Dr Andrew Matthes


Areas of expertise

Change Management
Teaching and Learning
Ministry of Teaching Overseas (MOTO)

Current Role

Primary Course Convener, Senior Lecturer
Avondale College of Higher Education (since 2008)


As Avondale’s Primary Education course convener, Andy Matthes is a lecturer on a mission.

Andy’s role involves overseeing the course structure and the quality of teaching for the Primary Education faculty, as well as taking classes as a senior lecturer.

His early years teaching at Avondale Primary quickly turned to a leadership role when he became Principal in 1997, and he’s been a leader in the Education sector ever since. Working in all areas of education—teaching in the primary and secondary school systems, and now lecturing in the tertiary sector—Andy has a large amount of experience to pass on to his students.

Having undertaken a PhD in the area of change management in an educational context, Andy feels his role at Avondale enables him to implement some of his research findings in the teaching and learning sphere. Assisting both lecturers and the next generation of Primary teachers in managing change is something Andy is particularly passionate about.

“I was drawn to Avondale by a keen interest to have a part in the next generation of teachers,” says Andy. “I want to help students become passionate and skilled in making a difference in the lives of children. It’s something I try to impart on a daily basis.”

Andy is also a frontrunner for Ministry of Teaching Overseas (MOTO), an Avondale initiative where trips provide an opportunity for Education students to complete their practicum units overseas. These trips allow students to experience teaching in a completely different environment. The MOTO India branch in particular, which Andy has headed for the past seven years, is his pride and joy.

“I love developing creativity in students—seeing them move out of their comfort zone into an area of challenge, and succeeding in it. I’m very passionate about seeing students succeed with limited resources, when they have to use their creativity to think, “What can I do in this setting?” More often than not, they come back to Australia with their worldview completely changed from that experience. It’s something I look forward to seeing every year.”

In his spare time—“It’s not that frequent!”—Andy enjoys learning parts for drama and further developing his creative side, as well as spending time with his friends and family. He credits his four children in helping him “keep a finger on the pulse” when it comes to Primary school students. “It brings an added dimension to my ability to relate to others.”


DipTeach, Avondale (1993)
BEd, Avondale (1995)
MEd, Newcastle (1997)
PhD, Newcastle (2010)

Work history

Avondale Primary, 1994-1999 (Deputy Principal, 1997-1999)
Port Macqquarie Adventist School, 2000-2003 (Principal)
Tweed Valley College, 2004-2007 (Principal)


What have you found most rewarding about your work at Avondale?
Seeing students graduate and hearing them report their successes and their passion for being teachers themselves is definitely very rewarding. I also enjoy working in research teams, gleaning from the experiences of others and working towards a common goal.

What are some of your plans for the future of Avondale?
I’m excited for a future where we have a robust course that’s cutting edge across universities in Australia, where we’re continuing to improve teaching and learning through research processes. I think Avondale is still in a market niche, where we’re making a positive impact on our student body in a variety of ways. We need to make sure we keep the positive aspects we’re known for as we forge ahead with bigger and better things.


Wanted: people-focused principals
Connections article, March 2011

Dr Andrew Matthes (Staff Profile)


Brenton Stacey
Public Relations Officer
Avondale College of Higher Education
Phone: (02) 49802 2251