Staff members Steve Andrew, Tom Ashton, Richard Bouvier, Dean Dell'Oro, Geoff Hunter and Paul Rettke have all left Geelong Grammar School this year after long periods of dedicated service.

Steve Andrew

Steve arrived at Corio in 1992, after three years at Timbertop, to become Head of Barrabool House. With him came his wife Judy, twin boys Michael and Peter, and third son, David. 1993 saw the arrival of daughter, Erin. Barrabool was not simply a boarding House but a home and his family was an integral part of the Barrabool community. His time in Barrabool was marked by a desire for the boys to develop an appreciation for the talents and differences of those within the House. Steve’s genuine interest in each boy’s wellbeing and the respectful way he dealt with the boys, in both good and trying times, meant that this goal was achieved.

At the end of 1996, Steve, true to his adventurous spirit, took three years leave to work at United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland. During this time, his family explored many parts of southern Africa and they developed many lifelong friendships. Steve also taught the IB which proved to be most helpful for its introduction at GGS.

Returning in 2000, Steve became a tutor in Cuthbertson House. Steve focused his attention on his teaching of mathematics. As with all that Steve does, central to his teaching were the students and the relationships that he wanted to develop with them as he felt without this, their progress would be hampered. This continued to be the case throughout his time teaching mathematics, where his students saw him as a master of the craft of teaching. His mathematical knowledge saw him appointed as Deputy Chief Examiner for IB Mathematics HL. Regardless of whether Steve was teaching Year 12 IB Mathematics HL or Year 10 Foundation Mathematics, every student knew he cared intensely about their progress. A past student reflected that, “Steve would take time out of his day to make sure each of his students understood the content that he was teaching.”

Steve was the CRA president in 2002 and 2003 before being appointed Director of Co-curriculum in 2004. During this time, he was the School’s APS delegate. He also oversaw the Sports Review and the design of the Handbury Wellbeing Centre. Steve coached Athletics for 25 years focusing on middle distance running. He was TIC of Athletics on a number of occasions. Other sporting involvement included basketball and tennis.2007 saw Steve appointed as Head of Fraser House, a position he would hold for ten years. Through this time, Steve’s calm, caring and approachable nature ensured that dignity was central in all that he did. An acceptance and celebration of idiosyncrasy in others and oneself meant that Fraser students felt a strong connection to all in the House. Steve was a predictable presence within the House, joining in the incidental courtyard games as well as many conversations. This enabled him to develop an intimate knowledge of each Fraser student and all felt valued and trusted. It was a place they could be their true selves as they were welcomed, safe and connected.

The introduction of Positive Psychology to GGS in 2008 was seen by many as a natural fit for the School. This was most certainly the case for Steve. He has always been a teacher of people, not just academic content. The added dimensions of the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of a person are most important for him. In 2009, he undertook Pos Ed facilitator training with University of Penn, and later was invited to University of Penn for master training with Marty Seligman and Karen Reivich. Steve has been a senior trainer and presenter with the Institute of Positive Education ever since. Whilst he will no longer be a teacher at GGS, he will continue as a lifelong educator through his involvement with Positive Education.

We thank Steve for his many significant contributions over his 22 years at Corio and wish him and his family all the best for the next chapter in their lives.

Michael Hutley

Tom Ashton

Where do you start when reflecting on the achievements of Tom Ashton during his time at Geelong Grammar School? Do you start with the 15 years of running Barwon House, or 11 years as TIC of Athletics, or 13 years as a tutor in Cuthbertson House, or just with the sheer fact that Geelong Grammar has been privileged to have his services for an outstanding 39 years? If we choose to start from the beginning, we would be taken back to the summer of 1978 when both Sally-Anne and Tom were appointed by Charles Fisher to teach Physical Education, Tom at Corio and Sally-Anne at the Highton campus.

