Team Photo

Grok (verb): to understand intuitively or by empathy.

Our Mission

At Grok Academy, our mission is to educate all learners in transformative computing skills, knowledge and dispositions, empowering them to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future.

To us, computing encompasses basic digital literacy through to advanced computer science and related disciplines, and the application of these skills across all disciplines.

Our Goal

We believe that a solid computer science understanding is vital whether you want to fight climate change, make the next blockbuster movie or unlock the secrets of the universe.

We've taught thousands of students across Australia to program in classrooms, lecture halls and online, and are now bringing top-notch STEM education into classrooms and homes around the world.

Meet the Grokkers

James Curran

Dr. James Curran

CEO & Director, Grok Academy

Dr. James Curran is the CEO of Grok Academy, an Australian ed-tech charity with a mission to educate all learners in transformative computing skills, knowledge, and dispositions, empowering them to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future.

James was a writer on the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies (version 8 and 9) and the Digital Literacy capability (version 9).  He consults with curriculum authorities and departments of education around Australia. In 2014, James was named ICT Leader of the Year by the ICT Educators of NSW and the Australian Council for Computers in Education.

James is Director of the National Computer Science School, the largest computer science school outreach program in Australia. Last year, over 22,500 students and teachers participated in the 5-week NCSS Challenge.

Prior to Grok Academy, James completed a PhD in computational linguistics at the University of Edinburgh and was an Associate Professor and Director of the Australian Computing Academy (ACA) at the University of Sydney. James co-founded Grok Learning in 2013, and in 2021, the ACA and Grok Learning combined to form Grok Academy.

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Executive Team
Kylie Williams

Kylie Williams

Chief Operating Officer

Kylie Williams is the new Chief of Operations Officer at Grok Academy Limited.

A graduate of the University of Sydney, Kylie has extensive experience in the not for profit and university sectors having worked for the Cancer Council NSW, the Lowy Institute and more recently with the ARC Centre for Excellence in All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). Kylie is passionate about developing and implementing effective organisational structure; assisting the employees of Grok Academy to achieve their professional goals; enhancing relationships with new and existing clients; and commercial development of Grok products.

Lisette Tennant

Lisette Tennant

Head of Partnerships

Lisette Tennant is the Head of Partnerships at Grok Academy.

A professional and respectful leader - she has held various management roles in the banking, hospitality, media, and tertiary education sectors - in Australia and the UK. Responsible for managing stakeholders at all levels, along with ensuring Grok's ability to achieve its objectives through the generation and growth of lasting strategic relationships, she will challenge the status quo to support the business in becoming an impact driven tech company. Lisette has a Graduate Certificate in Business and Technology, University of New South Wales, and a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), Macquarie University. She is also a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).

Lisette Tennant

Martha McKeen

Chief Strategy Officer

Martha brings a wealth of experience working in Technology and has held senior strategy, outreach and engagement, and product management roles in cyber security and engineering.

An experienced leader, Martha has designed and delivered complex transformation programs, most recently leading a large team focused on transforming the engineering experience at Commonwealth Bank. Also at Commonwealth Bank, Martha led the Cyber Outreach team focused on uplifting staff and customer awareness of cyber threats and partnering with the Australian education sector, including Grok Academy, to educate the next generation of cyber and IT professionals. Prior to working at Commonwealth Bank, Martha worked for the Cancer Institute NSW and Chief Entertainment. Before moving to Australia from her home country Canada in 2013, Martha worked in the University sector and in healthcare research holding roles at the University of Ottawa and Bruyere Research Centre. Martha is thrilled to be a part of the Grok Academy team and is committed to delivering Grok’s ambitious strategy toward educating Australia’s future tech workforce.

Geoff Ford

Geoff Ford

Chief Engineering and Infrastructure Officer

He/Him

Geoff completed a Bachelor of Information Technology from Queensland University of Technology and has worked in a number of roles since.

Geoff has accumulated a wide range of experience and skills including software engineering, cyber security, cloud computing and developer experience but is always looking to learn more.

Karsten Schulz

Karsten Schulz

Head of Projects and Analytics

Karsten Schulz is the Head of Projects and Analytics at Grok Academy.

Karsten has a PhD in Computer Science and a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Software Engineering. For 10 years, Karsten led the research division of a large multi-national ICT company in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region and between 2013 and 2016 he led the national Digital Careers Program. In 2010, Karsten created the Young ICT Explorers Competition and in 2014 he founded the Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge which is part of the international Bebras Challenge.

Jane Abrams

Jane Abrams

Chief Education Officer (Product)

Previously Head of Content at Grok Learning, Jane has overseen the development of new platform features and online learning activities for students from early primary through to senior high school and beyond.

Recent achievements include the redevelopment of the Beginners and Intermediate streams of the NCSS Challenge and Web.Comp school competitions, with a focus on curriculum alignment and student engagement. In 2021, these competitions saw over 60 000 collective student enrolments across all streams. Jane holds a Masters of Teaching from the University of Sydney, and has over a decade of experience in the educational technology sector, with a specific interest in exploring the use of digital platforms to promote understanding of STEM concepts. Prior to starting at Grok, Jane worked on a series of award-winning apps focused on foundational early numeracy concepts for young learners.

Bruce Fuda

Bruce Fuda

Chief Education Officer (Curriculum)

Bruce Fuda is Chief Education Officer (Curriculum) at Grok Academy and the Project Lead on the Schools Cyber Security Challenges Project.

