Meet our Executive Staff

Luke Schoff - Principal

I feel privileged to be the Principal at St James Lutheran College.

I have a great passion for, and deeply understand, Lutheran education and how it uniquely helps shape the lives of young learners. I bring to St James a rich background in teaching and learning, pastoral care, positive psychology and the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Previously I was Assistant Principal at Immanuel Primary School, Novar Gardens South Australia. Prior to that appointment I spent five years in teaching and leadership roles in International schools in Asia; firstly in Nanjing China and then Yokohama Japan. I started my teaching career at St Andrews Lutheran College on the Gold Coast.

Along with my Bachelor of Education, my further academic qualifications include a Post-graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and a Graduate Diploma of Theology in Education from Australian Catholic University and Australian Lutheran College respectively.

I have a strong commitment to my own professional ongoing learning and remain intimately networked through professional associations and collegial networks.

I live in beautiful Hervey Bay with my wife Emily and my two school aged sons, Harry and Oscar. I am a keen traveller, photographer and cook and enjoy entertaining at home when I get a chance.

Kristy Blaikie, Head of Primary School

It is an honour and privilege to lead our Primary School at St James Lutheran College. I am incredibly passionate about school improvement and build high quality teachers, learning assistants and support staff to inspire children to be the best version of themselves. For the past 14 years I have led schools throughout Queensland in roles of Principal, Deputy Principal and Curriculum Co-ordinator engaging staff and students to be self-directed independent learners and leaders. I hold a Diploma of Early Years Education, Bachelor of Education and Master of Education in Leadership and Management.

I have a gentle and kind approach and truly believe when children are in a supportive environment they can absolutely thrive in learning and in life. Innovation excites me and I feel inspired walking into any of our classrooms watching students engage with world class learning and teaching approaches. I am truly passionate about creating our future leaders whether that be sports, academic or pastoral pursuits. Students are the centre of my decision making living and breathing our motto: inspired to learn - empowered to serve.

Originally from the Sunshine Coast, I am a mother of three primary school children and have lived in Hervey Bay with my husband since 2017. I can remember spending many holiday’s as a child camping at Pialba, catching a whiting and loving what Hervey Bay has to offer. I am proud to now call Hervey Bay home. When not at the beach I am close by at a sporting field cheering on my children or coaching a game of netball or two!

Julie Higgins, Head of Secondary School

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve the St James College community in my role as Head of Secondary. My experience in education has been varied and diverse both in setting and nature. I have held leadership positions in teaching and learning, and student wellbeing, working in both the state and independent sectors in primary and secondary. All of which afforded me the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally, fulfilling my vocation. That being, to educate and nurture.

My personal philosophy of education is holistic in that I believe each and every student has limitless potential and it is our purpose as educators to support students in realising this. I believe in the value of community and a sense of belonging, something that St James prides itself on. A successful education is not one isolated to academic results it is one that supports the growth and development of the whole child, one that allows them to become active, contributing global citizens. The values and ethos of St James aligns with my personal philosophy and it is for this reason I am proud to be a member of the Executive team.

My professional life compliments my personal life, driven by the same purpose. I have been enjoying all the Fraser Coast has to offer for many years having been raised and educated here, choosing the same for my family. I am a wife and mother and enjoy nothing more than spending quality time with family and friends in our beautiful region.

Melanie Zipf, Business Manager

I am the proudest Business Manager in town! We have such a wonderful College here in beautiful Hervey Bay, and while I’ve seen phenomenal growth since I started in 2012, there is still so much more to come! I am so grateful for the sense of community that we have at St James, where staff, students and families work together, to love, to share, to grow and to serve….together.

I started at St James as the College Accountant, and in 2020 have taken up this new role to serve the St James Community in a much broader capacity. I’m responsible to the Principal, and oversee the Financial and Administrative functions of the College, along with Capital and Minor Works Projects, and Property and Facilities Management.

My extremely broad employment history, which ranges from Government and not-for-profit employment, to Agriculture and Construction, has gifted me a huge range of skills and knowledge which lend themselves perfectly to the Business Manager role at the College.

On a personal level, I’ve been married to Craig since 2000. We have two adult children, Tom and Abby, who live and work on the Fraser Coast. I completed a Bachelor of Commerce with the University of Southern Queensland, majoring in Accounting and Human Resource Management, as an external, mature-aged student. I have a deep love of learning, and intend to continue researching, learning and growing, as the world around me continues to change.