Tom was a fastidious classroom teacher of Physical Education. In Years 7 and 8 Physical Education, while most staff did not set prep, Tom always did and he was notorious for chasing up students who had not done their prep to a high enough standard. One was always able to hear Tom teaching from great distances. His class instruction was both loud and unwaveringly energetic, be it demonstrating how to throw a ball, how to hurdle or how to sprint properly. Students certainly appreciated his ability to demonstrate with extreme proficiency all aspects of Physical Education and there have been few to rival the effort he dedicated to his craft. Tom’s contribution to APS sport at GGS is of epic proportions, including TIC of Cricket, 1979 and 1980; TIC of Football, 1987 to 1994; Assistant Coach 1st XV111, 1984 to 1986; Coach 1st XV111, 1987 to 1989; Coach Middle Distance Squad, 1979 to 2015; TIC of Athletics, 1991 to 2001; and Secretary of the John Landy Club, 1981 to 1994. While reading Tom’s contributions to sport at Geelong Grammar, one would be forgiven for thinking that is all he had to give. However, I believe that it is actually Tom’s contributions to the Pastoral Care of students which has been his greatest achievement.

He started as a House tutor in Barwon House throughout 1978 to 1980, and then moved to House tutor in Cuthbertson House from 1981 until 1994 under Rob Wakefield. Tom returned to Middle School in 1995 as Acting Head of Barwon House and Head in the following year. He remained Head of Barwon House for 14 years until 2010. In that time, he even became the Coordinator the Middle School during 1997. I was lucky enough to work with Tom for seven years at Barwon House. All Tom’s incredible energy was unleashed on the Barwon boys every day- be it early morning runs, camps at Portsea, late night dorm raids, games of spot light, water bomb fights, cooking pizzas in the wood fire or the epic end of term celebrations after all other students had left. Tom always placed the boys in his care first, treating them like an extension of his very own family. His passion and wisdom allowed him to care for the boys so that they would grow into very fine men.

A large part of Tom’s success at running Barwon House was Sally-Anne’s contribution. It was a true partnership. A testament to the relationships that Tom formed with the boys was the sheer numbers of Barwon boys who would return to Barwon at the end of Year 12 to thank him for what he had done and often they left with a tear in their eyes. In Tom’s final years at the School, he worked as the Head of Strength and Conditioning. He revelled in the new Handbury Centre for Wellbeing gym and, under his tutelage, the numbers of students utilising the facilities grew exponentially. Tom knew students by name and greeted them enthusiastically when they entered the gym. He was always on hand to help them as much or little as they wanted. At the Rowing Luncheon at the end of the season, each crew always thanked ‘Asho’ and credited their success to the help he gave them in the gym. Many people may not know that Tom was instrumental in starting the John Landy Club Triathlon, which is held annually on Family Day. He also worked under David Parker on the initial organizing committee of the Lorne 160, and has supported participants in this outstanding event each year since then. Tom is loved by all, and what I mean by this is that he knows every cleaner, cook, gardener, student teacher, gappie and maintenance person by name - and details about their life. He would drop anything and offer to help, even if this made him late for his next appointment. In Tom’s eyes, the most important person is the person he is with at the time. This type of behaviour would be the reason why he received the loudest applause I have ever heard at the 2013 Christmas Luncheon when he was acknowledged for his 35 years of service by the Principal.

Tom’s family was an important aspect of his time at Geelong Grammar. His two children attended the school from Prep to Year 12. Joanne was House Captain of Clyde and Nick was House Captain of Perry. Sally-Anne will also certainly be missed as she was instrumental in the running and organising of the School orientation program for overseas students. The Ashton home was always a welcoming place and Sally-Anne was instrumental in making new staff feel welcome and bringing together the community. Tom’s dedication to each of his responsibilities within the School over his 39 years was all-consuming. He simply never gave a job less than 100% and time was never an issue. Students and staff involved in his sporting teams, classes and boarding houses could not help but respond by working hard to live up to the levels of commitment and passion that were role modelled so perfectly by Tom. He is one of those very special educators whom Geelong Grammar School has been privileged to have during its 163-year history.