Prior to joining Grok Academy, he has held jobs in Secondary Schools and the University sector, working as a teacher, Head of Department and Associate Principal, and lecturing in Masters programs.
Bruce has over 16 years experience working in education and teacher training, teaching all years levels from Year 6 through 12, and working with both pre- and in-service teachers. Bruce was a member of the advisory group for the writing of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, and later joined the writing team for Digital Technologies during the consultation and review process.
He was the 2016 ACCE/ACS Australian ICT Educator of the Year, and was awarded an ISTE Making IT Happen award in 2017. He is the founding President of Information Technology Educators ACT.
Bruce resides in Canberra, on the lands of the Ngunnawal people.

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Administration Team
Hailee Jones

Hailee Jones

Executive Assistant

Hailee is an accomplished professional with more than 10 years of progressive experience in executive support, office administration, accounting and budget management, human resources, and customer/client relations.

Hailee takes great pride in working with companies and organisations that give something positive back to people and their communities, and Grok Academy’s purpose to educate and empower aligns with this ethos.

Josephine Spongberg

Josephine Spongberg

Senior Events Manager

Josephine Spongberg is Grok’s Senior Events Manager, overseeing the administration of the NCSS Summer School, the NCSS Challenge and the Girls’ Programming Network.

Prior to Grok Academy, Josephine worked in the tertiary sector for 25 years.

Siobhan Hillam

Siobhan Hillam

Senior Events Manager

Siobhan is an experienced professional with over 15 years of experience in both Higher Education and the Australian Public Service.

Her expertise lies in event management, and she was responsible for leading the digitalisation of events at Charles Sturt University. Siobhan has a Graduate Certificate of University Leadership and Management from Charles Sturt University and a Diploma of Business from the Canberra Institute of Technology.


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Data and Analytics Team
Ashima Mahajan

Ashima Mahajan

Senior Data Analyst

Ashima brings over 13 years of experience in the data space spanning a diverse range of challenges, from building custom data pipelines and designing data architectures, to creating visualisations that communicate complex insights in a simple and understandable way.

Her technical expertise spans a wide range of tools and technologies including Python, SQL, Google Big Query, GCP, DBT Labs, Tableau and Looker.

Bryn Jeffries

Bryn Jeffries

Lead Data Analyst

Bryn first got into teaching while studying for his Laser Physics PhD at the University of Oxford, working as a college tutor of Physics.

He later studied a Masters of Computer Science at the University of Sydney, and lectured Database Systems there for several years, during which he completed a Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies for Higher Education. Bryn is an Honorary Associate of the University of Sydney, pursuing a research interest in computer science education and data science.

Esther Sha Li

Esther Sha Li

Senior Data Analyst

Esther graduated from the University of Wollongong with a PhD in materials engineering, majoring in renewable energy.

My passion for data analytics and data science began early in her career during her first research project at the University of Sydney, using data mining techniques to investigate the micro-structure of alloys. Over years, Esther has learned about data mining and visualisation concepts and how these techniques can help find solutions. Prior to Grok, she spent 8 years at the Australian Catholic University in various positions, including Reporting Analyst, Robotic Automation Process Developer, and Data Analytics for online student experience. Esther has successfully developed and implemented data analytics solutions, established frameworks for routine BI reporting, and catered to different users, including senior executives and operational departments. As a Senior Data Analyst, she is passionate about exploring innovative analytical methodologies, such as machine learning techniques, to enhance business performance and improve the user experience of our online learners. Esther is also a continuous advocate for women in STEM and the improvement of children’s education quality in STEM.

Piyumini Wijenayake

Piyumini Wijenayake

Lead Data Analyst

Piyumini has a PhD in Business Analytics and a background in consulting, academia, and research.

Yuvan Sivakumar

Yuvan Sivakumar

Assistant Data Scientist

I am currently a Data Science student at Monash University.

I had previously interned at Grok and am continuing my work in the Analytics team. I have a passion for using my analytical and critical thinking skills to solve data related problems.


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Educator Team
Laura Barker

Laura Barker

Head of Education

She/Her

Laura has a Bachelor of Ed (Hons) and Master of Ed (Hons).

She has a wealth of knowledge in the digital technologies space including experience gained from working at the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership as a Senior Digital Learning Designer. She has also been a K-12 Technology Coordinator, Lecturer in Charge for Technologies Education, a Victorian Digital Technologies Specialist Teacher, and a writer of Digital Technologies Curriculum for ESA, ISV and VCAA. Laura has presented at state and national conferences in the areas of Digital Technologies, ICT and integrated learning. She is passionate about innovative approaches to education, integrating pedagogical knowledge and research into teaching and learning.

Steve Grant

Steve Grant

Head of Education

Steve is a creative innovator in STEM education, educational leadership, change management, and leading teacher professional development.

He brings bring a wealth of knowledge in initiating and leading new STEM projects in a collaborative and consultative manner, with a particular focus on delivering high quality STEM educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, working across metropolitan, regional, remote, and very remote communities. Steve’s work as teacher, STEM Professional Learning Consultant, Curriculum Officer for ACARA (Digital Technologies in Focus project), and as the inaugural Director of Innovation and Creativity for Trinity College (SA) brings a wealth of transdisciplinary skills and experience in working across diverse contexts to build the capacity and competence of teachers to meaningfully embed computing into student learning.

Adelle Matthews

Adelle Matthews

Educator

Adelle is a secondary teacher in rural South Australia and has been teaching for over ten years.

She has taught a range of subject areas including English, Geography, History, Research Project, and Digital Technologies. Her passion for connecting Digital Technologies with different curriculum and interest areas has seen her facilitating coding clubs and esports teams at the schools she has worked at. Having also led the learning inclusion team at her previous site she understands the need to make learning inclusive for all. She is excited to be joining the Grok team and continuing to help prepare students for their futures in the exciting world of ever-growing technologies.

Adrienne Williams

Adrienne Williams

Senior Educator

Adrienne has over 15 years’ experience teaching digital technologies in secondary schools and a prior career in Information Technology.

