STEM Industry School Partnerships

Engage. Inspire. Develop. Cultivate.

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Our Team

Dr Scott Sleap

STEM Project Advisor 7 – 12 (SEO 2) | Curriculum Secondary Learners | Educational Standards Directorate

Dr Scott Sleap led the development of the STEM Industry School Partnerships program for the NSW Department of Education in 2017. He is currently a STEM Project Adviser for the Educational Standards Directorate, where he is responsible for the coordination of the program. Regarded as a visionary educator he was the first Technology teacher to win the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence for Secondary Science Teaching. In 2020 Dr Sleap was again recognised with a National Commonwealth Bank Teaching Fellowship. Previously he was awarded the title of National Teacher of the Year by the Australian Design and Technology Teachers Association (DATTA) and was inducted as one of only three national DATTA patrons. In 2019 he was appointed as a Cyber Security Ambassador for the NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node.

Matt Scott

STEM Coordinator (PEO) | Curriculum Secondary Learners,  | Educational Standards Directorate

Matt leads the NSE Department of Education’s secondary Science, Mathematics, TAS and STEM curriculum support teams. These teams are based in Parramatta, consisting of advisors and officers based around NSW. They lead secondary syllabus implementation through the provision of professional support to teachers, schools and networks. The teams also lead curriculum priorities and initiatives in their KLAs and provide high level and strategic curriculum policy advice to the Department and the Secretary along with other parts of the NSW Government, including the Minister and Premier. These teams provide direct support to the STEM Industry School Partnership program and the Academies of STEM Excellence through expert curriculum and pedagogy advice. 

Heather Laverick

STEM K-6 Advisor | Curriculum Early Years and Primary learners (SEO2)

Heather is the Primary Curriculum STEM Advisor for NSW Department of Education. Prior to this role, she was the STEM Project Officer for the Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence, a STEM Industry School Partnerships Academy based in Northern NSW. It is through this project that she worked on the implementation and delivery of high-quality professional learning to support teachers to meaningfully embed STEM across all subject areas. Heather has a passion for innovative teaching and learning and a particular interest in engaging students through inquiry and project-based learning. She has extensive experience as a teacher, small schools principal and academic and is currently developing and co-leading integrated projects to deliver innovative STEM curriculum programs across NSW.

Ian Preston

Deputy Principal - NSW Virtual STEM Academy 
 STEM Project Officer (SPO) - Murrumbidgee Academy of STEM Excellence 

Ian is Deputy Principal NSW Virtual STEM Academy and Riverina STEM Project Officer (SPO) based at Murrumbidgee Regional High School in Griffith NSW. Ian has a Bachelor of Education (Hons) Industrial Arts Technology from the University of Newcastle. Ian began teaching in 1991 and enjoyed 24 years experience as a Head Teacher prior to his involvement in the SISP Program in 2019. He was born in the Riverina and has worked and lived in the Riverina since 2000. Ian has previously been at the forefront of innovative programs including being the first Head Teacher of the Lachlan Access Program (LAP) in the early 1990’s, which used technology to deliver senior curriculum to students in the communities of Ungarie, Quandialla, Lake Cargelligo and Condobolin. The LAP is still in operation in 2021.

Nikyetta Pencheff 

STEM Project Officer - Central Coast Academy of STEM Excellence

Nikyetta Pencheff, a TAS and VET high school teacher of 16 years with the Department of Education, works closely with the school executive and teachers to identify and plan for STEM learning opportunities tailored to each SISP school’s needs. Nikyetta, has worked effectively with the Industry Liaison Officer to build positive relationships with local industry representatives and key stakeholders. These relationships have enabled the collaborative design, planning and development of equity-based STEM units of work for both the Academy and NSW state wide use, resulting in real world and skill-based project opportunities for school communities. Nikyetta is a diverse leader who coordinates curriculum initiatives, customises professional learning events and tailors STEM activities to support all schools participating in the Academy through the application of SISP initiatives and CCASE key program objectives.

Russ Taunton

STEM Project Officer - Illawarra Academy of STEM Excellence

Russ has been an educator within the primary, secondary and corporate sectors for the past 23 years. He has worked in a range of roles as a teacher, executive and principal across metropolitan, rural, regional and remote schools based in the Kimberley region of WA. Most recently, Russ has led a Digital Technologies and STEM program across K-6 transitioning design thinking processes into high school. Russ has recently taken on the role as STEM Project Officer, IASE in June 2022. He is focussed upon linking school based curriculum initiatives to a wide range of industry experiences aligning to the SISP program and IASE key objectives.


Shane Dryden

STEM Project Officer - Hunter Academy of STEM Excellence

Shane has been a Science educator in several schools across the Newcastle and Port Stephens areas and is now based out of Maitland Grossmann High School in the Hunter Valley. Shane has experience teaching core Science 7-10, HSC Physics & Biology as well as in the Support Unit teaching Science with a project-based learning approach to students with diverse physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities. He holds a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching (Science) (Honours) from the University of Newcastle. Shane has lived and worked in Newcastle and the Hunter his whole life and is invested in providing learning opportunities to both teachers and students in the region. He has recently taken on the role of STEM Project Officer in July 2022 and is working with partner primary and secondary schools to form partnerships to provide engaging STEM activities, implement professional learning and revise STEM curriculum. 


