Sophie Fenton is an education pioneer and designer, co-founding Sandridge School, Lumineer Academy and Luminaria Guild.
A lifelong educator, Ms Fenton started her career as a university lecturer in the humanities in the 1990s where she developed a new method for teaching in tutorials, whereby students engaged in highly experiential and purposeful learning activities. This formed the basis for what would become the signature of a teaching career defined by innovation.
Ms Fenton went onto become a secondary school teacher and has since worked throughout the education system as Chair of humanities faculty, head of teaching and learning, head of school and principal. Throughout her 25 years in education, she has been at the forefront of education innovation in curriculum and teaching practice design and staff development. She is an experienced Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) Examination Assessor in Global Politics, a writer of the VCE Global Politics Exam and a VCAA Reviewer of the Global Politics Study Design.
Completing her education platform for the Master of School Leadership at Monash in 2014 played a central role in developing Ms Fenton’s concept for schooling. Once she had defined her ideal school, she knew she couldn’t go back to the status quo and that she could turn that ideal into a reality.
In 2016, Ms Fenton co-founded Sandridge School based on her philosophy that the aim of schooling is to educate young people to become proactive members of the community who are deliberate and positive contributors in the world. This new kind of school prioritises relationships, being human, acting communally with a focus of positive citizenship and developing an ethical entrepreneurial mindset. In 2018, the school evolved further and was renamed Lumineer Academy. The aim at Lumineer is for students to develop the insight to shape a future world that is anchored in humanity and realised through invention.
Ms Fenton is also a co-founder of the design team behind the school, Luminaria Guild. Merging the worlds of education, startup entrepreneurship and tech, the Guild is a team of innovators, educators and entrepreneurs collaborating to shape an education that is purposeful and relevant.
Ms Fenton’s innovation in education has been recognised with National Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2012 and 2013, culminating in her being selected as the Australian Scholarship Group’s Australian Education Ambassador at the International Space Camp in Alabama in 2013.
Ms Fenton has consulted, coached and presented on curriculum development and teaching practice. She has been an advisor and panel member for the Victorian Curriculum Authority (Global Politics) and Social Education Victoria. In 2016, she was awarded Monash Distinguished Alumni in Education.