Our Executive Team

Meet The Essington School's Executive Team

Principal - Mrs Karen Rohrs

Karen is an experienced educational leader with over 30 years’ working in both Australian and International Schools as a teacher, administrator, and consultant. Karen’s professional career began as a secondary educator in New South Wales, teaching Mathematics and Middle School Science for 10 years. Through her additional studies in inclusive education, Karen had the opportunity to facilitate teacher and parent training sessions and collaborate with schools on strategies to enhance student learning.

Karen earned a Bachelor of Education (secondary) degree, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. Additionally, Karen earned Certificates in Learning Difficulties, Integration Studies, and Adolescent Literacy.  She continues to participate in professional learning courses, workshops and reads widely on learning pedagogy. 

Karen is passionate about creating a professional collaborative faculty focused on teaching and learning; where everyone is a learner and can learn given the optimum conditions. Grounded in the idea that the learner does the learning, our plan is to engage faculty and students in rich learning experiences and celebrate their individual and communal accomplishments and growth. Karen is joined in Darwin by her husband. They look forward to being part of Essington's community. 

Head of Senior School Years 7 to 12 - Mrs Joan Judd

Joan arrived in Australia in 2012 having previously taught for 19 years in Scotland, including for 17 years at St Columba’s School Kilmacolm, near Glasgow, which is consistently in the top ranks of The Times Education Supplement list of Top Independent Schools. 

Joan has taught Mathematics since her appointment to the School in 2012 and served Head of Mathematics (Years 7 – 12) from 2016 prior to her appointment as Head of Middle School in 2019.

As Head of Senior School Joan promotes strong and positive relationships with students and families as the cornerstone of enhancing positive learning environments and creating a culture of inclusiveness and respect. She is a determined advocate for encouraging staff and students to pursue productive learning opportunities that will enhance their ability to achieve and experience success in their endeavours.

Working in collaboration with Year Level Coordinators and teaching staff and Joan leads programs in the middle school years that promote engagement and enable students to achieve their very best. The strong links with Junior and Senior College, programs such as the Rite Journey, and effective collaboration between staff ensures smooth progression for students from Junior to Middle School and from Middle School into the Senior College.

Joan holds a Bachelor of Science (Mathematical Sciences) and a Postgraduate Certificate of Secondary Education.

Head of Junior School - Mrs Renee Schultz

As the Head of Junior School, Renee is charged with leading the day-to-day operations of the Kinder to Year 6 Junior School programs.  Leading a team of experienced, passionate, and committed educators Renee oversees the teaching and learning and wellbeing programs for the Junior School. 

Renee has over twenty years’ experience in education.  A passionate advocate for best practice in Education, Renee fundamentally believes in the importance of a responsive curriculum underpinned by contemporary research that is flexible in meeting the needs of each learner. She holds respectful relationships and a shared vision as paramount to the sustainable success of our school community. As a long-term member of the Initial Teacher Education Sub-Committee of the Northern Territory Teacher Registration Board, Renee works to raise the standards and subsequent profile of the teaching profession nationally. She has been nominated, as an Early Childhood specialist, to sit on the accreditation panels for several initial teacher education courses in universities across Australia. Renee holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and a Master of Leadership and Management in Education, with Distinction. 

Business Manager - Alan Nolan

Alan joined Essington in 2014 as a Finance Officer. Since joining Essington, Alan has held many roles in Finance and Human Resources, before he was appointed as Business Manager in June 2021.

Prior to joining Essington, Alan worked in the Banking sector for 8 years and holds a Professional Diploma in Financial Advice.

Alan has recently completed his Diploma in Human Resources Management, which he completed through Charles Darwin University in 2020. He is currently a member of the Association of School Business Administrators (ASBA) and the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI). 

Head of Learning and Development - Heidi van Bodegraven

Heidi joined the Executive Team in January 2023 as Head of Learning and Development. A new position overseeing the development of an effective model of continuous curriculum and a focus on data driven practice, ensuring students benefit from the best possible learning experience across their schooling years. Heidi believes high quality teaching unlocks the potential of all students to achieve outstanding learning growth. She holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary to Middle School) and a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from USQ.

Preceding this appointment, Heidi was the Curriculum Coordinator of Junior School for three years and a Year 2 classroom teacher at Essington. Heidi has over 10 years of experience working in Queensland schools including government, Indigenous day/boarding school and Catholic Education before that. Using her previous knowledge as an Inclusion Specialist, she also developed the LEAP team from humble beginnings to ensuring all students are supported through their learning journey.

A previous employee of Essington, Heidi returned to Darwin in 2017 with her family when her daughter was Preschool age to have her enrolled and complete her schooling in the ‘Essington way’.