Shem Fitzgerald


Richard Bouvier

Richard is a sort of GGS all-rounder and has had an extensive connection with the School. He first arrived at GGS in 1967 as a 12-year-old student from Morwell. He entered Barrabool House in Year 9 before attending Timbertop (which was then Year 10).

Being a country boy, he loved the outdoors and soon excelled in cross-country running and hiking. He did well academically in all subjects and some of his artwork is still in the Archive centre there. He represented A unit (along with Simon Madin) to win the unit hiking competition. Returning to Corio, he went into Cuthbertson House, in the footsteps of his father and two uncles. He enjoyed being a Sergeant in Cadets and won the 300 yard House Shoot. He began his well-known love of golf on the School’s 9-hole golf course and was also in the 1st Tennis Team. Being young, he did two years of Year 12 with a broad mix of the Sciences and Humanities. This suggests that Richard’s love of learning and desire to understand all things were firmly entrenched from a young age.

He left GGS the year before the first girls were enrolled. After travelling overseas extensively, Richard started his teaching career at Alexandra High School, where he met his wife, Lynette. He taught in Vancouver for a year, then had four years at Yea before joining the GGS staff in 2001 as a Mathematics teacher – despite being a Physics teacher. He was a valuable member of the Maths department and taught the range of courses offered.

Richard was a committed teacher who cared deeply about his students and their learning. His prodigious general knowledge and ability to present complex material in a straight forward and logical way ensured that his classes were interesting and most effective. It was not long before he also took over coaching and managing the Boys’ 1st Tennis Team and he had considerable success with the Girls’ 2nd Soccer Team.Richard thoroughly enjoyed working as a tutor in Francis Brown, Manifold and Perry Houses as well as being the Assistant Head of House in Perry for six years. He thrived on seeing his students try their best and warmly encouraged them to do so.

Richard enjoyed his time on staff and made many great friends. In particular, he continues to be an integral part of a staff bridge group where, with his mental dexterity and excellent bridge skills, he has attempted to enhance the talents of the other players. His quick sense of humour enables him to tolerate some most interesting bids and plays. He will enjoy semi-retirement, focusing on further travel, bridge and, of course, golf. No doubt, he will work hard to bring his handicap back to below 8.

Claire Dowley


Dean Dell'Oro

The Head of Corio role is special - demanding, full on, but special. Being immersed in the day-to-day running of a complex campus that caters for close to 650 boarders, over 250 day students, hundreds of teaching and non-teaching staff and the diverse demands and interests of the parent body means that the person holding the position must have high levels of social intelligence, a resilient nature, stamina and a good sense of humour. Dean Dell’Oro exhibited all of these qualities, and more, throughout his tenure as Head of Corio.

Dean left Geelong Grammar School at the end of Term 1 to take on the Headmaster’s position at Hale School in Western Australia. It is a wonderful opportunity for Dean. In his numerous roles at Corio, including Head of Francis Brown House, Head of the Mathematics Faculty, Teacher-In Charge of Athletics, President of the Common Room Association, tutor in both Middle and Senior School Houses and his most recent position of Head of Corio, he demonstrated a strong sense of purpose. He was honest, thoughtful and creative. He had a very good grasp of the big picture. He related to people incredibly well and he was prepared to stand up for what he believed was right. In every position he held, he looked to improve and build on the existing foundations. He was always asking questions, seeking advice, collaborating and was prepared to make decisions that inevitably led to improved outcomes.

The student community came to know Dean through his teaching of Values and Ethics and Positive Education, his running of the celebratory Senior School assemblies, his day-to-day interactions in the sporting arenas, his attendance at the myriad co-curricular events, his sermons during chapel services, his chairing of the School Prefect body and his individual interactions with those who needed guidance, support, advice or a simple chat. It was obvious that Dean loved his interactions with the student body. He was energised by these interactions and would often talk about how he had been inspired by an individual, a group, a class or the whole student body! Dean also inspired and was inspired by his colleagues. It is never easy being promoted from within to a senior position in any organisation, especially when close friendships have been formed over the years with those you are now meant to be leading. Nevertheless, Dean impressed many with his preparedness to tackle the complex and difficult issues that inevitably arise. His honesty and transparency were evident in his dealings with all. I know he did much work behind the scenes supporting, mentoring and advising staff. In all that he did, his aim was for just and fair outcomes for all.