She has a passion for integrated learning, taking tangents and helping to facilitate the learning of others. Adrienne has completed a Master of Education (STEM in Education), a Graduate Diploma in Middle Schooling, a Graduate Diploma in HRD specialising in adult education and a Bachelor of Commerce with an I.T. focus. She is enthusiastic about bringing her skills and experience into helping to build digital literacy in learners of all ages.

Anna Kinnane

Anna Kinnane

Lead Educator

As one of the writers of the Australian Curriculum, Digital Technologies, Anna is passionate about supporting teachers to further develop their skills and understandings of this new curriculum.

As an educator with over 30 years’ experience working in education, Anna also developed and led the implementation of the Queensland Student ICT Expectations P-12 and in her recent role at the Queensland College of Teachers worked with preservice teachers and fully registered teachers to support them to further develop their digital literacy skills.

Bianca Willis

Bianca Willis

Educator

She/Her

Bianca graduated from the University of Sydney in February 2022 with a Master of Education in Digital Technologies.

Prior to this, she worked as a primary school teacher in Queensland schools. She is passionate about engaging and educating students and teachers in the area of Digital Technologies.

William (Bill) Collis

Bill Collis

Lead Educator

Dr. Bill Collis is a passionate educator and engineer; and is driven to see other educators, and their students, succeed in today’s hi-tech world.

He worked in various electronics and telecommunications organisations for over 20 years before moving into secondary school teaching. His teaching programmes have been exemplified in a Beacon Practice project in NZ TechEd and he was given an Outstanding Technology Teacher award in 2007.  His ME and PhD are in computer systems and electrical engineering, with a focus on education of the troublesome threshold concepts encountered in hardware and software.  One output of his research was an extensive software suite which used  visualization techniques to develop and assess students conceptual understanding of hardware and software.  His PhD also involved a deep case study of knowledge and pedagogy in engineering, reaching into the reasoning that underpins the practices of both students and educators.  More recently he has been lecturing in teacher education at the University of Auckland and working with new teachers to see how their own domains of knowledge can be brought to life for students through educational theory and sound pedagogy.  Bill is a life-long learner, which has made him as comfortable conversing about pedagogy, assessment and educational theory as he is writing code across the stack, undertaking circuit design, and developing software for microcontrollers.

Caroline Tromans

Caroline Tromans

Lead Educator

Caroline is a Lead Educator at Grok Academy who aims to empower teachers to feel confident using technology and delivering technical content to successfully educate students.

Prior to joining the team at Grok, she taught Secondary Digital Technologies for over 13 years in Sydney. Her previous professional roles include Head Teacher, ICT Coordinator and coordinator of ICT teacher professional learning. Caroline has a passion for developing quality teaching and learning resources that are visually appealing, clearly communicate learning objectives and are differentiated for varied needs. She is a strong advocate for lifelong learning, there is always more to learn in the field of computer science.

Celinda Corsini

Celinda Corsini

Senior Educator

Celinda Corsini has worked in primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Her expertise include curriculum design, professional development, online learning, transdisciplinary learning, and change management. Celinda’s approach to designing pedagogical models and frameworks position students as the drivers of the learning. Celinda constantly questions the status-quo and pushes the boundaries of what is possible. She enjoys turning blue-sky thinking into feasible solutions, empowering educators to innovate within perceived constraints. Celinda is passionate about reimagining education and inspiring positive change.

Chadwick (Chad) Ivic

Chadwick (Chad) Ivic

Educator

Chad really enjoys helping others discover the joy of programming.

He has five years of experience as a Digital Technologies specialist teacher and has delivered an International Baccalaureate Computer Science course to students in Years 11 and 12. His own learning accelerated while attending the National Computer Science School as a teacher on three occasions. A Digital Literacy School Grant enabled Chad to lead the Huon Aspire Project, providing professional learning for teachers and establishing a mobile STEM Makerspace lab. Chad is continually learning new concepts embedded in the Digital Technologies curriculum and is eager to support students and teachers who are also on this fascinating journey.

Courtney Weaver

Courtney Weaver

Lead Educator

Nerd by day, diva by night. Courtney’s two great loves in life are technology and music.

She spent the first 15 years of her professional career in the IT Consultancy industry as developer, project manager and business analyst before retraining as a specialist Digital Technologies teacher in the secondary sector in WA. Courtney has a passion for bringing realistic experience into the classroom, regularly using her industry knowledge and connections to achieve this. She is especially passionate about being a role model to women wishing to pursue a career in STEAM areas. When she is not geeking out over cool code and gadgets, she can be found as a mezzo-soprano in the WA Opera chorus and loves to find ways to combine her unique performing arts and music background with her technology experience to help students develop creative and innovative problem-solving skills for the coming decades.

Damien Kee

Damien Kee

Lead Educator

He/Him

Damien has a passion for Educational Technology, especially in the fields of Robotic, Electronics and Programming.

With nearly 20 years experience in schools, he can be found anywhere from sitting on the floor of a classroom, working with young students first learning the intricacies of programming, through to presenting at conferences to some of the most skilled educators in the field. He has conducted workshops for students and educators around the world including Asia, the Middle East and the USA and has been involved in multiple International committees overseeing some of the top Robotics competitions such as RoboCupJunior and the World Robotic Summit.

Dan Hickmott

Dan Hickmott

Senior Educator

Daniel completed a PhD in Education and Bachelor of Software Engineering at the University of Newcastle.

He is passionate about supporting students and teachers who are learning and teaching computing and has had several years' experience designing, running and evaluating professional learning programs for teachers upskilling for the Digital Technologies curriculum.

