Staff

PRINCIPAL
Michelle Hornery
Diploma Teaching (Primary);
Graduate Diploma Arts


My name is Michelle Hornery, and I am the founder of Pinnacle Academic College. I am a Registered Queensland Teacher with over 30 years of experience teaching in Catholic, Anglican and State Schools in NSW and QLD. I am Primary Trained with added Studies in The Arts and have taught Performing Arts to all year levels from Prep/Kindergarten to Year 12 and been the head of a Distance Education unit for Years Prep-Year 12. I also worked with Senior Phase Students in this time and am currently co-ordinating a Secondary Pathways Program for students in Years 11-12
I developed the first Multi-Age primary classroom in NSW across 4-year levels (years 3, 4, 5, and 6) in 1996, based on students working independently and in small groups in a peer tutoring arrangement. Students learnt without the boundaries of year levels, and students in Year 6 who were ready were progressed to year 7 and 8 classrooms for particular subjects they excelled at or had an interest in.
I have worked in Distance Education for five years and taught my children at home for over 21 years (successfully Graduating my daughter into Tertiary Studies).
I have also worked as an Education Consultant for a number of current Distance Education and On-Campus Schools in Qld.
I have mentored hundreds of families who have chosen to educate their children in their homes.
So my experience across all aspects of Education is extensive.
I love the Australian Curriculum and the flexibility it provides for students to achieve what is required of them in the way that best suits their learning style.
I encourage and foster a Pastoral and Student-Centred approach to learning where the student's needs are paramount and the main focus for the education program they are working within.
I am passionate about and committed to supporting families with disenfranchised students. I believe that with the right staff and the right programs in a positive and supportive environment, we can uplift and encourage these families, and I am committed to doing this at Pinnacle Academic College in both the On-Campus and Distance Education programs.
My particular passion is within the Performing Arts, and I have experienced how a flourishing Performing Arts Program in a school benefits every student across all Learning Areas.
Pinnacle Academic College (under the Working Name of Akademeia Ltd) was conceived over 14 years ago, and I am excited to see it come to fruition in July 2020 finally.

Image of Principal

Photo Credit: Alison McColl

PRIMARY TEACHER 

Alisha Smith

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary)

My name is Alisha Smith, and I completed my Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) degree at ACU. My first year of teaching was in Longreach, Central Queensland. After gaining knowledge in my two years out in Central Queensland, I travelled to the United Kingdom and worked in London as a teacher.

I am passionate about giving children the education they deserve, no matter how it is delivered. I firmly believe that every person is unique and learns at different speeds with many different learning styles.

Primary Teacher Alisha Smith
Primary Teacher Kimberley Leadbetter

PRIMARY TEACHER

Kimberley Leadbetter

Master of Teaching (Primary)

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Hello! My name is Kim, and I look forward to being a part of your family’s Pinnacle Academic College experience. I studied a Master of Teaching (Primary), with a specialization in teaching science. Before beginning my teaching journey, I completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours), majoring in Marine Biology and Conservation. I subsequently spent several years working for the local government, educating the community about local laws and environmental compliance. My decision to become a primary school teacher was inspired by a love of learning and an innate desire to help young people develop into happy, knowledgeable, and productive adults.
I am passionate about inclusive education and strongly believe that every student is capable of success. Importantly, I do not define success solely by academic achievement, rather by the student’s ability to achieve, set goals and confidently demonstrate resilience, independence, and creative problem-solving. I have experience working with students in Kindergarten to Year 8 and enjoy using the natural environment to encourage play-based and inquiry-based learning.

 

PRIMARY TEACHER

Teneika Hogan

Bachelor Primary Education

Graduate Certificate Inclusive Education

HI! My name is Teneika Hogan, and I completed my Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2019. I am also currently studying a Masters of Education (Guidance and Counselling) through the University of Southern Queensland. 
I have experience working with students in special needs, mainstream and independent schools. I believe that teaching is one of the most important careers one can have, as it is the teacher's responsibility to help students grow and develop into capable and intelligent individuals. The foundation of my pedagogical belief is equity: all children are different and need to be treated as such. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to encourage this by creating a positive and supportive learning environment that encourages ALL students to develop cognitively, socially, and emotionally. 
I look forward to meeting the Pinnacle family and joining you on your children's educational journey. 

