Ms Sharon Sopher
Ms Sharon Sopher is passionate about transforming lives and providing Kingdom Education that develops lifelong learners. She believes that God has called her to lead and serve in a way that will assist students to “grow up into Christ.”
Sharon has worked in Christian Education for 31 years and has extensive leadership experience in education and ministry contexts. She is dedicated to ensuring that our graduates emerge from the College as creative and innovative problem solvers able to think critically, yet maintain a strong sense of self and identity. She desires that our graduate attributes would assist students to be community focussed, strong relationship builders and wise choice-makers with sound Christian values.
Sharon takes seriously the noble task of preparing students to be future fit for their lifetime, and future fit for eternity. Her prayer for the College is that it would become a place of shalom where students and staff grow into the wholeness of all that God intends, and in the process, BCC becomes a beacon of light and hope for the whole community. It is for this reason that she is excited about leading our team of professional educators and colleagues at BCC.
Head of Secondary, Assistant Principal
Mr Steve Tidey
Mr Steve Tidey has been teaching for 40 years in both the public and private sector. He remains a passionate educator who is engaged in his profession and is committed to students and their learning. He believes a relational approach is integral to the holistic growth and development of students at the College so that they gain a real sense of belonging, are encouraged on the journey to believing, and are empowered on the pathway to becoming everything God has intended for them. His deep desire is to see students transformed so that they not only discover, but also hone their gifts and abilities in order to better serve God and others.
Since coming to Christian schooling in 2005, he has embraced the significance of maintaining the Christian distinctive in his teaching as an essential element of an expression of his faith. As Assistant Principal and Head of Secondary School, Steve ensures the careful, efficient and effective organisation of the general day-to-day running of the College. He also oversees the implementation of the Years 7 -12 curriculum, Pastoral Care and Student Wellbeing in accordance with the College’s Vision and Mission.
Mr Bill Truscott
Mr Bill Truscott is a lifelong believer in Christian education. He was born in the South Pacific to missionary parents and grew up in and around Christian schooling. This has brought about a natural love for reaching out to young people and expanding the impact of the Kingdom.
Bill has worked in a variety of leadership roles, both within Christian schooling and in other church-based not for profit organisations. These roles have seen him live and work in various countries including extended time in Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
As a visionary, Bill brings a strategic focus to the operational and financial management aspects of the College. He is most happy when he is working to support students and teachers achieve their best.
Outside of work Bill enjoys the outdoors. He is a keen hiker and loves to travel and take photos of God’s amazing creation.
Head of Primary
Mrs Leoni McNeill
Leoni McNeill, Head of Primary, has been serving in education for over 30 years. She has experience as a progressive educator in varied and broad contexts, from Primary, Adult and Early Childhood Education. Leoni’s love of children and their learning is highly evident. She is committed to empowering and supporting her students in leading them towards meeting their unique, God-given potential.
Together with a Master of Educational Leadership, Leoni’s passion for education equips her with authentic background and experience which enables her to steer her Primary team towards 21st Century teaching and learning, with excellence. Leoni is earnest in her pursuit to provide children with state-of-the art education from a Christian worldview. She leads her Primary staff and the teaching of students at Belmont Christian College from a holistic perspective, with an intentional Christ-centered focus. Leoni is intent on continuing to pursue best teaching and learning practice today, for the individuals of society tomorrow, based on the truth of God’s Word.
Director of Teaching & Learning
Ms Melanie Melcum
Ms Melanie Melcum is an enthusiastic educator who believes that every child deserves the opportunity to learn and rise to their full potential. She pursues an authentic Christian faith and endeavours to demonstrate God’s love as she undertakes her various roles at the College.
Melanie has worked as a teacher for the past 20 years in a number of faculties and is now privileged to serve as the Director of Teaching and Learning. She is passionate about supporting the teaching staff to provide excellence in education for the students of the College.
Melanie believes that innovation in education is the key to a successful future for the learners of today and tomorrow. She endeavours to ensure students are provided with every opportunity to learn the skills they need to progress into their adult life with confidence and optimism.
