When Psychology was set to be introduced for the first time as a Senior subject in Queensland, Melissa Alexander saw a need for teachers to collaborate and support each other, leading her to co-found the Psychology Teachers’ Association of Queensland. The Head of House at St John’s Anglican College (SJAC) is known for being involved and leading a dizzying number of programs and initiatives for both students and colleagues. She even took on the lead role in the college’s lip-sync battle in the name of school spirit and collaboration, and to model the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone.
SJAC Innovation Coordinator Nathan King says Melissa is constantly moving from one lesson, activity and club to another—and always effectively.
“She has coordinated every subject she has been asked to teach,” Nathan says.
“This year, on top of everything else she does with her role as Head of House, her work in our Gifted and Talented program and two overseas trips, she managed to co-found the Psychology Teachers’ Association of Queensland to respond to the need for resources, networking and research for teachers tackling the new subject within the Senior Syllabus,” he says. Melissa doesn’t just seek professional development opportunities, she organises them and leads them for others. The History, Legal Studies, Psychology and English teacher ensures that she knows her students and tailors lessons accordingly. Melissa is active in several student clubs, including Leos and a trading card club. She actively engaged with various education and industry leaders associated with the Conrad Challenge Summit at the Kennedy Space Centre—where she co-coached six SJAC students— using the knowledge she learnt from the leaders to develop new initiatives at the college. One of the initiatives implemented following the Conrad Challenge was a 'Toilet Transformation', which she heard about through the UK Professor Stephen Heppell, who spoke at the Summit. Currently, the project is being championed within Queensland by Danielle Miller from Enlighten Education. Together with the Leos Club and a parent, Melissa recently finished her third day of painting the girls' toilets at the school. “She is an integral part of the school community and is often a figure students seek help and advice from, even after graduating,” Nathan says. Congratulations Melissa on your nomination.