In the relatively short period of time Dean held the Head of Corio position, he managed to put in place some fine initiatives. For me, the Graduate Teacher Programme is the one that best illustrates Dean’s qualities. The idea was to attract some of the top teacher graduates from the best universities. Dean shared this idea with the Principal and Corio Management Group and then put his idea into action. He gathered a team that helped implement his plan. This included giving presentations at the chosen universities and interviewing applicants. Final interviews were conducted by Dean and myself and from this process, two top graduates were given a two-year full time teaching position at Geelong Grammar School. To date, we have employed four teaching graduates. It is a win-win situation. The School has four talented, committed, dynamic and passionate young graduates supporting the programme, while they in turn are learning the teaching trade in a supportive environment. I believe this initiative should be taken to scale. All schools should adopt such a programme.

At the Senior School assembly, the Principal, Stephen Meek, farewelled Dean. The applause Dean received at the end of Stephen’s farewell from all that were gathered was an indication of the love and respect the community felt for him. I enjoyed working with him over the past three years. I came to appreciate his generosity of spirit, tremendous work ethic and his genuine desire to make this community a better place for all. We were sad to lose Dean. However, we are also delighted that Dean took on this exciting new challenge. We thank Dean for all that he did for this community. We wish him and his wife, Nadia, and three sons Callum, Seb and Max and his family every success and future happiness.

Mr Charlie Scudamore

Geoff Hunter

One wonders how a World Leading School like GGS manages to attract, as it does, those members of staff who are genuinely high-quality. Is it that highly skilled individuals like Geoffrey Hunter are naturally drawn to the School, or does the School search the world to find them? Whatever the answer, it is clear that GGS found a gem in Geoffrey, who arrived at Corio at the beginning of Term 4, 1991, to take up the positions of Director of Rowing, and teacher of Health and Physical Education.

As a teacher, Geoffrey was thoroughly committed to educating his students in all facets of life; he engaged them with enormous passion, energy and enthusiasm, and assisted them to develop into highly productive contributors in team and individual pursuits, both within and outside the classroom. He made learning fun, and set a brilliant example with regard to the sharing of mutual respect. Students enjoyed working in his classes, and fellow members of the HPE Department enjoyed his generous collegiality, affability, his skill as a teacher and administrator, and his readiness to do whatever was needed to get the job done. As Assistant Head of House in Fraser and Highton and tutor in Manifold and Highton, Geoffrey was a remarkably supportive colleague and added hugely to the quality of experience received by the young people in those Houses.

Geoffrey was always destined to end up at the top. At Manifold Heights Primary School, he was the youngest in his class by nearly two years, and he played Under 15 Football for Newtown-Chilwell as a tiny 11-year-old. However, his main interest and passion has always been the sport of Rowing.

