Our staff are guided by a unique Pembroke staff ethos and code of values and the team is committed to strongly supporting the aims of the School. They value the relationships that they form with students, parents and colleagues.
Each staff member's individuality is valued, knowing that different backgrounds and experiences enrich our School and the experiences of our students. Pembroke regularly advertises positions and welcomes new staff to continue to strengthen the capacity and diversity of our team.
A list of our permanent staff is available in our Staff List.
Biographies of our Pembroke Leadership Team are included below:
Mark Staker (Principal)
Mark commenced as Pembroke Principal in July 2022. In accordance with the School Constitution he is an ex officio non-voting Board Member. Mark is also a member of the four Board appointed committees.
Mark is an experienced educational leader, with undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in English, History, Communications and Educational Leadership. Most recently, Mark was Senior Deputy Principal at Wenona School in North Sydney where he worked closely with the Principal and School Board of Governors on all matters of school leadership and management, with particular emphasis on leading the innovative staff culture of learning.
Throughout Mark’s extensive career he has held many leadership roles across diverse areas such as Student Wellbeing, Professional Learning and Teaching and Learning. He is thoroughly committed to developing a school culture that values relationships and fosters personal excellence through continual improvement within a respectful and caring community.
Mark is passionate about all things Pembroke and is looking forward to advancing the School into the future, and co-designing strategy that supports Pembroke being at the forefront of education and one of Australia’s leading independent schools.
Chris Zielinski (Deputy Principal)
Chris commenced at Pembroke as Deputy Principal in July 2023. Chris has extensive experience in high-performing girls’ and co-educational schools in Victoria and New South Wales. He has held ELC-12 leadership roles, and has experience in pastoral care, department leadership, and co-curricular programs. Most recently, Chris held the role of Deputy Principal (School Operations) at Wenona School in North Sydney. During his time at Wenona, Chris provided high level support and leadership of the Senior Leadership Team. Primarily responsible for the day-to-day running of the School, he led a range of areas including Property & Facilities, House and Co-curricular Programs, domestic and overseas tours, risk management, child safety and major events. In addition to this extensive remit, Chris worked with the Executive Team and Heads of Schools to provide support to the wellbeing, Human Resources and teaching and learning teams.
Chris has taught Physical Education and Health from Reception to Year 12 during his 20-year teaching career. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement) and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from Deakin University, and a Master of Education (Management) from the University of Melbourne. He is also a graduate of the Association of Independent Schools NSW, National Flagship Program. Chris is excited to be joining a community that emphasises the pursuit of quality and excellence across a wide range of academic, co-curricular and service-based programs. He is eager to immerse himself in a school culture that values student participation and involvement as a means of developing resilience and confidence in its students.
Sean Bates (Director of Information and Communication Technology)
Sean joined Pembroke in May 2022 as Director of ICT. Sean has been responsible for advising, guiding and leading IT strategy, architecture, projects and change management for a variety of organisations across a broad range of sectors including retail, government, energy, finance, manufacturing, construction, health and education.
Sean is an advocate of lifelong learning and holds numerous qualifications including an MBA and Graduate Diploma in Project Management. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and currently serves as an non-executive Director for AICSA and Diving SA.
Amanda Bourchier (Director of Community Engagement & Indigenous Education)
Amanda has gained an extensive understanding of Pembroke over more than 30 years. Prior to working at Pembroke, Amanda worked with an international research and marketing company interstate. At Pembroke, Amanda has held the positions of Deputy Head and Acting Head of Girls’ Boarding and she was the inaugural director of the Pembroke School Foundation from 1999 to 2018, helping enable several major capital developments and scholarships. In 2019 Amanda was appointed Director of Indigenous Education and Community Engagement, continuing her work with key supporters of the School, and developing the Indigenous Education program in support of students’ growth as well as engendering a spirit of reconciliation across the School. Amanda is a Fellow of, and an advisor to, the Pembroke Foundation, and a member of the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee at St Mark’s College, Adelaide.
Rebecca Forrest (Dean of Student Wellbeing)
Rebecca commenced at Pembroke in 2018 as Middle School Counsellor and won the position of Head of Social, Emotional and Personal Development in 2020. She has extensive experience in teaching, educational leadership and wellbeing across a range of school sectors in Australia, New Zealand and Germany, including as Assistant Principal of Middle School. Most recently, before commencing at Pembroke, she was Counsellor at Seymour College, ELC to Year 12, for a decade. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Art, a Diploma of Yoga Teaching and Masters of Education Studies specialising in Student Counselling. Rebecca is passionate about the mental health and wellbeing of young people and building a strong school culture of connection and belonging.
Jesseca Geraghty (Director of Admissions)
In late 2023, we welcomed Jesseca as our Director of Admissions at Pembroke. With a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) from the University of South Australia and 13 years’ experience within the independent school sector, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of school admissions and operations.
Jesseca's professional journey provides her with profound insights into the needs and aspirations of families when selecting a school. Through the development and implementation of innovative campaigns, customer-focused initiatives and forward-thinking strategies, Jesseca's mission is to serve our families diligently. Her dedication lies in ensuring that each family feels supported, informed and excited about the exceptional education awaiting them at Pembroke.
