Meet our leaders
Our team is a passionate group of teachers and corporate services staff dedicated to supporting our girls in their academic and wider endeavours so they thrive in all aspects of their educational development.
A warm welcome from Andrew Powell
‘The commitment of our staff, parents and Ascham Old Girls creates a nurturing, exciting atmosphere in which your daughter will grow. We are united in our vision of equipping our girls with the qualities necessary to make a significant difference in the world.'
I am delighted to introduce you to Ascham. Since its foundation in 1886, and thanks to the unique approach of the Dalton Plan, Ascham has continued to be a centre of excellence for girls’ education and we uphold this standard proudly.
Ascham is a school known for its exceptional academic program, inclusivity and inspiring environment for day and boarding students. This environment provides your daughter with every means to become a passionate learner and develop into a self-reliant, confident and brave young woman with a sense of purpose in the world.
Head of School
Her days will be filled with interactive and challenging learning together with opportunities to develop her talents within our wide range of co-curricular activities, including a broad choice of Sports, Music, Drama, Debating and more. From international exchange programs and tours, school-based leadership and support programs, to House and Sister networks and community projects, her resilience will build as we help her develop the confidence to stretch herself and give her the security to stumble.
Combining this ethos with the commitment of our staff, parents and Ascham Old Girls, creates a nurturing, exciting atmosphere in which your daughter will grow. We are united in our vision of equipping our girls with the qualities necessary to make a significant difference in the world.
I look forward to welcoming you and your daughter to Ascham.
Andrew is firmly committed to girls’ education and the Dalton Plan. As an inspiring educational leader his focus is on developing students as independent learners and as individuals, and enhancing teacher excellence.
Andrew joined Ascham in 1993, teaching Science and Chemistry in the Senior School. He became Deputy Head of Science in 1995 and was made a member of the Senior Management Team in 2004. Andrew was appointed Deputy Head of School in 2012 and in January 2014 he was appointed Head of School.
Andrew has played a pivotal role in the formation of the strategic plan for the School: he developed and led the wellbeing program for Senior School students, including easing the transition from Year 6 into Senior School, the development of the Cyber Safety Committee, and the initiation of welfare programs for Year groups, such as ‘positive psychology’ and ‘managing anxiety’. He has also been integral in the development and delivery of our leadership and peer mentoring programs.
Andrew has a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Technology, Sydney, a Diploma of Education from the University of Sydney and a Master of Administrative Leadership from the University of New England.
Through the Dalton Plan and with the encouragement of our passionate team, a girl’s learning will be enriched and new passions discovered, she will be challenged and if she falls short, she will be supported.
Deputy Head of School
Pascale Drever is an educational leader with over 25 years of experience and has held pastoral positions and executive leadership positions at independent schools. She has a keen interest in teachers and their development and student wellbeing.
Prior to her appointment at Ascham, Pascale was the Head of Middle School at Ravenswood School for Girls.
Pascale believes firmly in staff, parents and girls working together for collective benefit, and works very closely with the Year Coordinators and School Psychologists to ensure girls’ wellbeing is nurtured at all times. Together with the Head of School, Pascale works with the School’s student leaders—known as the School Committee—helping the girls develop skills in leadership and communication. She also leads Ascham’s Awards Committee, which ensures that students are recognised for their achievements.
As the Deputy Head of Ascham, she constantly encourages others to exercise their leadership responsibilities and work towards providing them with the necessary resources and support.
Pascale holds an MSc (Education) from Macquarie University, and certification from the University of Witwatersrand including an HDipEd, and a BSc in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Pascale is currently a doctoral candidate at UNSW.
Ms Peta Howley
Head of Junior School
With extensive experience in primary years schooling, including over 20 years’ experience at Ascham in various roles, Peta is known for her student-centered focus and her commitment to creating a dynamic learning environment where engaged and happy students flourish.
Appointed as Head of Junior School in 2023, Peta has previously been a classroom teacher, Coordinator of Learning Enhancement and Deputy Head of the Junior School at Ascham. The breadth of this experience has allowed Peta to develop an astute understanding of how the Dalton principles can be fostered in the Junior School to create both a culture of excellence and a solid foundation for lifelong learning.
Peta is passionate about girls’ education, creating unparalleled opportunities for girls to become grounded and confident individuals who are well equipped to make a positive contribution beyond the school gates. Possessing a keen interest in student wellbeing and leadership, she continues to lead a range of initiatives to promote student wellbeing, agency and voice in the Junior School.
Supporting a dedicated and collaborative team of teachers, Peta ensures that every girl in the Junior School is known, valued and engaged through the delivery of a challenging and innovative curriculum that caters for the needs of each girl. She ensures that the pursuit of personal excellence is celebrated in the Junior School whilst fostering the girls’ sense of fun, friendship and pride in their School.
Peta holds a Master of Education (Leadership & Management), a Bachelor of Primary Education (Honours) and a Graduate Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education.
Mrs Allysia Heness-Pugh
Head of Boarding
Allysia joined as our Head of Boarding in 2021. Allysia has 16 years’ experience in this field and her vision of boarding is that of authenticity and connectedness. She maintains a strong focus on pastoral care and wellbeing, partnering with parents and the School community to deliver positive residential experiences for young women who live away from home. Allysia believes a successful boarding environment must centre on building meaningful relationships—a place where girls should be nurtured by engaged staff so they may thrive academically, socially and emotionally.
Allysia grew up in the Central West of NSW and has a passionate connection to rural Australia. She believes that boarders from regional areas bring unique qualities to schools in metropolitan areas. As a former boarder, Allysia has special insight into the life of boarding students: she was fortunate enough to experience a dual lifestyle, growing up on an Angora goat stud and also boarding at All Saints College, Bathurst. Allysia says boarding instilled independence, resilience and self-motivation in her and these values equipped her to be resourceful and creative in adulthood.
Allysia is strongly committed to service learning, establishing the first boarding school partnership with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to raise a guide dog puppy in an educational institution.