Darin Aburn

Darin Aburn

Senior Educator

Darin is a former secondary teacher with over 10 years’ experience teaching in regional Queensland schools, as well as working with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

He is passionate about enhancing student and teacher capability in Digital Technologies, with a particular interest in programming, cryptography and AI.

Deon Scanlon

Deon Scanlon

Senior Educator

Deon is a creative educator who has been a coordinator and director of Digital Technologies and ICT programs in Tasmanian schools across most year levels.

As a self-professed tinkerer and fidgeter whose computing skills were shaped in the early 90s as a Computer Systems Engineering student, Deon has been responsible for managing pretty much anything that requires electrons for well over two decades. He is particularly passionate about integrating Digital Technologies concepts into other subject areas, leveraging the power of computers to do new and wonderful things for learning.

Drew Eastlake

Drew Eastlake

Educator

Graduating from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Information Technology/Bachelor of Teaching, Drew spent his teaching career working across Kindergarten to Year 12 in rural and remote schools in New South Wales.

An avid gamer, Drew aims to incorporate elements of these into this practice, from gamification to video game design in the Digital Technology curriculum.

Dugald Sydney-Jones

Dugald Sydney-Jones

Senior Educator

Dugald is a former Secondary Teacher with over 15 years’ experience teaching Computer Science across both government and independent schools in New South Wales.

Prior to teaching Dugald worked as a Business Analyst for 10 years for both the Federal Government and IBM Australia. Dugald has a passion for promoting and supporting digital technologies amongst students and teachers.

Jen Rivett

Jen Rivett

Senior Educator

Jen has been a dedicated and passionate teacher and educational leader for over 25 years.

She enjoys all aspects of innovative curriculum design, as well as it’s documentation, implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation. She has designed core learning tasks focusing on 21st century skills and current learning pedagogies and can creatively implement new and current learning technologies and strategies into the modern-day classroom. Although relatively new to Digital Technologies teaching, Jen is an enthusiastic and motivated learner and passionate about integrating innovative approaches, problem solving and design thinking into Digital Technologies teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Julie McMahon

Julie McMahon

Lead Educator

She/Her

Julie has been involved in Digital Technologies education for over 30 years and is passionate about motivating students to pursue career pathways in this area through exposing them to engaging learning opportunities.

She was on the team that developed the current Digital Technologies curriculum in New Zealand and has extensive experience in standards writing, leading assessment panels and educational resource development. Julie has supported teachers through workshop facilitation, serving in various subject association roles including President of DTTA (Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa), and as a curriculum lecturer for the University of Otago Masters of Education Programme. She was awarded the Ali Chivers Teacher of Influence Award by DTTA and IT Professionals NZ as well as the TENZ award for Subject Leadership in Technology Education.

Kylie Mathers

Kylie Mathers

Lead Educator

She/Her

Kylie is a secondary teacher with over 30 years’ experience in Queensland schools, including digital technologies, STEAM and digital solutions.

She has worked as team leader within technologies in a secondary school context, across both Digital and Design learning areas. Kylie has worked with Queensland College of Teachers as HAT and LEAD teacher Assessor for QCEC and Queensland Assessment and Curriculum Authority as Endorser, Confirmer, Marker, and School Approver. Volunteer roles include speaker at Pycon and tutor with Girls Programming Network. Her passion to inspire and empower students for the opportunities for the future ensures she is always seeking to understand developments in technology, pedagogy and curriculum.

Kylie McColl

Kylie McColl

Senior Educator

She/Her

I am a passionate computing educator with over 20 years experience teaching computer science across the secondary and tertiary sectors.

My aim is to improve the quality of student experiences in the area of computing. I believe the computing industry requires greater diversity and a more holistic curriculum that embeds social and ethical concerns with CS skills and knowledge. Career highlights include: developing training and support materials for the VCE Algorithmics (HESS) curriculum; creating and implementing Google for Educator CS teacher training and resources; working with amazing colleagues to create high school engagement resources, programs, and camps.

Lael Grant

Lael Grant

Lead Educator

Lead Educator at Grok Academy, Lael recently headed up Robotics at Barker College, stewarding the program through substantial growth and culminating in the Barker Redbacks induction into the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Hall of Fame in 2021.

He established the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) and VEX IQ Challenges (VIQC) in Sydney, which now have over 100 teams competing. Passionate about the capacity of technology to transform educational experiences, Lael has presented at EduTech and contributed to recent syllabus development in NSW.

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay Miller

Senior Educator

Lindsay Miller is a Secondary Mathematics and Music Teacher who studied Music and Computer Science at the University of Sydney and obtained a Masters of Teaching from Western Sydney University.

He has taught NSW HSC, Cambridge IGCSE and New Zealand NCEA Mathematics over the last 7 years and was previously an Audio Technician/Producer/Crew Manger for the Sydney Youth Orchestras and various AV companies around Sydney. Lindsay has experience leading school-wide numeracy, STEM and data initiatives and a deep interest in the relationship between mathematical and programming skills.

Luke Dunstan

Luke Dunstan

Educator

Luke is an experienced educator in South Australian Schools, teaching for over 12 years in a range of year levels and curriculum areas.

He has recently developed a whole school STEM specialist program in his school, helping students connect the curriculum and classroom learning with exciting real world and hands-on applications. Luke’s passion in education is developing engaging and unique learning experiences for students, which help them think outside the box. Gamification of learning (both digital and offline) has been an area that Luke has been exploring recently, developing a number of different learning challenges for students. Luke is excited to be part of the Grok team, developing exciting and engaging learning experiences for students of all ages.

Mark Venz

Mark Venz

Educator

Until recently, Mark has been a specialist computer science and design teacher having created and taught programmes for both QCAA Digital Solutions and International Baccalaureate Computer Science syllabuses.