Karen Ramsay

STEM Project Officer (Primary Education) - Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence

Karen Ramsay started with RASE in early 2021. She comes to the role of STEM Project officer from the position of Teacher Librarian at Lismore Public School. Karen graduated from Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Education (Honours) and holds a Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) from Charles Sturt University. She has extensive experience teaching students from K-6 as both a classroom teacher and specialist teacher. Developing students’ curiosity and love of learning is a particular passion of hers. She has successfully developed and run a range of gifted and talented, and extension programs for students, embedding STEM and inquiry-based learning across a range of learning areas. A strong desire to build teacher capacity and confidence to increase student engagement, outcomes and aspiration in STEM fields underpins her enthusiasm for this role in the Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence. 

Zane van den Berg

STEM Project Officer (Secondary Education) - Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence

Zane was the Head Teacher Science at The Rivers Secondary College, Kadina High Campus. He has a Bachelor of Science (1st Class Honours) from Griffith University and a Graduate Diploma in Education from Southern Cross University. Zane began teaching in 2004 in Brewarrina. He then moved back to his home town of Lismore in 2008. Zane has 10 years’ experience as Head Teacher and has a long history of coordinating Gifted and Talented programmes in various forms. He implemented an integrated STEM course into the curriculum for students in the Enrichment class at Kadina High Campus, and has developed and delivered a year 9 enrichment programme “STEM Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. In 2020, Zane joined the SISP program as a STEM project officer in the Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence (RASE). His work with RASE has focused on embedding the STEM Design Thinking Process across the curriculum in both primary schools and high schools as a strategy to develop key skills of the students in those schools.

Mark Wiggins

STEM Project Officer (Secondary Education) - Coastal Academy of STEM Excellence

Mark has taught Industrial Arts in NSW and QLD schools for 23 years. He founded the Coastal Academy of STEM Excellence in 2021, and also works as Head Teacher of Industrial Arts and Computing Studies at Kingscliff High School. Mark has a Bachelor of Technology Education from Griffith University, and received honorary membership in the Golden Key National Honour Society for his high GPA. He has always had a strong passion for STEM, engineering and engaging students in technology. Mark managed the first NSW winning team in the 24Hr Fraser Coast Technology Challenge. He has continued this passion establishing a Coastal Learning Community STEM Coordinator Team and running interschool activities prior to joining the SISP Program. Mark has invested significant time establishing a Makespace Facility at his current school with Laser Cutters, 3D Printers, Robotics and drones to name a few. He has continued this work to support local school on the journey to deliver cross-curricular learning opportunities and resources integrating the iSTEM Process.

Liz Edwards

STEM Project Officer (Primary Education) - Coastal Academy of STEM Excellence

Liz is the Primary Project Officer for the Coastal Academy of STEM Excellence on the Far North Coast and a Stage 3 classroom teacher. With a Bachelor of Film and Media (Griffith University) and a Bachelor of Education (Charles Sturt University), she had an extensive career in the Film Industry before pursuing a teaching career in 2006.  With her passion for visual literacy, Liz has inspired many primary students with all elements of filmmaking.  She has successfully developed and incorporated STEM initiatives into her classroom pedagogy and schools through robotics, Makerspace, inquiry learning and HPGE challenges.  With a focus on expanding STEM opportunities for more staff and students, Liz is working with local schools to establish common learning goals and experiences that are inclusive of local industry partnerships.


Warren Reynolds

STEM Project Officer - Hastings Academy of STEM Excellence

Warren Reynolds is the STEM Project Officer (SPO) for the Hastings Academy of STEM Excellence based in Port Macquarie. He has a Bachelor of Engineer Degree from Newcastle University and comes to the SISP team from outside of the educational sector.  He ran his own IT and Custom Electronics business for 15 years in country NSW and has recently returned to the educational sector teaching various courses including Advanced PLC's, Programming and subjects from the Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering and Electrotechnology courses at TAFEs across NSW. He has mentored Australian champion robotics teams that have represented Australia at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Houston USA. His has a passion for robotics with a focus on emerging technologies including AI and Vision processing. He plans to accelerate the growth of potential student engineers through developing programs that bring industry experience into the classroom in a skills for solution based approach to learning with collaboration and critical thinking at the core.

Ken McKenzie

STEM Project Officer - Crookwell Academy of STEM Excellence

Ken was the relieving Head Teacher Science, STEM and Agriculture at Mulwaree High School in Goulburn.  Ken began teaching in 2015 in the NSW Southern Inland region after graduating with a Masters of Secondary Teaching from UNE.  Ken has had considerable experience coordinating and designing STEM programmes in various forms. He implemented an integrated STEM course into the curriculum for students in Stage 4 and has developed and delivered stage 5 STEM elective programmes.  Ken retrained as a teacher after many years working to develop opportunities and specific commercial projects in the Australian Internet industry. He has recently taken on the role of STEM Project Officer in August 2021 and is working with partner primary and secondary schools to form partnerships to implement professional learning and revise STEM curriculum.