Tracy Hillier (Director of People and Culture)
Tracy commenced at Pembroke in 2020 and is responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight to the School’s human resources management for our 320 permanent and contract staff and more than 150 casual staff, including sporting coaches. She leads the School’s recruitment and selection, workforce planning, employee relations and professional development. Tracy has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Master of Human Resource Management, along with several years’ previous experience in human resource management. She is also a Certified Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute. Tracy is an old scholar of Pembroke, having graduated in 2002.
Caroline Kelly (Director of Marketing, Communications and Engagement)
With a passion for storytelling and expertise in education, Caroline is a journalism, marketing and communications professional who commenced at Pembroke in late 2023. After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree through the University of South Australia, she began her career with a coveted Cadetship at the ABC before joining the Seven Network where she spent more than a decade traversing various disciplines including reporting, presenting, producing and news editing, culminating in her appointment as Adelaide’s Deputy News Director. Following her time with Seven, Caroline managed media, engagement and communications for the State Government’s then Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure prior to joining St Peter’s Girls’ School where she served six years as Director of Communications. A firm believer in lifelong education, Caroline completed a Master of Business Administration through RMIT in 2021, and in 2023 became a tutor in Public Relations at the University of South Australia.
Darren Miller (Dean of Administration)
Darren joined Pembroke in 2001 having taught previously in the Catholic sector. Employed as a Chemistry/Science teacher he has since held a range of acting and substantive roles including Senior Tutor, Head of IB and Assistant Head of Senior School prior to commencing as Dean of Administration in 2016. Darren has qualifications in chemistry and education.
Alexandra Piggott (Head of Senior School)
Alexandra commenced at Pembroke in 2005 and manages the busy Girton Campus, site of the Senior School, working with a range of staff and being responsible for 450 students in their final two years of formal education. She is an experienced teacher having worked in the UK, been Chief Assessor for the SACE and an examiner for the IB Diploma Programme. Additionally, she has contributed to textbooks and journals along with serving as the President, Treasurer and Journal Editor of the Geography Teachers’ Association of South Australia. Alexandra has an Honours Degree in Geographical Sciences and Master of Education – Leadership and Management.
Clark Roberts-Thomson (Dean of Studies)
Clark re-commenced at Pembroke in 2020 following previous stints from 2006-09 and 2012-15. Clark oversees the planning and management of Pembroke’s academic program. He has experience in international education in Singapore, the Lutheran sector in addition to the independent education sector. He has held a wide variety of positions including Year 11/12 Coordinator, IB Diploma Coordinator and Assistant Head of Senior School prior to this role as Dean of Studies. Clark has tertiary qualifications in Finance, Economics and Education.
Susie Sadler (Acting Head of Junior School)
Susie has been working in the Pembroke Junior School since 1991 in various roles. After working in a number of other schools, she began as a classroom teacher for Years 3 and 4 at Pembroke, before moving into the Junior School Head of PE and Sport role, followed by the Coordinator of Student Wellbeing role. She then moved into her substantive role as Assistant Head of Junior School (Student Wellbeing).
In her current role as Acting Head of Junior School, Susie values connecting with students and their families, and enjoys working alongside an excellent team of both teaching and professional services staff.
Susie holds a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, and a Graduate Diploma of Educational Leadership. She is currently working towards her Diploma of Counselling. Susie’s two sons, Jonathon (2019) and Nicholas (2021), attended Pembroke.
Carl Salt (Dean of Pembroke Academy)
Carl has been working in the Primary Years education sector since 1991 and commenced his role of Head of Junior School at Pembroke in 2004. In addition to his extensive teaching career, Carl has given generously of his time, expertise and experience to involve himself in the wider educational community. Carl is an active contributor to the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA) and the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA). Carl has a Dip.Teach, BA, MA and MEd. He is also completing a PhD which explores the experiences of following in Senior Leadership Teams.
Kia Sheidow (Head of Middle School)
Kia joined Pembroke as Head of Middle School in 2021 (previously Head of Middle School at Seymour College, Head of Middle School/Acting Deputy Principal at Woodcroft College). In addition to her success as a Head of Middle School, Kia brings many proven strengths and experiences to her role at Pembroke. She is currently completing a Master of Education Studies (Innovation and Change). She is an excellent Design and Technology teacher across Australian Curriculum, IB and SACE and blazed a trail with a number of female colleagues in the early 1990s to teach in the traditionally male-dominated school curriculum area of Technology. She is a Nationally Accredited Assessor in Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL) and can certify and assess teachers in the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher level. Kia is actively engaged in professional associations and, from time to time, specialist committee work. In 2019, Kia won the Adolescent Success - Middle Years Leader of the Year National Award. She holds Australian Sports Commission and South Australian Sports Institute coaching certification for softball, lacrosse and netball having played all these sports at state or club level.
Wendy Wills (Director of Business Operations)
Wendy commenced Pembroke in 2000. She oversees the School’s finance, business, risk, compliance, governance, major projects, ICT and properties services functions. Wendy is Secretary to the School Board, a member of the Board appointed committees and a Foundation Fellow.
Prior to joining Pembroke Wendy worked across manufacturing, banking, finance, housing and multimedia. She has qualifications in economics, finance, investment, management, governance and superannuation. She is currently a Trustee Director of NGS Superannuation, a member of the AISSA Finance Committee and Chair of Kathleen Lumley College Inc. Wendy is a Justice of the Peace (SA) and a fellow of CPA Australia, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Governance Institute.