Geoffrey arrived at Corio as one of the most highly regarded coxswains and coaches in the country; he coached Australian Lightweight IVs and VIIIs at World Championships in Canada, Belgium and England, and at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, where his IV were the silver medallists. As Director of Rowing here at the School, Geoffrey oversaw a programme that took the boys to victory in the Head of the River in 1994 and to top three placings on ten occasions. In 2013 and 2014, the Boys’ IV won the Australian Under 19 Coxed IV Australian National Title. Meanwhile, the girls won the Head of the River eleven times and the Head of the Schoolgirls twelve times. The Girls’ Coxed IV won two Australian National Titles and the Girls’ VIII won the Australian National Title three times. These impressive results did not just happen; whilst undertaking his teaching degree at Geelong Teachers’ College, Geoffrey applied for, and was appointed to the position of Thumbscrew Maker at Sykes’ Racing, Australia’s largest rowing boat manufacturer here in Geelong. It was in this role that he developed his acute eye for detail, as embryo thumbscrews totally disintegrate if solder is not held in a temperature range of just a few degrees. At his peak, Geoffrey managed a success rate of just a shade under 50%... Fortunately, his coaching eye was much more effective, and together with his outstanding knowledge of what a perfect stroke should look like, his exceptional capacity to explain it clearly and impart it, his preparedness to put in huge hours of coaching both skills and physical conditioning, and his ability to inspire people around him, has helped transform raw beginners into highly accomplished practitioners, year after year. However, the real value of Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Rowing (and Sport in general) is much more than merely on-field success; in fact, that success should be secondary to the effective transference of a lifelong passion for involvement in the qualities of teamwork, thorough preparation, admiration of officials and other participants, and continued striving even when faced with seemingly insuperable obstacles that Rowing and Sport in general present, and from which students have gained huge amounts of pleasure, satisfaction and shared respect. The making of GGS Rowers into truly contributing members of society has always been paramount in Geoffrey’s planning. Generations of them, therefore, have an enormous amount for which to thank him.

Even as he leaves the School after over 25 years of committed service, Geoffrey maintains his enthusiasm for Rowing, as well as his trademark energy, zest and humour. Working with Geoffrey has been an absolute pleasure. In fact, working with Geoffrey has not been work; it has been enormous fun because he has made it that way. He has (almost) always managed to find the humorous side of every situation, and his hugely professional approach to the task of educating young and older people alike has been both inspirational and infectious.

We wish Geoffrey and Debbie, together with Tom and David, every happiness, as Geoffrey embarks on his richly-deserved retirement.

Tom Ashton

Paul Rettke

Paul began his teaching with us as a Visiting Music Tutor and taught guitar from 1980 to 1984.

He taught privately throughout this time and left the School in 1985 to go to the Sydney Conservatorium to complete the Jazz Studies course under the great Don Burrows. He returned in 1991 to his private teaching role and became a full-time member of staff in 1992. In that year, Paul began the Jazz Programme which has flourished and grown under his guidance for the many years that he has directed this. In his time developing this programme, he has tutored many students who have gone on to be professional and prominent musicians. These include Ali McGregor (Je’90), John Bedggood (Cu’92) and Missy Higgins (Cl’2001). Many more of his students have gone on to study music at a tertiary level and have contributed greatly to musical circles throughout the world.

The jazz groups under Paul’s direction played regularly in the GGS community at events such as the Year 10 Parents Dinner, The Arts Support Group Dinners, Family Day, Speech Day and many other events. Paul represented the School as the first Australian to be selected by the International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE) to present a research paper at the 31st Annual International Conference in New York in January 2004. The paper, Framing The Solo: A Guide to Starting a Small Jazz Ensemble, was a synopsis of Paul’s Master’s thesis titled, ‘The Development of and Investigation into a Method of Jazz Education for Ensemble’.

He instigated the Mothers’ Day Jazz Festival and this has run now for 21 years, a great testament to his dedication and enthusiasm. For the past 20 years, he has directed the recording of the Year 12 Jazz CD which has been very popular with the GGS community. Many of these were as part of the Kool Skools programme and bands throughout this time received awards for their excellence in performance. These CDs will stand as a record of all the fine work he has done with these musicians guiding them to polished and professional performances.

Paul has been a tutor in Otway House for twelve years and held the position of Assistant Head of House for two years. In this role, he has been able to work with many Middle School students and has seen many of them taking up his classes in Years 11 and 12. He also worked closely with the Middle School students in the annual musical as Music Director for eleven years. Paul has been an integral member of the Music Department and also the GGS community. He has proven to be passionate and dedicated throughout this time supporting many other young teachers around him, me included. His length of employment is testament to the love he has for the School.

Paul’s many musical melodies, jokes, performances and work with the students will be sadly missed. We thank him for his great contribution over the years and wish him all the best for a retirement filled with fun and, of course, music.

Jodie Townsend