Primary Teacher Teneika Hogan

PRIMARY TEACHER

Danny Buikstra

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Education (Primary)

Hi, my name is Danny, and I am a new graduate of Southern Cross University, where I completed my Bachelor of Arts/Education (Primary).
I began forming my teaching career in 2017 after spending over eight years as a chef. I believe that education should allow all students to express their creativity and personality through their learning journey and shouldn’t be restrained within the walls of a classroom.
I have experience teaching, entertaining and caring for all ages of students from Prep to Year 6 and enjoy all the interesting ideas that can float around from the wide range of students’ backgrounds. My pedagogical belief is formulated by having every student feel heard and safe while including families and the community in the learning process.
I look forward to working together with the parents and Pinnacle staff to assist all students in achieving their goals.

WELLBEING DOG

Pinnie

Bachelor of Being a Dog

Advanced Diploma in Being Cute

Hi, my name is Pinnie.
I am a Groodle and currently weigh around 2.5 kg.
My birth date is 18th May 2021.
I have settled in very easily to my new home. I am a very friendly and relaxed puppy in general but really enjoy being cheeky. I love chewing and playing fetch and especially LOVE tummy scratches. My favourite toy is a purple dog that smells like lavender.
I have started to learn a few basic things like how to sit and lay down and to come when called. It will take lots of practice though, I think.
I am looking forward to starting work at the Pinnacle Academic College and learning the things I need to enable me.
I can't wait to meet everyone!

Administration and Performing Arts Aide Michael Enright

TEACHERS AIDE & ADMINISTRATION

Micheal Enright

Advanced Diploma of Musical Theatre and Commercial Dance

Hi! My name is Micheal Enright, but please call me Mickey!
You will usually find me in the office doing administration, teacher aide on Thursday PA days, and various singing and music instructing roles.
I have over 15 years of experience in the performing arts, 10+ years performing myself, and a combined four years of training in the performing arts.
I completed my Advanced Diploma of Musical Theatre and Commercial Dance in 2018 and have been training casually ever since.
I am passionate about working with children in all aspects of the performing arts. It is my personal belief that the arts have such a unique way of unlocking potential and freeing individuals from one-way thinking and a fatalistic frame of mind.
Having been a part of this program myself from age 10-15, I can attest to its success and efficiency; they are still some of my most fond memories from childhood. I'm blown away by the opportunity to hopefully be a part of said memories for all of your children now that I am an adult.

BUSINESS MANAGER

Rhiannon Dormer

Diploma of Business

Hey! My name is Rhiannon, just like the Fleetwood Mac song.
I started working at a school office in NSW when I was just 20 and spent two years soaking up as much knowledge as possible.
Here I set myself the goal that I wanted to be a Business Manager before I turned 30. 

After that, my partner enlisted in the Army, so I briefly moved to Melbourne. I started studying for my Diploma of Business and working in finance at a school with almost three thousand students, which was a tremendous learning experience. I was able to grow confidence in my skills.
I am deeply passionate about helping people grow to believe in themselves, reach their potential and be genuinely happy. Compassion is my favourite virtue and one I try to practice each day.

Here I am in my dream job at Pinnacle Academic College and loving every minute of it!

2.jpg

PERFORMING ARTS INSTRUCTOR & ADMINISTRATION

Taylah McLennan

​Hello, my name is Taylah, and I am the drama and musical theatre instructor here at PAC!
After studying Musical Theatre for two years full-time in Brisbane and achieving a diploma, I’ve been a part of numerous exciting projects in various capacities. I’ve personally performed in multiple musicals, including ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘Be More Chill’ and ‘Jersey Boys’, whilst also being cast as the dance captain.
I’ve had various professional contracts with Movieworld and Seaworld, performing in such events as ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Fright Night’, and have also been lucky enough to be on set as an extra in NBC’s TV show ‘Young Rock’.
I’ve also recently choreographed a production of ‘School of Rock’, ‘Timeless’ (a cabaret-style Rock show that I also performed in), both at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre. I am currently working as the Assistant Director for Ipswich Musical Theatre’s production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.
I’m so excited to be able to share my love of the creative arts with such incredible students and peers!

