Bringing life’s lessons to school’s top job


Born to teach: Mount Eliza Primary School’s new principal Kim Wheeler is a graduate of life as well as education. Picture: Supplied

MOUNT ELIZA Primary School’s new principal Kim Wheeler has had more than her share of interesting and life-changing experiences.

She’s been a senior educator at various schools, a scholarship-winning classical musician, professional singer who has entertained in Europe and the UK and was chair of Mathematics at the American Overseas School of Rome.

Ms Wheeler and her Italian husband have three children,

As a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne), Ms Wheeler for many years had a dual career as both a teacher and professional singer.

In 1995, she was awarded a place to study classical singing in Rome. Highlights of her career include performing as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House and recording as the soprano soloist on the Academy Award nominated soundtrack for the film, Elizabeth.

While in Italy, Ms Wheeler says study tours to Reggio Emilia left an indelible impression on her and “inspired the child-centred lens through which she approaches education”.

Mount Eliza Primary School council’s president Dean Charge said Ms Wheeler returned to Australia in 2012 with a focus on community, a love of languages and fine food, and an understanding of what it means to be a global citizen.

She holds a Master in School Leadership and has completed the Advanced Leadership Program through Women and Leadership Australia.

Previously head of campus at Firbank Grammar, Brighton, Ms Wheeler led the junior school and Long Day Early Learning Centre. Before that she taught at Mount Eliza North Primary and Toorak College.

Mr Charge said Ms Wheeler’s family live on the Mornington Peninsula, making her even more excited to be leading Mt Eliza Primary School which “aligns to her values of high expectations and exceptional learning”.

“Kim brings 25 years’ experience in the education sector in international, independent and government schools,” he said. “It has been a momentous start, with the area in stage four lockdown and the challenge of running a school virtually.

“Kim has spent the past few weeks getting to know students, staff and families online and has shared her passions for learning, reading, music and cooking with the community.”

First published in the Mornington News – 6 October 2020


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