He began his journey in STEM education at the turn of the Millennium when he tutored University of Qld students in programming and robotics and was part of the team who brought RoboCupJunior to Queensland. Between education-related activities, Mark worked in both Queensland and Silicon Valley as a Software Engineer/Analyst/Team Leader creating software for embedded systems and web applications but has always been passionate about educating the next generation of STEM innovators.

Marnie Power

Marnie Power

Educator

Marnie is inspired to show students how to create with technology, instead of just consume and is passionate about developing Grok lessons that engage and excite students through rich, real-world tasks.

As a Digital Technology and STEM primary teacher, Marnie aimed to not only teach the required technology skills, but also a resilience and curiosity around technology that allowed students to discover the possibilities.

Meridith Ebbs

Meridith Ebbs

Senior Educator

Meridith is an experienced teacher who has experience teaching students K-10 and she is an experienced facilitator of adult workshops, with experience working in both school and corporate environments.

She has worked in Public and Independent schools and she was also the CSER NSW Project Officer on the Digital Technologies project for the University of Adelaide. Meridith is accredited as a Makey Makey ambassador, an Apple Teacher, an Apple Teacher in Swift Playground and Sphero Lead Educator. Recently, Meridith has been exploring applications for STEM and technology while learning outside and in real world projects with citizen science. Meridith shares knowledge and ideas using the handle @iMerinet.

Nathan Alison

Nathan Alison

Lead Educator

Nathan Alison taught Digital Technologies and senior computing courses in Victorian secondary schools for 11 years, as well as 5 years as coordinator and developer of professional learning and resources in the state’s subject association, Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria.

He holds a Bachelor of Computer Systems Engineering, as well as a keen desire to help teachers and students approach complex Computer Science concepts through clear explanations and relevant activities.

Owen Brasier

Owen Brasier

Lead Educator

Owen Brasier is a Lead Educator at Grok Academy.

Owen was previously the manager and technical lead of MadMaker - an outreach project that teaches STEM skills through programming and has engaged over 2,500 students and teachers. Owen is an electrical engineer whose passion is teaching students to create and build technology to improve the world around them.

Paula Christophersen

Paula Christophersen

Lead Educator

Paula is the former Digital Technologies Curriculum Manager, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and is a co-writer of the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum and the ICT general capability.

She has presented at state, national and international conferences in the areas of ICT, Digital Technologies and senior secondary IT. Paula is a lifetime member of Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria and the recipient of the Dorothy Hoddinott Medal (2014) for outstanding lifetime achievement, awarded by the Australian Professional Teachers Association.

Rob Poulter

Rachel Minns

Senior Educator

Rachel Minns is an innovative early years teacher passionate about integrating purposeful and age-appropriate use of technology in the classroom.

She has taught children from birth to grade 3, with most of her time being spent working with foundation students. As an Apple Professional Learning Specialist, Rachel works with educators to amplify children’s voice and agency through technology, sparking wonder and creativity in our young learners. She has also spent many years creating engaging and hands-on curriculum aligned resources, designed to support teachers in the classroom with implementing digital literacy and digital technology outcomes.

Rob Poulter

Rob Poulter

Senior Educator

Rob is a former secondary teacher with over 17 years experience in regional Western Australia, running the gamut of computing subjects from Year 7 Digital Media through to Year 12 Computer Science.

He has a passion for learning at all levels and enjoys engaging with fellow educators running and engaging in professional development, mentoring students ranging from primary to secondary at his local Coder Dojo chapter and developing his own understanding of technology and its intersections with other disciplines such as art and engineering.

Sally Gridley

Sally Gridley

Lead Educator

Sally completed a Masters of Education (Digital Technologies) in 2022, and is passionate about supporting classroom teachers to learn more about digital technologies.

She has been a science and digital technologies teacher for the past 10 years, recently attaining the role of science learning area leader at St Bede’s College Bentleigh East. She particularly enjoys teaching and learning about Game Design and Chemistry. Sally has conducted workshops at EduTech conference, taught STEM workshops to gifted students through G.A.T.E.ways programs, and volunteered at the Girls Programming Network. Sally has also mentored student groups in the STEM Video Games Challenge for several years, and is excited about the possibilities for building curriculum involving game design.

Sanjin Dedic

Sanjin Dedic

Senior Educator

Sanjin Dedic is a robotics engineer and an educator with over 10 years of teaching experience in the field of Digital Technologies.

Sanjin co-authored a book on the micro:bit called From Go to Whoa with Physical Tech and developed numerous teacher professional development programs in Python including an Australian teacher guide to Object Oriented Programming which received a Google grant. In addition, during the COVID lockdowns, Sanjin expanded his expertise by completing professional cybersecurity qualifications and organizing a Cyber Capture the Flag event for the Victorian Coding Challenge.

Sarah Boyd

Sarah Boyd

Senior Educator

Sarah is an experienced STEM Educator, having taught all kinds of students from primary to University level.

While at MacICT, she designed and delivered Professional Learning for teachers in Robotics, Programming and Physical Computing. Prior to teaching, she worked for many years as a Software Engineer across several different industries and completed a PhD in Computer Science. She is passionate about making technology accessible to all.

Sharon Harrison

Sharon Harrison

Senior Educator

Sharon completed her Bachelor of Computer and Information Science as a mature-age student whilst working full-time, initially as a qualified electrician building irrigation systems and then as a Helpdesk Support Technician at an independent school in Adelaide.

It was during this time her career goals changed and she decided to pursue a career as a Computing Teacher. During her maternity leave she completed a postgraduate Bachelor of Education and then went on to complete a Master of Education, all at the University of South Australia. Since then, she has spent 22 years as a High School Computing Teacher, including 4 years as a Computer Science Teacher in Chicago at a school founded by John Dewey. Her teaching career includes 8 years as an ICT Integrator/Computing Teacher, working closely with teachers and students across K-12 to integrate digital technologies into their curriculum. She has been actively involved in robotics across her career, including being a coach for RoboCup Junior in Australia and table judge for FIRST LEGO League in Chicago.

