Leadership Our experienced team across leadership, teaching and support functions, work together so that our students flourish.

Here is a brief introduction to our key leaders.

Andrew Balkwill | Principal

Andrew Balkwill, appointed as our Principal in 2020, is a distinguished educator with a wealth of leadership experience within Catholic education. Prior to joining us, he was Principal of Thomas More College, and Principal of Sacred Heart College Middle School. Andrew has also worked as a Principal Consultant within the Catholic Education Office mentoring and supporting others across a range of sites.

A person of deep faith, Andrew is committed to our ethos and highly values the Mercy keys that are embedded in the daily life of our College. He believes strongly in the partnership schools have with families and in a successful pathway for every student.

Andrew has an enthusiastic commitment to the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

In addition, Andrew is a Board Member of the SACE Board of South Australia, an independent statutory authority of the South Australian Government that provides the SACE and delivers professional learning.

Paul Wadsworth | Deputy Principal

Paul joined Mercedes College as Head of Middle School in 2006 and since 2016 has been our Deputy Principal. Prior to this, Paul held various teaching and leadership roles at St Patrick's College and Rostrevor College in a vocation that now spans more than 30 years.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Physical Education and Outdoor Education) and a Graduate Certificate in Religious Education (Flinders University) and a Master of Education through the Australian Catholic University.

Paul has a great passion for the education of young people, with a particular interest in Religious Education, pastoral care and wellbeing. Paul is passionate about teacher formation, and as a certified HALT Assessor through AITSL and CESA, works to assess teachers looking to gain their Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher Accreditation. Paul is an avid sportsman, enjoying connections with Mercedes College sport and old scholar football.

Adrian Chiarolli | Assistant Principal, Teaching and Learning

Adrian holds a postgraduate Diploma in Educational Computing, a Masters in Educational Leadership, and has a passion for identifying and collating multiple sources of data, including evidence of student learning and indicators of engagement and teaching effectiveness. This enables areas of strength to be celebrated and ongoing improvement planned and resourced.

His teaching experience includes Information Technology, Psychology, Mathematics and IB Diploma Theory of Knowledge, and since joining us in 1999 he has guided how we incorporate technology in education. Since 2002, he's expanded his leadership across curriculum, teaching and learning.

Adrian is a member of the Australian Council of Educational Leaders, with a strategic focus on the shaping of teaching and learning and effective use of data. He is also a proud Mercurean, our past parents' association, as his daughters attended Mercedes College from Reception to Year 12.

Therese Wilson | Director of Mission

Therese Wilson joined Mercedes College in 2021 as our Director of Mission. As a passionate Catholic educator, she was previously with Nazareth Catholic College and Cabra Dominican College, and is currently studying a Masters in Theology.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Management and successfully ran her own small business prior to entering the education sector. Social Justice action as a part of her faith has always driven her, and she has volunteered for St Vincent De Paul and Spastic Centres of South Australia (SCOSA).

Therese has immersed herself in the Mercy Charism at Mercedes College, embracing our Mercy Keys and works closely with Mercy Sister Duyen Nguyen in developing liturgies, sacred reflection and Spirituality for students and our community.

Therese is passionate about making religion, ethics and theology contemporary for students, while withholding our strong values and inspiring each student to use their gifts to serve the world.

Kellie Osborn | Head of Junior School

Kellie Osborn is passionate about improving educational standards and developing strong cultures of learning. She was appointed Head of Junior School in January 2019 having amassed more than 20 years experience as an educator and leader in Catholic primary schools.

Kellie is deeply committed to the holistic education that's at the heart of Catholic schools, and leading a learning focused community, where student wellbeing is maximised.A firm believer that learning opportunities must prepare students for academic success, and contribute to the development of the whole person, enabling students to grow in their faith, develop a strong sense of self and a genuine love of learning, Kellie actively encourages students to become discerning young people with a strong commitment to social justice and community.

Kellie holds a Master of Education (Catholic Education), a Bachelor of Education (Junior Primary/ Primary) and Graduate Certificates in (Theology, Curriculum Methodology, Curriculum Design and Scripture). She has studied at St George’s College in Jerusalem and travelled through the Holy Land.

Ben Dray | Head of Middle School

Ben joins us in 2022 as Head of Middle School on secondment from Cardjin College having held a number of leadership positions including Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Campus and Director of Students.

With a strong passion for wellbeing and a deep commitment to the wholistic growth and development of young people, Ben is currently studying a Masers of Educational Leadership at the Australian Catholic University. He has a particular interest in student agency, restorative practice, positive education and developing student agency.

Michael Francis | Head of Senior School

Now Head of Senior School, Michael joined Mercedes College in 2004. Since then he has amassed experience as a Year Level Leader for Years 10 and 12, as well as developed Pastoral Care programmes to support senior students in their final years of schooling.

As a teacher of Economics and Business, Michael works in across the SACE and IB Diploma curricula and developed the MC8 Entrepreneurship programme that builds Middle School student skills in design thinking and innovative business thinking.

Michael’s connection to the Mercy ethos of Mercedes College is clear. As a regular participant and Leader of Service work in Cambodia and with refugee advocacy groups in Adelaide, Michael seeks to instil in young people a desire to step into the global community with a purpose to enact positive change in their daily endeavours.

Melissa Ciplys | Human Resources

Melissa was appointed to the role of Executive Officer | Human Resources in early 2022. Prior, Melissa was Head of People and Culture at Systems Engineering firm Shoal Group and held various organisational development and human resource management positions across the global defence prime BAE Systems.

Melissa is a Certified member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), a certified Coach with the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL), a certified Change Practitioner with PROSCI, and holds registration as a practising Psychologist.

Melissa is a Committee Member on the AHRI Organisational Design and Development Committee and South Australian State Councillor for AHRI.

Melissa’s key professional interests lie in unlocking innovation and high performance through team collaboration and organisational culture.  

Emma Brown | Communications and Marketing

Emma is a people centred leader, renown for building high-performing teams that achieve great results. With expertise leading specialist teams and delivering integrated multi-channel communication and marketing strategies, Emma’s professional interests include driving behavioural change purposefully and creatively.

Prior to joining Mercedes College, Emma gained significant communications and marketing experience within the utility sector with SA Water, communicating with customers to build an enduring corporate reputation, and SA Power Networks engaging employees to build resilience.

She has also held senior specialist roles within the South Australian public sector, and in Canberra with the federal sector, delivering successful marketing campaigns and building brand pride, as well as served with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Sean Quirke | Timetable and Operations

Sean joined Mercedes College in 2022 after more than 10 years at Tenison Woods College in Mount Gambier.

With a depth of experience in a range of leadership positions such as SACE Coordinator, Head of Senior School and Director of Learning Operations, Sean is also an experienced senior Mathematics teacher in a range of subjects and year levels.

Sean also has teaching experience in Religious Education, plus key SACE subjects including the Personal Learning Plan and Research Project.

Sean is a student-centred professional dedicated to the mission of Catholic Education.  As our Director of Timetable and Operations, Sean support students to flourish by facilitating outstanding teaching and learning structures.

Anne Way |  Wellbeing and College Psychologist

Anne is a registered Educational and Developmental Psychologist, with more than 35 years of experience across the health, disability and education sectors.

Today she leads our wellbeing programmes, services and strategies, however as a proud old scholar, her passion for Mercedes College and its lived values began during her childhood as a student.

Anne is an advocate for best practice and evidence based resources, and together with her experience, builds the psychological capacity of students, staff and families.