Leadership & Governance
School Executive Team
The School Executive Team is responsible for managing the School’s regular business and operations.
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 areas of interest in curriculum and teacher development have led to her participation in a number of peak educational bodies, committees and task forces. She is currently a representative for Asia-Pacific on the IB Heads Council and was awarded a Fellowship with Australian Council for Educational Leaders (VIC) in 2021.
Susan is a member of the Australian Heads of Independent Schools Association and is on the Board of Trustees for the Invergowrie Foundation. Her interest in STEM education for girls has seen the establishment of the School’s digital fabrication lab at Lauriston and the implementation of STEM-based activities from the early primary years, which are designed to positively influence students in developing confidence and skills.
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 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.
Deputy Principal, Head of Senior School
Anne commenced her teaching career at Lauriston Girls’ School in 1995 and returned to Lauriston in 2020 after 14 years away. She is a strong advocate for girls’ education and finds immense satisfaction in working with the articulate, enthusiastic and intelligent students at Lauriston, supporting their development and watching them grow into the young leaders and thinkers of the future.
Anne holds a Bachelor of Commerce, a Graduate Diploma in Education Studies (Women’s Studies), a Graduate Diploma in Education (Economics and Studies of Society and Environment) and a Master’s Degree in School Leadership. She began her professional life working in sales and marketing with a large multinational technology company. Her interest in girls’ education started through her short-term secondment to a university careers department and developed in her post graduate studies. Her teaching methods are Economics (IB and VCE) and Australian History and for several years Anne was also an IB Economics Examiner. Anne particularly enjoys working with senior students and supporting them in their development and preparation for taking their place in the adult world.
In her teaching career, Anne’s notable achievements include instigating a process of continuous review and improvement of student wellbeing programs, chairing a major review of school structures and overseeing multiple IB and VCE VET curriculum reviews.
Anne is a strong advocate for students maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit in order to achieve their best academically and in life. She swims and runs regularly and enjoys competing in open water swimming events over the summer. Anne is especially grateful for family and friends. She has three adult children and recently she and her husband were thrilled to become grandparents to two beautiful baby girls.
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 Master 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.
Dr Alison Manson
Vice Principal, Head of Howqua
Alison joined Lauriston in 2022. Her role is to lead the Howqua management team in decision making and operational matters for Howqua. She is also responsible for collaboratively developing the curriculum, for leading, engaging, inspiring and supporting all Howqua staff, and working closely with the entire Howqua community.
Alison has a Bachelor of Human Movement and Master of Education from the University of Tasmania and a Doctor of Philosophy in the area of Mathematics.
Since 2015, she has held the roles of Head of House, Wellbeing Coordinator and Outdoor Education Coordinator at Fahan School in Hobart, Tasmania. In addition to attending to the wellbeing needs of the girls in her House, Alison had responsibility for the Outdoor Education program from Years 3 to 12 including the Year 9 Lumina experiential learning program and the Outdoor Leadership courses for Years 11 and 12. Alison is also a teacher of Mathematics and has taught at The Friends School in this capacity. Between 2010 and 2014, Alison also held the position of Boarding House Manager at The Friends School where she and her family lived and worked with the boarding students and staff.
Learning and Innovation
Lindy Grahn has extensive experience in education and has held positions of leadership in both independent and international schools. Over the course of her career, she has held curriculum and pastoral leadership roles, including VCE Coordinator at Fintona Girls’ School, Senior School Mathematics Coordinator at MLC and Head of Year at the Australian International School in Singapore. Most recently, Lindy was appointed Coordinator of Curriculum and Teaching at our Howqua campus before taking on the role of Assistant Principal – Learning and Innovation at the Armadale campus.
Lindy has extensive expertise in curriculum development – she has been involved in writing VCE and IB Mathematics courses and is currently an examiner for IB Mathematics. Lindy has also been a teacher of IB and VCE Mathematics courses for many years. As a leader in pedagogy, Lindy has always endeavoured to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. She has been successful in managing change and leading her teams to the best educational outcomes. Lindy considers it a privilege to lead and teach at Lauriston and to be involved in helping each student achieve her potential. She is inspired by the Lauriston Mission and believes that our young women are given the skills and confidence to go out and shape their world.
Lindy holds a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics and Psychology), a Bachelor of Arts (English and Swedish) and a Diploma in Education from The University of Melbourne. She has also completed a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Monash University.
Assistant Principal – Junior School (Curriculum and Learning)
Kate Hehir is a passionate Junior School educator with over 25 years’ experience in teaching, both in Australia and in the United Kingdom. She has taught at Lauriston for over 10 years and has held the positions of Year 3, 4 and 6 Classroom Teacher, Reporting Coordinator, Director of Curriculum and, most recently, Assistant Principal – Junior School (Curriculum and Learning). Kate has a Bachelor of Arts in Education, a Bachelor of Education (Deakin University) and a Masters in School Leadership (Monash University).
Kate is passionate about working with other educators to enhance and embed innovative curriculum, assessment and reporting practices aligned with current best practice. She is excited by the opportunities the Lauriston Fabrication Lab allows for technology to be integrated authentically into the curriculum and is dedicated to designing learning experiences that encourage girls to be courageous, creative, imaginative, curious and resilient. Kate has been a leader of Lauriston’s Cultures of Thinking group, improving teaching and learning using instructional rounds and employing visible thinking routines across the School. She was awarded Lauriston’s Sun Bursary to participate in the Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute 2017 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to further her studies on Cultures of Thinking. A member of the School’s Executive, Kate is dedicated to the successful implementation of the Strategic Plan.
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 Master of Business Administration.
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.
Download our latest annual report and strategic plan
Lauriston Girls’ School is administered by a Council, comprised mostly of parents, former School parents, or Old Lauristonians. The role of the School Council is to oversee and maintain the long-term viability of the School as a provider of primary and secondary education of the very highest standard.
Learn more about the results of the School and the work of the Council in the Annual Report and Strategic Plan.