Suzanne Carter

Sue Carter

Senior Educator

Sue Carter is an experienced K-6 educator and has worked in NT Education for over 36 years.

She is a former Digital Technologies and STEM Project Officer with NT Department of Education and Project Officer with CSER team at the University of Adelaide. Sue has been a member and contributor to many national groups including the Digital Technologies Hub and the recent revision of the Technologies curriculum. Sue has a Diploma of Teaching, Bachelor of Education and Master of Applied Science in Information Technology (Teacher Librarianship). Her experiences include early years and primary teaching, PE and ICT specialist and Teacher Librarian. Sue is passionate about Digital Technologies and Digital Literacy and is looking forward to working with schools across Australia as an educator with Grok Academy.

Sujatha Gunja

Sujatha Gunja

Lead Educator

Sujatha is a Lead Educator at Grok Academy. Previously, she was a lecturer at the University of Sydney, designing and teaching units in the Master of Education (Digital Technologies) program.

With a background in secondary computing and humanities teaching, she has worked with students and staff in K-12 and helped establish programs including after school code and robotics clubs. Sujatha’s interests include project based learning and how technology can be meaningfully integrated into education.
Prior to teaching, Sujatha worked in the IT industry as a software developer and technical team lead. She is passionate about finding opportunities for every student to experience success in their educational journeys.

Sujatha Gunja

Toni Falusi

Lead Educator

Toni Falusi is an experienced K-10 educator who has a passion for empowering teachers and students to be innovative and engaged with their learning.

She has completed a Master of Information and Communication Technology in Education and was part of the version 9.0 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies review/writing team. In addition to classroom teaching, her background includes developing and delivering professional learning as an eLearning Coach, Teacher Librarian and Project Officer for Adelaide University Computer Science Education Research (CSER) STEM professional learning team. She is a sessional lecturer for the Australian Catholic University and Canberra University. Toni leads the STEM Coaching program for the Curious Minds project, empowering and supporting girls to ignite their passion in STEM.


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Engineering Team
Alberto Tumiotto

Alberto Tumiotto

Systems Administrator

Seasoned System Administrator with over 20 years of experience on the IT Infrastructure field equally divided between Italy and Australia.

Born as developer, evolved into a System Administrator, always try to manage systems with scripts. Passionate about technology eager to learn new skills.

Ben Barnes

Ben Barnes

Senior Software Engineer

Ben got into software via robotics, and still enjoys making things blink, whirr, and move with code.

From there, Ben has focused on web applications and systems, with a particular interest in functional programming and software correctness. Ben believes that software should exist to help people, and so as engineers and designers, that should be the guiding principle in everything we make.

Danny Keig

Danny Keig

Senior Software Engineer

Danny is a software engineer with a background in music and audio engineering.

Having spent a decade composing, performing, recording and mixing music he wanted to delve deeper into technology. Since he was constantly trying to get closer to the machine in his creative pursuits the logical conclusion was programming. He completed the MA Computational Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London, where artists are taught how to bring code into their practice. Danny has since worked in agency and start up environments working in areas from large scale interactive installations to full-stack web development with a product focus. He joined Grok with a passion for raising the level of digital literacy for kids around the world.

David Factor

David Factor

Lead Software Engineer

He/Him

Dave is a lead software engineer with a background in design and sociology.

Over the past 10 years he’s worked as a designer and software engineer across multiple startups, in consulting and the CSIRO. He loves working between the human and technical sides of software development and comes to grok with a passion for building and supporting great interdisciplinary teams.

Elisa Evans

Elisa Evans

Lead UX Designer

Elisa is a lead UX designer with a background in interface design and behavioural science.

Over the course of last 12 years she helped helped many companies in healthcare and wellness industries, as well as government organisations to create first of a kind tools for for early health screenings, leading research and UI design teams. Elisa is passionate about both design and code and love to help people solving complex tasks through easy to use solutions.

Iulian Mocanu

Iulian Mocanu

Test Engineer

With background in Aerospace, Civil and Oil and Gas sectors, Iulian is a Software Test Engineer with experience in Retail, Cryptocurrency and Finance domains

His self-disciplined approach to learning taught him a few programming languages and tools.

Isaac Norris

Isaac Norris

Associate Software Engineer

He/Him

Isaac wrote his first ever piece of code as part of the NCSS Challenge on Grok in 2013.

He joined the Grok team in 2020 as part of the Support Team. Since then he has worked with different aspects of the company including marketing and content authoring. He is passionate about education, and before he was full-time at Grok he used to teach woodwind instruments, and he continues to tutor at NCSS. Isaac is now working in the Engineering team, working to improve the learning experience of students all around the world.

Julian Tan

Julian Tan

Senior Software Engineer

As a senior software engineer, Julian has a passion for building and creating.

With years of experience in the industry, he has mastered a variety of programming languages and has a track record of successful projects. In his free time, he stays current on the latest technology trends and is always looking for new challenges to tackle.

Kristina Stetinova

Kristina Stetinova

Senior Software Engineer

Kristina came to Grok after working in the IT industry for 10 years.

She has a Master of Computer Science from Masaryk University in Brno. Kristina has a knack for user experience and user interfaces. She is passionate about both design and code and finds the front end the sweet spot in-between.

Latesh Garg

Latesh Garg

Senior Software Engineer

Latesh Garg has extensive 11 years of working experience in IT industry.

She has Master degree in Computer Science. She is creative and believe in providing solution to the problems. She is passionate about development and love to help people.