PERFORMING ARTS INSTRUCTOR

Lyndon Steele

Hi! My name is Lyndon. I am a contracting choreographer and dance instructor, sitting tight until moving to Sydney in 2022 to study a Diploma of Musical Theatre at Australia's renowned dance studio, Brent Street. I am trained in contemporary and jazz dance and classical and music theatre voice through Grace Academy.
I've choreographed classic and modern musical works such as Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr (MBYTC 2020), Heathers: High School Edition (MBYTC 2021), Legally Blonde Jr (ROAR Academy 2021), and Elf the Musical, PAC's 2020 end of year performance.
My most commendable performing credits include Joey Pesci in Jersey Boys; Bobby Child in Crazy For You; Ernst Robel in Spring Awakening, and Simon in Lord Of the Flies.
I've had my diligence recognised by accolades featuring: the Andrea Harper trophy and bursary for service through dance (Grace Academy 2020); nominated best actor & best-supporting actor in Lord of the Flies (Gold Palm Awards 2020); and academic excellence, runner-up grace artiste and first in the subject (DUX) for music and music extension (Grace Lutheran College 2020).
I competed nationally for troupe dance and ensemble singing, placing 1st & highly commended at DanceLife Unites Sydney Nationals (2016 & 2019), and highly commended at AUSACA's Melbourne A Capella Nationals (2019).
After garnering plentiful training and knowledge through all the forms of performing arts, my specialty and favourite is dance.
Not only do I get to share my passion at PAC, but I also get to expand my network to like-minded, passionate and artistic teachers and families.

Performing Arts Instructor Lyndon Steele
Performing Arts Instructor Emma Stephensen

PERFORMING ARTS INSTRUCTOR

Emma Stephensen

Diploma of Auslan

Hello! My name is Emma Stephensen, and I am the Auslan instructor at PAC. I was born profoundly deaf and learnt to both sign and speak. I completed a Diploma of Auslan in 2020 and worked as an Auslan Language Model at another school. I hope to get into University next year and become a Teacher of the Deaf. In my spare time, I love to go hiking, do marathons and spend time with my beautiful Golden Retriever, Daisy.
I love seeing the children learn Auslan and watching them grow, learning my language and culture. They are making a difference in our lives and community. I have so much passion to share with the students and
I am looking forward to working with Pinnacle Academic College and the wonderful team.

PERFORMING ARTS INSTRUCTOR

Tallis Tutunoa

Diploma of Audio Engineering and Sound Production

Hey friends! My name is Tallis Tutunoa, and I am a Music Performing Arts Instructor here at PAC. I am so glad to be able to share and live my passions at the college.
When I was 19 years old, I graduated from JMC Academy in Brisbane with a Diploma of Audio Engineering and Sound Production. I have since been heavily involved in the Musical Theatre scene performing and instructing in the production teams. Some of my credits include Spring Awakening (Ilse), Honk (Lowbutt) and most recently, my first professional show, Once on This Island (Storyteller).
Since the beginning of 2021, I have started hosting private singing and guitar lessons, which I enjoy so much! I have also been hired as a regular performer for Josh Daveta Productions and as an accompanist for Garret Lyon, a Professional performer based in QLD.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Pinnacle and the children here as well. I look forward to giving them my knowledge of music and sharing why the arts are so important!
If you see me around PAC, don’t forget to say hey!

TEACHERS AIDE

Piper Hadfield

Hey, Hey, Hey! My name is Piper, and I am a Teacher Aide at PAC. I am currently completing my last year of school through the distance education system.
I started distance education in 2018, and it has been an amazing experience. I believe every person deserves a good and healthy environment and a powerful education while going through 12 years of school. I am so grateful to be a part of such an adventure here at PAC! I started working at PAC in the second term of 2021 on a Thursday to see if I would love a job as a teacher, it came to the end of term 2, and I went full time.
I have never been so happy to work at any job till now. I cannot wait to see what happens next! If you see me walking by, feel free to strike up a conversation or even to say hi! Hope to see you around!

TEACHERS AIDE, ADMIN & FIRST AID OFFICER

Sigrid Muller

My name is Sigrid, and I am one of the teacher aides, first aid officer and administration staff at PAC. 

I have a diploma in Childcare and Education and have 23 years of experience working with children of all ages and with additional needs in education, care and support work roles.

I am a mother to three beautiful children who have been a part of this program for most of their education and are almost all grown up now!

I am dedicated to supporting children in developing a love of learning and celebrating their interests and strengths. I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the students and families at Pinnacle.