Principal’s Welcome

Principal's photo

Welcome to Lyrebird College!

I am honoured to be the first or foundational principal of Lyrebird College and to be in a position to set the tone and educational opportunities for students in 2021 and the years ahead. My vision and hope for Lyrebird College is to provide an opportunity for students with ASD to be given the education that they deserve and to make certain we cater for the unique individual needs of our students in a safe, nurturing and happy environment.

As Principal I place high importance on educational excellence, on students working towards achieving their goals and for students to experience genuine success and to celebrate their accomplishments. I have a deep belief, that as people we naturally thrive in settings that are inclusive, in classrooms that are cheerful and joyous, where students are active and engaged learners, and an overall feel throughout the college of welcoming warmth and sense of community.

Our College ethos promotes strong home school partnerships, where we collectively strive towards developing a comprehensive Individual Learning Plan that allows for relevant and measurable goals for our students. With a heavy focus on functional literacy and numeracy skills as well as personal and social goals, we will endeavour to meet the needs of our students. Lyrebird College is committed to providing a quality outcome-focused education employing a tailored Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) program.

As an educator I am inspired by the personal achievements of students, I take great delight in celebrating success and viewing students through a positive and admiring lens. In the future I very much look forward to working towards making the hopes and aspirations of our families and students part of the educational programs of Lyrebird College.

Julie Kugler
Principal

Vision Statement

Lyrebird College will pursue excellence in the education of young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Mission Statement

Lyrebird College will:

  • deliver an individualised curriculum that recognises every child’s right to be supported in a joyful and caring learning environment that enables them to meet their full potential.
  • develop and promote good practice amongst professionals and carers in the delivery of the individualised curriculum.
  • promote an understanding of autism in the wider community.

Core Values

  • Learning while happy; happiness through learning.
  • Safety for children; peace of mind for parents.
  • Belief that every individual can learn and has the right to learn.

Our Commitment

  • Continually strive for a deep understanding of each individual student.
  • Celebrate the achievements of our students.
  • Foster and maintain a culture of best practice.
  • Embed a child safe culture so that students feel safe and are safe.
  • Create and nurture a team of the highest quality professionals.
  • Encourage commitment and dedication from our staff.
  • Recognise the skills and strengths of our staff.
  • Seek continuous improvement in all we do.
  • Remain open to the acceptance of new ideas and approaches.
  • Maintain prudent financial and risk management whilst pursuing growth opportunities.
  • Promote constructive involvement within the community.
  • Create positive and beneficial parent-school partnerships. 

Democratic Principles

Lyrebird College is committed to providing an environment which adheres to, and promotes the principles and practice of Australian democracy, including:

  • elected governments
  • rule of law;
  • equal rights of all before the law;
  • freedom of religion;
  • freedom of speech and association; and
  • the values of openness and tolerance.

Governance (Our Board)

Lyrebird college is governed by a group of professionals with proficiency in their respective areas of expertise. The school brings together these experts to ensure all aspects of the school are catered for: financial integrity, educational underpinning, clinically driven and professionally managed. 

Melissa Handbury (Founder): Melissa is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in both private practice and the commercial sector. She has held roles at Ernst and Young and has been the Financial Controller of a NASDAQ listed Australian subsidiary and the Chief Financial Officer of a public unlisted company where her strengths in financial modelling and business management were well utilised. Melissa is committed to her local community and served as the School Council President of her children’s primary school for several years. In this role she was active in implementing programs to provide training, strategies and continual support for teachers of students with challenging behaviours so the school can operate more inclusively and effectively as a learning environment. Melissa is also a current board member of Billanook College and has the strong belief that each child should be given every opportunity to be the best they can.

Garry Embry: Garry retired from the Department of Education and Training (DET) in 2013 after 20 years in the Principal Class as a Regional Network Leader (Eastern Metropolitan Region), Primary School Principal (Badger Creek PS) and Secondary School Assistant Principal (Upper Yarra SC). Garry has continued to work with the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership,  the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority, Our Watch (Respectful Relationships pilot), DET Performance Division (School Review) and as a consultant for individual schools (including specialist schools).  He has a special interest in the strategies that create inclusive school cultures.

Aaron Gleisner: Aaron is a Senior Policy Officer at Bushfire Recovery Victoria. As part of his considerable experience in the government and emergency services, Aaron specialises in project management and business analysis.

Selena Thomas: Selena is an active member of the community who has lived and worked in the Yarra Valley for most of her life. She loves the sense of community the area offers and has developed many strong relationships with local trades, businesses and families. Selena is a mum of two and has firsthand experience with children on the autism spectrum. She understands how ASD can affect family life and education. She has liaised with many health professionals all with the common goal of helping children with ASD achieve their best outcomes. Selena values education and strongly believes that all children deserve the opportunity to learn in a safe and caring environment.  She is keen to see a much needed school like Lyrebird College open in the Yarra Valley area.

Ashlee deRooy: Ashlee is a behaviour specialist with extensive professional experience in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She currently works for the Department of Education and Training in the Capacity Building Team and additionally Facilitates a monthly ABA Therapist Training course with Autism Behavioural Intervention Australia (ABIA). Prior to having her daughter in mid-2019, Ashlee worked privately writing, overseeing and running ABA programs in the home, childcare, kinder, schools and the community. She has a Bachelor of Psychology from Deakin University and a Masters of Education (Applied Behaviour Analysis) from Monash University. She is passionate about education and believes in a future where children on the spectrum and everyone regardless of their neurodiversity can seamlessly integrate into any school of their choosing. In the meantime, Ashlee does what she can in varying capacities to support, train and upskill teachers and school staff to improve integration, and to effectively understand and manage behaviour and skill acquisition, utilising ABA principles.