Who We Are

Mastery Schools Australia opened its first campus in Varsity Lakes in 2021 to provide a quality educational alternative for students who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from mainstream schooling. At MSA we aim to develop the academic foundations and resilience which allow students to re-enter mainstream education Australia wide.

We offer evidence-based, structured approaches to support learning and development across a range of student needs. We meet students where they are at and ensure they have the proper support and systems to leverage their strengths and potential to accelerate their learning. With campuses located across the east-coast of Australia, we are a Middle School that caters for students from years 4-10.

A wide variety of data indicates that there are a significant number of middle school aged students who have disengaged from mainstream schooling due to learning difficulties. In addition, data from the Grattan Institute suggests that up to 40% of students in Australian schools could be classified as disengaged.

Our emphasis is on exceptional teaching, quality curriculum and programs, and high expectations of students and staff. We believe this focus will produce exceptional results for our students.

Our Vision

Our Vision

For all students to reach their full potential

Our Mission

Our Mission

Providing the highest quality academic and well-being education for all students.

Our Values

Our Values

High Expectations
Personal Responsibility

Executive Team

Andrew Pirie

Principal Varsity Lakes

Ashleigh Mitchell

General Manager - Corporate Services

Fiona O'Donnell

General Manager – People & Culture

Ian Johnson

Principal – Coolangatta

Matt Cavanough

Principal – Southport

Sharyn Angel

Principal – Springfield

Michael Roberts

Managing Director

Toni Hatten-Roberts

Director of Teaching and Learning

Angela Andresen

Angela Andresen has over fifteen years experience working within the Queensland Education Department and is currently working at Queensland State School providing executive level administration support to students and parents whilst overseeing the Human Resources Department. Angela has further experience working as an Education and International Support Officer in both independent and regional offices across Queensland where she worked on a number of national projects. 

Angela has been on the Mastery Schools Australia board since July 2019 where her knowledge in governance and finance provides a wealth of support that contributes to the implementation of essential structures and processes within Mastery Schools Australia.

Cassandra Trapp

Cassandra Trapp is a pre-serving primary P-3 teacher of more than twenty seven years and is currently employed by the Department of Education as a classroom teacher at Broadbeach State School. After completing her Diploma in Primary Education and Early Childhood at the University of Southern Queensland and a Bachelor of Education at Curtin University, Cassandra dedicated her career to bettering education in Queensland with particular focus on the “Early Years.”

Cassandra has worked as a Year 1 Coordinator and a pre-service supervising teacher in addition to over eight years of experience implementing Direct Instruction and Explicit Direct Instruction in the classroom. Cassandra’s Science of Learning knowledge and experience landed her a position on the Mastery Schools Board in June 2020 where she contributes and provides vital insight into the delivery of these programs.

Scott Whiting

Scott Whiting is a world recognised marine conservation scientist who has worked across northern Australia promoting cross sector outcomes by combining conservation, health, education, job pathways and closing the gap concepts. 

In his current role as Principal Research Scientist with the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) he coordinates turtle conservation across WA and leads one of the largest and longest (60 years) environmental offset programs in Australia. 

In the corporate world, Scott has worked in government, university, non-government and private sectors and has been a member in many and varied advisory and decision-making bodies. Scott represented the Australian Government at the 8th Signatory States meeting of the United Nations MOU on sea turtle conservation (IOSEA) in 2019 and at that meeting was voted onto the Scientific Expert Panel. Scott has previously represented the NT Government on various issues and in WA is currently a member on several committees including those advising the WA Environment Minister and Director General of DBCA. 

Scott has worked extensively in remote communities across the NT and WA for over two decades and has worked actively with schools to promote job pathways through conservation initiatives. His current programs have over 50 diverse partners and in recent years leveraged over $13M of additional funds and support. 

Scott is a strategic big-picture thinker and values a good governance, high performance teams, strategic planning, prioritization, cross discipline partnerships and innovative communication to achieve common goals.

Mark Dowley

Dr. Mark Dowley is the Associate Head – Staff Development and Consulting at the Crowther Centre and Adjunct Lecturer at LaTrobe University. He completed his Doctor of Education and Master’s in Education Policy (International) at the University of Melbourne. His role is to drive school improvement, with a specific focus on improving the quality of instruction in the school. 

Mark is an experienced school leader. He has worked across multiple school contexts and now leads the staff development and teaching program at a large independent school. He has experience building successful coaching programs in multiple schools and has received awards for his teaching from VCAA and The Educator Magazine. His professional learning program was also the inaugural recipient of the international ‘Gold Award’ for professional learning and mentoring from Leeds Beckett University and received an excellence award the Australian Education Awards. 

Through his research role in the Crowther Centre, he explores how research can be used to build capacity throughout an organisation and improve outcomes for students and staff. A certified Instructional Coach with the Instructional Coaching Group (USA), Mark consults internationally on staff development, coaching and behaviour management. He also facilitates an Instructional Coaching Network and has been acknowledged for his contributions to multiple books on coaching and staff development. 

Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts is a highly respected school principal in Australia, known for his exceptional leadership and dedication to student success. With over thirty years of experience in the education sector, he has worked tirelessly to create a positive learning environment that fosters academic excellence and personal growth. 

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in education, Michael began his career as a 
teacher before quickly advancing to various leadership roles in schools across Australia and South East Asia. His passion for education and his commitment to empowering students led him to pursue an honours degree in Psychological Science, which he completed in 2016.

Between 2011 and 2017, Michael led Broadbeach State School to amazing results in all areas. This was as a direct result of the adoption of science of learning principles, explicit instruction pedagogy and Direct Instruction programs.

Michael has held national roles, firstly as Executive Director of Schools for Good to Great Schools Australia, then as a panellist for the National Review into Educational Achievement (Gonski 2) and finally as General Manager of Learning Difficulties Australia.

In 2020, Michael decided to synthesise his experiences into the development of a new schooling system to support the many students left behind by mainstream education approaches. From this, Mastery Schools Australia was born. Michael is currently Managing Director of Mastery Schools Australia, Board Member of Science of Teaching and Learning Australia, and Board Member of Men of Business Academy.

Toni Hatten-Roberts​

Toni Hatten-Roberts is one of the most accomplished educators in Australia. This is evidenced by her many achievements and the number of schools and educators that she has influenced during her career. Toni has vast experience in education. She has been a teacher, head of curriculum, education advisor, deputy principal, principal, director of schools and education consultant. She has worked with teachers from over 200 schools. Her focus is on helping teachers incorporate principles from the science of learning into classrooms in order to achieve fantastic results.

In 2016, Toni became the first person outside of the United States to win the National Institute for Direct Instruction Educator of the Year award. Toni was invited to present her research into cognitive load theory at the 2018 Learning Sciences International conference in London. In 2022, Toni was one of twelve educators across Australia to be chosen as Commonwealth Bank Teaching Fellows. This prestigious scholarship included a generous stipend of $25,000 which Toni used to establish the Science of Learning Education Centre at Mastery Schools Australia.

In 2020, Toni decided to synthesise her experiences into the development of a new schooling system to support the many students left behind by mainstream education approaches. From this, Mastery Schools Australia was born. Toni is currently Executive Director of Education at Mastery Schools Australia. Toni has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, and an Honours degree in Social Science (Psychology).