was first employed at Excelsia College (then Wesley Institute) in Marketing, before transferring to Education. Vivienne is passionate about health and fitness and has been employed as a Health Counsellor, Sports Nutrition lecturer and Health Club Programme Manager. She has had her own Personal Fitness and Pilates business for many years, working in London with HRH Princess Michael of Kent and other Royalty and celebrities.

Academic Staff - School of Social Work

Penny Kansiime

Penny Kansiime

Lecturer of School of Social Work Penny Kansiime has been a social work practitioner for over twelve years. She has both domestic and international practice in the areas of child protection, gender-based violence, social administration, forced migration, HIV/AIDS, and disability, with a range of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Her social work lecturing career started almost two years ago, working as a sessional lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, University of Newcastle, as well as the Australian College of Applied Psychology in Sydney. Penny uses a holistic and critical approach to social work and aims at helping students become critically reflective practitioners.

Penny is a PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle. She also holds a Master of Philosophy in Public Mental Health from Stellenbosch University and a Master of Science with a major in Social Work and Human Rights from the University of Gothenburg. Penny completed her Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration degree from Makerere University Kampala.
Dr. Shannon Said | Excelsia College

Dr. Shannon Said

Lecturer of School of Social Work & Field Education Coordinator
Shannon Said is a social work researcher and practitioner, working with Pacific, Maori and culturally diverse people groups over the past ten years. He has held various positions as a researcher at Western Sydney University, The University of Sydney, Australian Catholic University and others in the areas of music and other cultures, support programs for disadvantaged and minority university student groups, and music therapy as an alternative for young people from trauma backgrounds. Shannon has more recently has worked as a Youth Access Practitioner at headspace and Youth Development Worker at Bridging the Gap.

Shannon completed his PhD (Music) from Western Sydney University in 2017, then completed his Master in Social Work (Qualifying) in 2020 from the University of Wollongong. He is currently completing a Graduate Diploma of Counselling at Excelsia College.
Shannon’s thesis explored Christian-Maori diaspora identity in South West Sydney. His research interests focus on decolonising research in diaspora and minority group research contexts, and promoting Indigenous and diaspora approaches to research and community engagement. He also has an interest in his own Maltese-Australian diaspora community, and how notions of national identity are impacted by migration, dual citizenship and hyphenated cultural identities.

Academic Staff - Integrative Studies

Prof Kirsty Beilharz

Prof. Dr. Kirsty Beilharz

Integrative Studies Program Director
Dr. Kirsty Beilharz is a composer, researcher, educator and author. She is the Integrative Studies Program Director at Excelsia College. Kirsty has previously conducted research at the University of Notre Dame (Australia) in bioethics, healthcare ethics and spirituality, in collaboration with St. Vincent's Health Network. Kirsty was a conjoint academic of UNSW Faculty of Medicine, of Sydney University’s Kolling Institute, and at HammondCare investigated the impact of music in dementia and palliative care. Kirsty was a Senior Creative Fellow at Anglican Deaconess Ministries, Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Professor of Music and Interaction Design at UTS, and Digital Media Program Director at Sydney University.

Christopher Gilbert

Master of Arts Religion
Associate Lecturer
Chris Gilbert’s experience with diverse people and places has equipped him for his major life interest: “teaching young birds to fly” and storytelling. He became a follower of Jesus after a trip across Siberia in the northern winter of 1975. From Cornerstone Community in the outback of Australia, he went on to University studies, youth work among detention centre parolees in Brisbane, journalism, a Seminary degree in Philadelphia and 14 years providing pastoral care of church communities in Manhattan and Massachusetts. Over the past 20 years, he also directed digital film projects in India, Denmark, Lithuania, the U.S. and Australia. He returned to his native Australia in 2015 and now lives in Sydney teaching theological core subjects for Excelsia College. He is married to Jo Kadlecek-Gilbert and they enjoy exploring Sydney and its harbour together with their dog, Clark Kent.

Academic Staff - Research

Dr Maureen Miner Bridges

BSc (Hons 1), Dip Crim, Dip Ed, Dip Bib Stud (Hons), M Clin Psych, Phd.
Before joining Excelsia College Maureen held the positions of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Western Sydney University. She has lectured in Pastoral Counselling to theological students and continues to consult as a Clinical Psychologist. Her passion for research leadership led to her becoming a Founding Director of the Lumen Research Institute in 2016, an initiative of Excelsia College in Sydney and Indiana Wesleyan University in the USA.
Dr Abbott J Haron

Dr A.J. Haron

Dr Haron has over 27 years of business and academic education experience. His experience took place across more than 12 countries including but not limited to the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Qatar, Oman, Dubai, Singapore, and Vietnam. His last position before joining Excelsia College was the Director of Postgraduate Studies (MBA and EMBA) at RMIT Vietnam.

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