Susan Just


Susan Just has been working as an educator for over 20 years. Beginning her teaching career in government schools in Queensland, Susan went on to gain extensive teaching and leadership experience in the independent school sector in Australia; she has been the Principal of three independent girls’ schools in Queensland and Canberra.

Degrees Susan holds include a BA (UQ), Dip ED (UQ), M.Ed Admin (UNE) and Advanced Management Course (Harvard). Susan’s strong areas of interest have been in curriculum and teacher development, leading to her participation on a number of peak educational bodies, committees and taskforces. She has been actively involved in the Australian Heads of Independent Schools’ Association and the Association of Independent Schools both in the ACT and New South Wales.

Susan is a passionate supporter of resilience and wellbeing programs for girls and, to complement her own reading, she has completed training courses in Positive Education with Professor Martin Seligman and Dr Karen Reivich from Penn University and Associate Professor Lea Waters from the University of Melbourne, as well as Mindfulness training with Dr Craig Hassed from the University of Melbourne.

In 2009 Susan took a sabbatical to complete an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, a course on business management which complemented her educational research focus.

In her spare time, Susan enjoys walking and cycling. She also thoroughly enjoys reading; currently she is hooked on the Donna Leon detective novels involving Commissioner of the Venetian Police, Guido Brunetti, as the main character.


Tim Watson

Deputy Principal - Learning and Innovation

Tim Watson has extensive experience in education and, in particular, the teaching of young women. Originally from New Zealand, Tim previously held the position of Head of Faculty in English at Wellington Girls’ College where he led a number of significant curriculum innovations. Most recently Tim was appointed to the position of Director of Curriculum and Pedagogies at Lauriston Girls’ School before taking on the role of Vice Principal - Learning and Innovation.

Tim’s particular passions are in researching and investigating effective pedagogies, curriculum and assessment. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious British Council Emerging Leader in Education scholarship and most recently, 2016, was selected as an Apple Emerging Leader in Education. Having previously been a national advisor, moderator and assessor, as well as created a number of resources regarding the teaching of English, he has extensive experience in curriculum development. He has been a national board member on the New Zealand Association of Teachers of English and held various regional positions in educational organisations.

In 2014 Tim completed his Masters in Educational Leadership from Monash University and he also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Canterbury) in English Literature and Political Science, and a Graduate Diploma of Education (NZGSE).



Kate Gilchrist

Acting Head of Senior School

Kate has been working at Lauriston for nearly 25 years in a variety of roles: from Hockey/Softball Coach, Head of Mitchell House, Head of Faculty (Phys Ed) and Year Level Coordinator (Year 8) to her current role as Acting Head of Senior School.

Kate is passionate about Lauriston’s school values and the wellbeing of the students and this is evidenced by the crucial role she played as Director of Student Wellbeing, developing and implementing Lauriston’s SHINE program. SHINE is a structured Social and Emotional Learning Program that our teachers use to guide students through decision making and understanding key concepts and issues specific to their development.

Kate holds a Diploma of Education, a Bachelor of Applied Science, and most recently completed a Master of Education (Student Wellbeing) from The University of Melbourne. In her spare time, she loves to do anything that involves sport / fitness, reading, music and travelling (Hawaii and Italy).



Sam Ridley

Sam Ridley

Vice Principal -  Howqua Campus

Sam has been working at Lauriston since 2008, both at the Howqua and Armadale campuses. His role at Howqua is to lead the management team in decision making and operational matters. He also works collaboratively to develop curriculum and leads, engages, inspires and supports all Howqua staff. Sam works closely with the entire Howqua community comprising students, staff and parents.

Prior to working at Lauriston, Sam was a Director at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He also spent some years working in Canada at Rosseau Lake College, Ontario, several years at Geelong Grammar’s ‘Timbertop’ campus and has worked at both Western Australia’s Christ Church Grammar School ‘Kooringal’ and The Scots College ‘Glengarry’ in New South Wales. Sam has extensive experience in residential and boarding programs and Outdoor education and strongly believes in the benefits and challenges these present to students. Sam holds a Bachelor of Arts (Outdoor Education) and Diploma of Education (Secondary).




Chris Toms

Vice Principal - Head of Junior School

Chris Toms is an experienced educator and has taught at Lauriston for over ten years; in that time he has held the positions of Year 4-6 Classroom Teacher, Director of Learning and now Head of Junior School. Chris has played a crucial role in leading and managing the Junior School teachers in the development of curriculum, assessment practices and reporting from Kindergarten to Year 6. He has developed initiatives aligned with current educational research and practice and collaborated with the School’s Executive on the implementation and evaluation of the Strategic Plan.

Prior to Lauriston, Chris worked for Kilvington Grammar School and held positions including Team Leader for Years 3-6. He holds a Masters of Education from Monash University, where he focused on Leadership, Management and Information Technology. He also holds a Bachelor of Education from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Melbourne.

Chris is a parent to two young children and also enjoys playing tennis and golf in his spare time.






Cathy Tan

Business Manager

Cathy is a Chartered Accountant with a background in business services and tax. She initially worked in small and second tier accounting firms before moving away from the accounting field to become Group Financial Controller of a leading patent and trademark attorney firm. Prior to her commencement at Lauriston, Cathy completed her Masters of Business Administration.

In between work and looking after her two children, Cathy likes to cook, potter around in the garden, catch up with friends, read books and watch movies.








Nick Thornton

Director of the Lauriston Institute

Nick Thornton has a wealth of experience working in the education and leadership sectors; before he started with Lauriston, Nick had worked as the CEO of a leadership training organisation, a Regional Director and Principal in the government education service and General Manager of disability services for SCOPE. Nick is also an experienced teacher, beginning his teaching career in Portland, and has taught Accounting, Legal Studies and Economics in several secondary schools as well as lecturing in Accounting at Deakin University.

The Lauriston Institute is responsible for the ongoing professional learning of teaching staff and teacher assistants. Working from the ethos that the quality of teaching has a direct effect on educational outcomes for students, Nick works to ensure that the ongoing professional learning of staff at Lauriston is of the highest level.