Director of Student Services & Wellbeing
Mrs Bronwyn Rappeneker
Mrs Bronwyn Rappeneker is an experienced educator with a Masters in Education. Bronwyn has had teaching experience across Primary, Middle and Secondary School’s, and has successfully implemented educational models that reflect best practice. She has ably established and led a Middle School, was head of the Biblical Studies faculty and is now our Director of Student Services and Wellbeing.
Bronwyn believes that the transforming power of God’s love is the essential underpinning for decision making in all aspects of working with students. Bronwyn endeavours to lead and teach from a Biblical relational model, seeking to recognise the intrinsic worth of every person in the school community. She aspires to provide an environment where students are well supported, encouraged and challenged to achieve their God-given potential.
Mr Nathan Baker
Nathan has experienced the College journey first-hand. Having spent his entire school life as a student at BCC, his final year was spent as school captain in 1997. Now as a parent of a child at the College, Nathan continues to witness the impact it is having on the lives of its students, both spiritually and academically.
Nathan and his family joined Belmont Baptist Church in 2016 upon returning to Lake Macquarie after a period of time away. Immediately they felt at home and are blessed to be a part of the church family, with Nathan and his wife Alison serving in the area of children’s ministry.
Nathan has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Newcastle and brings with him a background in supply chain and procurement across the manufacturing, mining and higher education industries.
Mr Philip Skipsey
Philip has been attending Belmont Baptist Church since 1966 and is a dentist in solo private practice. He is married to Sophia, a dentist in public health, and their two children, Mitchell and Jessica, both completed their early schooling at Belmont Christian College.
A Deacon, and now Secretary of Belmont Baptist Church, Philip initially served on the College Board as appointed Pastoral representative of the church, in lieu of a permanent Senior Pastor from December 2014 to August 2016. He continued as a formal Board Appointee until May 2017 when he was elected as a full Board Member.
Philip is also involved in management committees for Christian Churches Soccer and referee associations in Newcastle.
Mrs Beth Cockerell
Beth is married to John and they have been worshipping at Belmont Baptist Church since 1973. She has seen how God has blessed the Church and the College through their shared ministry, which, over many years, has encouraged children to “Grow Up Into Christ.” Beth is a retired High School teacher, who was appointed to the Board in 2015.
Mr Jared Gilkison
Jared brings with him a genuine understanding and passion for Belmont Christian College. He is the first BCC graduate to sit on the Board and regards the College as an invaluable springboard into adult life and his Christian faith. Jared now considers himself fortunate to play a small role in the College’s ability to positively shape lives into the future.
Jared spent 10 years in Christian ministry around Australia before returning to Newcastle recently to work in the family business. He is currently a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Vice President at Redhead Surf Club and enjoys a social game of rugby on a weekend.
Mr Shaun Hassall
Shaun is a follower of Jesus with a strong passion for seeing the gospel spread in the local Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region and attends Hunter Bible Church (HBC) where he serves actively. Having spent nearly 8 years in senior management and Executive roles in the financial institutions sector, Shaun has, by the grace of God, established a strong business, corporate and financial skillset and is currently the Chief Financial and Transformation Officer at Newcastle Permanent. Shaun is passionate about using his commercial skillset to contribute to Belmont Christian College’s plans to see children come to know and love their God and Saviour and achieve their God given talent in this world that they might bring glory to Him.
Mr Mark Riethmuller
Mark has 10 years experience working with Churches and now serves as the Lead Pastor at Belmont Baptist Church. Previously Mark also studied and worked in the IT Industry (Web Development). Mark is currently completing a course with Arrow Leadership while balancing family life with his beautiful wife Cassy. Together they are blessed with four sons Noah, Jacob, Samuel and Reuben. Mark is a basketball enthusiast, coffee advocate and gamer.
Mr John Betterridge
John is a committed Christian and retired teacher who has been a member of Belmont Baptist Church for nearly 50 years. As a member of the committee that was tasked with getting the school started, John has had a keen interest in the school from its inception and his 2 children attended from Kinder to Year 12. After 18 years teaching in the public sector, John served as Assistant Principal of BCC for 23 years and, on occasions, as acting Principal. He has grandchildren in the College and is committed to quality Christian education. He believes firmly in the close partnership between parents, their church and the College to grow children up into Christ.