Advancing learning and providing opportunities which challenge our gifted and high potential students are fundamental concerns at Santa Sabina College. Our strong record of high achievement in enrichment activities, such as our students’ recent gold medals in the Middle School and Senior Ethics Olympiads of 2022, is just one of the outcomes of our stellar Gifted Ed programs for scientists, engineers, philosophers and artists.
Our new Dean of Gifted Education, Matthew Mountford, is well known to secondary students as their teacher of junior Science and senior Biology. He is a champion of STEM but is now enjoying working with the gifted students in other areas, including the arts, especially given that at school he himself loved English and History, while excelling in the sciences. He plans to continue expanding the Gifted program in future years to include all different avenues of learning to help bolster the many areas of giftedness manifest by our students.
Matthew studied Science at the University of Sydney where he specialised in Biology. This led to an early career as a technician in a Histology lab where he assisted doctors in diagnosing cancer. As the son and brother of scientists, family tradition played a large part in setting him on this path. But he soon realised that he was better suited to teaching Science, and undertook his teacher training at the University of Technology, Sydney then commenced the career he really loved 10 years ago.
‘It’s very rewarding being in the classroom’, he says.
‘I really enjoy teaching and helping students get the most out of their learning.’
Conveying the importance of the study of Biology, Matthew says, ‘it underpins so many of the things around us’.
‘Careers in the giving sector such as nursing and medicine require the study of Biology to understand the human body, the environment and how everything is connected. The skills you learn in Biology are also applicable beyond scientific careers. Problem solving, pattern recognition, the ability to communicate, how to undertake research and use the scientific methods – scientists can pursue many career paths.’
Matthew’s interest in Biology continues beyond the classroom as he is a keen gardener on the weekends. And he is currently reading a science fiction novel recommended to him by one of his Year 9 students.
‘Knowing what the kids are reading and what media they are consuming is a lovely way to stay connected’, he says.