Laize Ferraz

Laize Ferraz

Software Engineer

With a background in law, she embarked on a dynamic career journey as a Software Engineer.

Fueled by a deep passion for teaching and software engineering, she began her path as an instructor and mentor, sharing her knowledge with numerous aspiring developers. Her subsequent role as a Software Engineer further solidified her expertise and allowed her to apply her skills to practical projects, enhancing her proficiency in the field. This diverse journey showcases her adaptability and dedication to continuous learning and growth in the tech industry.

Nicky Sevoir

Nicky Sevoir

Senior User Experience Engineer

Nicky is a senior user experience designer who has spent the last 8 years making the world a less frustrating place.

Working in a range of industries from data centers to e-commerce. With a focus on research and communicating insights, she ensures that the voice of users is heard across the organisation. She graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Communication Design.

Paul Seaman

Paul Seaman

Senior Software Test Engineer

Paul has a broad range of professional experience that includes primary school teaching, finance, and IT.

He has been a professional tester since 2001 and has a passion for helping to build high quality software.

Penny Player

Penny Player

Associate Engineer

Penny Player is an Associate Enginner at Grok Academy that transfered from the education team.

She previously coordinated Zero Robotics (Australia) at the University of Sydney, an international competition giving high school students the chance to program robotics satellites on board the International Space Station. Penny has a Bachelor of Mechatronics (Space) Engineering and Physics, and has a passion for exploring the world and learning new things.

Peter Wilkinson

Peter Wilkinson

Lead Software Engineer

Peter is a lead software engine with a focus on systems and operations.

He has over 20 years of experience within startups and established organisations across a variety of industries. His focus is always on what pragmatic solution achieves the goals of the platform users whilst ensuring performance, reliability and sustainability.

Sachin Singhi

Sachin Singhi

Lead Software Engineer

Sachin is a professional with a diverse background in technology, finance, and management.

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, working in various roles across multiple organisations. Sachin is a results-driven individual with a passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence. He has a proven ability to lead and motivate teams, and is dedicated to delivering high-quality work that exceeds expectations. Aside from his professional endeavours, Sachin enjoys traveling, photography, and sports.

Taco Scheltema

Taco Scheltema

Systems Engineer

Taco is a seasoned Systems Engineer with over 20 years of experience in a variety of industries in Australia and The Netherlands.

In recent years he has worked predominantly on deployment automation and automated configuration management in small to large environments. He is passionate about Open Source.

Thania Soetandar

Thania Soetandar

Senior Product Designer

Thania is a senior product designer, mentor, tutor, and career specialist.

She has over eight years of experience solving problems in various industries (education, law, travel, and logistics). She is passionate about solving problems and giving back to the community through teaching product design over the last six years. As a career specialist, Thania provides a framework to empower students’ confidence and secure a job in digital technology.

Tim Pitman

Tim Pitman

Lead Architect

Tim is a seasoned engineering leader with over 20 years of experience creating and managing technology products and teams.

He has worked with a diverse range of companies, from startups to research institutions, and across a broad range of technologies, from embedded systems to scalable cloud platforms. Tim is dedicated to product engineering and systems architecture, with a focus on usability. He has a passion for growing engineering teams, recognising the importance of cultivating coding skills and developing future leaders in the field. He is excited to leverage his experience to do this across a broad educational base at Grok Academy.


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Operations Team
Dia Linehan

Dia Linehan

Head of People and Culture

Dia is a people leader with a passion all things People and HR - she has held various management roles in the Fin-Tech, Construction Tech, Global Luxury Fashion, Media & Professional services etc.

Throughout her 18 years HR career, Dia has adopted a hands-on approach to leading people within Private and Public Sector. Dia has worked in a global HR capacity managing HR function in Europe, UAE, USA and in APAC. Responsible for supporting and collaborating with executive stakeholders as well as engaging with all levels of stakeholders. Dia has a Bachelor of Business Major in Human Resources Management from Auckland University of Technology and extremely passionate about people engagement, recruitment and overall employee development.

Violeta Apostolovski

Violeta Apostolovski

Head of Sales and Marketing

Violeta Apostolovski is our Head of Sales and Marketing.

Violeta brings extensive knowledge and experience in the Education Technology sector working with both Primary and Secondary schools for over 25 years. For over 7 years Violeta led the Australian, NZ and Pacific divisions of a large Global Company in EdTech. Violeta is looking forward to working with the Grok Academy team to increase usage and raise the level of digital literacy.

Gavin Wallace

Gavin Wallace

Head of Finance

Gavin Wallace is Head of Finance at Grok Academy.

A Deloitte trained Chartered Accountant with international experience in financial services, commerce and education sectors, he has worked in South Africa, USA, England, the Netherlands and Australia. He is experienced at managing financial growth through new platforms by creating and maintaining key relationships. Gavin has a passion for education and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Natal (South Africa) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting from University of South Africa. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Ainslie Wong

Ainslie Wong

Assistant Customer Success Officer

Ainslie is currently a Computer Science and Aerospace Engineering student at UNSW.

She brings her knowledge and experience in the digital space to supporting customers, students, and teachers in our Customer Success team.

Christie McMonigal

Christie McMonigal

Lead Marketing Manager

She/Her

Christie graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Advanced Science and a Bachelor of Arts.

She has worked in education and outreach for a number of years with organisations including Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre, Astronomers Without Borders, and Sydney Observatory.

Craig Carroll

Craig Carroll

Graphic Designer

Craig Carroll is the graphic designer at Grok Academy. He has a Bachelor of Education (Visual Arts).

