Denis Matthews

Denis puts people first

Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Brenton Stacey
About the Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Long-tenured teacher a ministry of teaching advocate

Thirty years teaching in the one school is a significant professional accomplishment but not for Denis Matthews, who cannot remember “a dull day.” He began at Brisbane Adventist College the year after graduating (BEd, 1993) and continues there to this day. Rather than length of tenure, he notes the significance of implementing a restorative practice behaviour management model. A focus: aligning the model with the gospel principles of forgiveness and grace.

Denis met “the love of my life” in the staff room during his second year of teaching. He married Shelley Copland in 1997 and the two have been blessed with a son, Oliver.

During his late teenage years, Denis became friends with Murray and Linda Hunter, teachers at the Seventh-day Adventist school in Rockhampton. Their influence helped develop a passion to make a positive difference in the lives of other young adults through the ministry of teaching. “I love Jesus and seek the beauty he sees in us all,” says Denis. This brings to life “a joy and positivity that is rock solid.”

That passion to make a difference—and as Denis’s relationship with God deepened, to share his faith—became stronger at Avondale, “some of the best years of my life.” Denis describes his classmates and lecturers as “inspirational and beautiful people, many of who have become lifelong friends.”

His advice to alumni of Avondale: “Although life can feel hectic, look for opportunities to reach out to your classmates. When you do, encourage them because they probably need that as much as you do.”

While Denis values time with his friends (and a round of golf or snowboarding), time with family takes precedence, “whether relaxing on weekends or holidaying on the Sunshine Coast or as part of an occasional overseas adventure.” The most recent destination: Europe, “where we shared countless incredible experiences and created beautiful memories.”

The Class of 1993 honours Denis Matthews for a career dedicated to a ministry of teaching that puts people first.

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