the ruyton reporter
Women of Significance
Jane Hadjion (Marsden
‘01) has enough energy to
power the Boeing 787s
she used to help build!
After graduating she
accepted a role at Boeing
as a materials engineer in
She now runs her own company, Cleverist, and is
also a Director part time at Engineers without
Borders (EWB) – thinking, creating and engineering
a better world. And yet you still get the sense she is
waiting for the next challenge to confront her.
In 2014 she worked at Ruyton alongside Science
teachers, supporting the development of new
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)
In Year 10 Jane attended a Space Camp in Melbourne
organised via the Universities and through this
was nominated as only one of two Australian
students to attend NASA as part of the student Space
Science programme. Jane has a Bachelor of
Engineering (Aerospace) and a Bachelor of Applied
Science (Avionics). She studied for a Master of
Entrepreneurship and Innovation and began
a Masters of Business Administration. Jane now
works to make connections between students and
the scientific and technical communities so that
learners can have mentoring from a range of
Looking back now Jane really values the sense of
community at Ruyton and the opportunity to do
a myriad of activities because of the size of the
School. She is also in awe of the care the teachers
displayed to all the girls at School, genuinely wanting
them to succeed. She says that her greatest
achievement to date is the courage to leave the
corporate world and to recognise that her skills are
not just tied to her chosen career path.
is enormous pressure to reach the top of your industry
or career, but are you using your talents to really make
Jane was our guest speaker at the Ruyton Lunch.
We unpack our baskets under the magnificent canopy
of the Moreton Bay Fig tree. Someone has brought
pink roses. It is late afternoon during the summer
holidays and the lovely gardens of Henty House are
serene. This place is the heart of Ruyton and here
it was in 1992 that I invited Jennifer Nicholls to accept
the position of Deputy Principal; a role she would
fulfill with distinction, resilience and strength.
The group of former staff who gathered some weeks
ago had all worked very closely with Jennifer during
her long association with Ruyton from 1981 to 2009.
For us, Jennifer’s death in October last year
represented the loss of a colleague who created
memories of Ruyton that will never be forgotten.
Others have recorded their valedictory messages
about Jennifer’s prodigious skills and her outstanding
qualities as a teacher and administrator when
she resigned from the staff in 2009. Five years later
I have both the privilege and sorrow of writing a final
message of farewell. During the fifteen years we
worked together, Jennifer moved from History and
English teacher to Head of Department and thence
to Level Co-ordinator.
It was, however, in the role of Deputy Principal that
she excelled. In this position, Jennifer had the scope
to demonstrate her humanity, clarity of thought and
exceptional organisational skills to all members of the
School community. Her loyalty to the School and her
courage in the face of conflict were matched by
intelligence and commonsense, complemented by a
wit that was second to none.
Always committed to the essential spirit and ethos of
Ruyton, Jennifer was also the voice of reason when
new ideas were being explored, particularly from the
Study! From pageants to induction services; speech
nights to staff farewells; changes to the uniform to
new curriculum directives, Jennifer was equal to
them all. Our daily meetings were often feisty affairs,
as enjoyable for deciding where our opinions diverged,
as much as when we found complete accord.
At School Executive and staff meetings, Jennifer’s
focus on the matter in hand was legendary, although
she was never quite able to resist the need to inject
humour into more ponderous discussions.
Peter and Jennifer Nicholls were each other’s soul
mate and they both delighted in their son, Michael
and his achievements, great and small. For Jennifer,
home was her ultimate solace and her little family
her greatest inspiration. She was able to be at
Michael’s wedding to Vicky; a very wonderful event
which took place on a beautiful Greek island just
weeks before she died.
The dusk has begun to deepen as we collect our
belongings and take up the threads of our current
lives, comforted by our shared recollections.
We scatter pink rose petals over the roots of the
great old tree, reassured that its strong branches will
remain an enduring witness to Jennifer Nicholls and
her fondly remembered legacy to the School in
Recte et fideliter.
Ms Prue Gillies,
Principal of Ruyton, 1985 to 1999
How we shall miss her intelligent advice and
I was very privileged to have Jennifer Nicholls as
my Deputy Principal. As both a teacher and school
leader, the best interests of Ruyton girls were her top
priority. In everything she did she was respectful of
others, discreet and loyal. She was a wonderful role
model for girls, an excellent speaker, problem solver
and trustworthy colleague. She enjoyed her teaching
and regretted having to relinquish the classroom due
to administrative pressures and so she concentrated
on developing the skills and talents of the teaching
staff so that they could inspire the girls. Jennifer was
committed to ensuring that the pastoral care of the
girls was a top priority, believing that only when girls
felt safe, confident and were having fun could they
most effectively reach their true potential.
She also recognised the importance of girls
participating in decision making when those
decisions affected their learning and their school life.
Under her guidance student Assemblies were always
appropriate, were never boring, maybe sometimes
slightly risqué, but that is possible in a girls’ school.
As I remember Jennifer, I immediately envisage
a group of Ruyton girls sitting on comfortable lounge
chairs, perhaps a few on the floor, gathered around
a fire. In the middle is a coffee table with a bowl of
chocolates, on the desk is a vase of pink roses and
Jennifer, her rings reflecting the light from the fire,
is listening intently as the girls vivaciously expand
upon their latest suggestions for bringing joy to the
Jennifer, our friend, is greatly missed and forever
Ms Carolyn Anderson,
Principal of Ruyton,
2000 to 2010