With over 20 years experience, he has worked in magazine publishing, fashion, outdoor media, brand and marketing services at The University of Sydney, as well as a working for a number of freelance clients. He has also presented to TAFE students on the Graphic Design industry and career placement.
He has won a number of awards including the Australian Publishers Award for Best Special Edition in 2014 for EmpireTV, Best Youth and Entertainment Cover Maggies 2013, and Best General Interest title in 2009 and 2012. He was also a Finalist for The Maggies Magazine Cover of the year 2014.

Krystelle Salazar

Krystelle Salazar

Graduate Marketing and Social Media Officer

She/Her

Krystelle is a Business School graduate from Monash University in Melbourne.

She started out at Grok as an intern and now manages our social media. She has a variety of skills and knowledge she learnt through her course that helps bring a new perspective to the team. She is passionate about creating content that engages our audience.

Jessica Gilbey

Jessica Gilbey

Lead People and Culture Manager

Jessica has over 8 years’ experience in HR in the not-for-profit sector, working across disability, homelessness, mental health, and social enterprise, and has been fortunate enough to travel throughout Australia to rural and remote and indigenous communities in her work

Jessica is passionate about challenging the traditional perceptions of the role of HR in the business, creating an unparalleled employee experience for teams, and enabling people to do their best work. Jessica is a professional member of the Australian HR Institute (MAHRI) and currently in the final stages of the APC program (graduate certificate in HR).

Joe Collier

Joe Collier

Lead Graphic Designer

With almost two decades of experience in graphic, digital and UI/UX design, Joe has worked in a variety of in-house roles, creating children’s products, games, UI/UX for wearable technology and education resources.

With skills in illustration and motion graphics, Joe has led 2D art teams, multidisciplinary marketing and product design teams, and UX product teams.

Liam Smith

Liam Smith

Assistant Customer Success Officer

Liam is currently an undergraduate student at UNSW studying Computer Science.

He enjoys competitive programming and gaming, and has previously been involved in Grok’s National Computer Science School (NCSS) program prior to joining our Customer Success team.

Mark Ankucic

Mark Ankucic

Lead Marketing Manager

Mark Ankucic is a passionate, problem-solving marketer.

Having engaged and delighted clients for the last 13 years, he’s learned the secret to excellent marketing is to have good data, and greater empathy.

Melanie Vearing

Melanie Vearing

Customer Support & Success Officer

Melanie is passionate about bringing out the best in people. This passion has led her to work for more than ten years across Public Relations and Marketing in public and private institutions.

In the early 2000's, Melanie pivoted to the Education sector as a classroom and specialist teacher. With this experience, Melanie always looks for opportunities to build positive and inclusive partnerships across diversified sectors. Whether it’s working with adults or students, she values teamwork and collaborative ideas for creative and cultural advancement.

Ryan Fleetwood

Ryan Fleetwood

Lead Sales Manager

Ryan is an experienced sales professional and former digital technologies teacher. He holds a Master of Education and has over 20 years of teaching and leadership experience in South Australia.

Throughout his career, Ryan has worked as a Business Development Manager, Account Executive, Teacher, Head of Department, Director of Learning Technologies and Acting Deputy Principal. He places a great emphasis on listening to his customers and prioritising their needs above everything else. His in-depth knowledge of the Digital Technologies curriculum and ability to work closely with schools allows him to help achieve the best learning outcomes for the students.

Saritha Manickam

Saritha Manickam

Customer Success Manager

She/Her

Saritha completed her Computer Science degree at the University of Sydney.

She’s worked in a few different roles finding herself most at home in the government and non-profit sectors working in data analytics, and is excited to be working in a team that is passionate about changing computing education for school kids everywhere.

Toast Kangro

Toast Kangro

Assistant Customer Success Officer

They/Them

Toast is a current Software Engineering student at Macquarie University.

They've previously worked as a music tutor, and thoroughly enjoyed providing education in that space to a wide variety of students. They've been passionate about Software and its applications since a young age, and even learnt some of their early skills using Grok Academy.


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Project Management Team
Ange Lin

Ange Lin

Lead Project Manager

Ange takes a human centred approach to project delivery and has worked across entertainment, creative agency / marketing and not for profit space.

She has a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences (Computer Science), Diploma of Information Systems and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management. Ange is passionate about communication and making positive impacts.

Anne McLuckie

Anne McLuckie

Lead Project Manager

Anne loves project delivery and helping teams succeed.

She has successfully delivered a range of software, infrastructure, and process change projects across the IT, FMCG and Financial Services sectors. Anne is a certified Scrum Master, has a Graduate Certificate in Project Management, UTS, and a Bachelor of Science (Business Information Technology), UNSW.

Eric Owen

Eric Owen

Senior Project Manager

Eric has a background in project delivery across industries including automotive, semiconductor, non-profit, and SaaS, and has experience developing ground-up processes and documentation within PMBOK and Scrum frameworks.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Literature, a Bachelor of Commerce in International Business and Japanese, and is undertaking a Master of Business Psychology. He is people and communication-oriented, and is committed to supporting achievement and growth at the individual and organisational level.

Indu Malik

Indu Malik

Senior Project Manager

Indu is a Project Management professional with over 11 years of experience.

She has had the opportunity to work with various government and private organisations and across varied clientele. She is a certified SAFe Agilist, SAFe Practitioner, SAFe Scrum Master and PRINCE2 Foundation professional. Her experience as a Scrum Master has helped her develop her coaching skills that she utilises in her day-to-day work.

Mehdi Deriche

Mehdi Deriche

Senior Project Manager

Mehdi is a seasoned project manager with over 9 years’ experience managing projects in various industries including but not limited to Cybersecurity, Healthcare , IT Operations and Petrochemicals.

He possesses a strong track record in Project delivery and is an avid supporter of implementing effective and efficient Project Management processes.


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