The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!


Russell Geisel tells his story of working as a teacher at Kuranda District State College.

This story is published in good faith.


There is a public interest in our Queensland school teachers' stories.

We need to understand what is really going on in our Queensland schools.



QLD Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 (Current 16 May 2014) Division 5 : Offences and Penalties.

S32 Failure to comply with Health and Safety Duty - category 2 Page 40.

A person commits a category 2 offence if -

(a) The person has a Health and Safety Duty : and

(b) The person fails to comply with that duty : and

(c) The failure exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness.




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In 2010 Russell Geisel was an Advanced Skills Teacher at Kuranda District State College.

In 2010 Russell Geisel was delivering both Cert 1 in Construction and Cert 1 in Engineering as a stand-alone Registered Training Organisation (RTO) at Kuranda District State College (KDSC).

Russell was also delivering the "Blue Card" Construction Safety Course through Housing Industry Australia as his parent RTO.

To get accreditation for these courses Russell had to write and submit programs to the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) and he also had to pass an External Audit.

None of these course had existed at Kuranda District State College before Russell Geisel arrived.

Russell Geisel was an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST).


But then Education Queensland set up a new Senior Teacher position to replace the AST classification.

And Russell had to re-apply for his Advanced Skills Teacher job (now called Senior Teacher).


Russell was very surprised when KDSC Principal Mr T. told him that he would not support his application to be classified as a Senior Teacher.


Russell sought advice on how to deal with this situation from his union - the Queensland Professional Officer's Association.

And the Queensland Professional Officer's Association advised Russel to write a protest letter to the Queensland Director-General of Education.

So Russell wrote to the Director-General of Education.

And the Director-General advised Russell to apply again for the Senior Teacher position in 2011.


Semester 2 2010 : Long Service Leave problems.

Russell applied for Long Service Leave during the second semester of 2010.

But Kuranda District State College had purchased approximately $20,000 worth of new equipment for Russell's classes.

Russell wanted to install the new equipment during the school holidays so he decided to withdraw his Long Service Leave application and work at the school during the second semester.

On the last Friday of Semester 1 at around 10.00am KDSC Principal Mr T. told Russell that he had to take his Long Service Leave.

Russell became very stressed and contacted the Cairns Regional Office of Education Queensland.

He told the Cairns Regional Office staff that it was stupid to force him to take Long Service Leave when $20,000 worth of new equipment needed to be installed.

His classroom was not safe to work in and any incoming teacher would have a massive job to get the room set up safely.

Russell had previously refurbished the senior Engineering workshop at Woree State High School during his Christmas school holidays.

There had been no problem at Woree State High School.

Russell could not understand KDSC Principal Mr T.'s attitude.

Russell felt that he was being harassed and the relief teacher was going to be put in a very difficult position.

During the school holidays Russell bumped into one of his previous student teachers.

This person informed Russell that, due to the illness of another teacher, Babinda School (Prep through to Year 12) needed a Manual Arts and Relief teacher.

So, with the agreement of the Cairns District Office of Education Queensland, Russell went to Babinda school and taught every student from Prep to Year 12 during semester 2 2010.

Towards the end of the semester, the Babinda school Principal informed Russell that he had to attend a hearing with two other education principals to fight a charge that he had abused the Public Service Act by taking the job at Babinda school.

It appeared that KDSC Principal Mr T. had informed the Cairns District Office of Education Queensland Russell was in breach of the Public Service Act because he had taken the job at Babinda school.

Russell sat through this breach of the Public Service Act hearing, saying a few choice words about the waste of time and stupidity of the situation.

Russell again felt that he was being harassed.

Scott Rodgers, Human Resources Manager at the Cairns District Office, allegedly sent a letter to Russell on 14 April 2011, clearing Russell of any wrongdoing.

Russell believes that he did not receive a copy of that letter.

Russell felt that the Queensland Professional Officer's Association had not been very helpful in dealing with the situation, so he resigned from the POA.

He joined the Queensland Teachers' Union. 

But Russell alleges that when he phoned (a named person working for) the QTU for help, he was treated with such distain, flippancy and lack of empathy that he might just as well have been talking to an Education Queensland public servant.

Semester 1 2011 : Managing Unsatisfactory Performance.

In 2011 Russell returned to Kuranda District State College.

The new equipment had only been partly installed in his KDSC classroom, so Russell's job was quite difficult.

But three weeks into the 2011 school year, KDSC Principal Mr T. placed Russell on a Managing Unsatisfactory Performance (MUP) process.

Russell passed KDSC Principal Mr T.'s MUP process.

But then Russell had to go through Principal Mr T.'s MUP process for a second time because, he alleges, Principal Mr T. struggled to master the paperwork for his first MUP process.

And so Russell passed the MUP process for a second time.


Russell then re-applied for the Senior Teacher award.

And Russell passed the Senior Teacher award!

So things were looking up for Russell at last.

But ...

(to be continued)

Russell worked at Cairns State High School.

Russell then worked at Cairns State High School for seven weeks.

Russell alleges that none of the CSHS Admin Team ever observed him teaching, or even came into a classroom in which he was teaching.

And none of the CSHS Admin Team offered him any professional advice or expressed any concern about his mental health while he was working at the school.

17 October 2014 : the Tactical Response squad arrive.

At approximately 3.00pm on 17 October 2014 two officers of the Tactical Response group of the Queensland Police appeared at Russell's door.

Cathy Heffernan, Assistant Director-General, Human Resources was allegedly worried that Russell might commit suicide.



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21 October 2014 : Russell Geisel's employment was terminated.

At approximately 3.00pm Russell Geisel allegedly received a hand-delivered letter from Cathy Heffernan, Assistant Director-General,  Human Resources, Education Queensland.

Russell's employment with Education Queensland was terminated.

His 41 years of service were terminated.



Russell feels that his productive work life ended 20 years too early.

Now no other agency will employ Russell unless he has a set of references from his last employer or line manager.

Russell is no longer a valuable human resource. 

Russel has become waste, spoiled, useless.

He has become a discard.

8 February 2015 update : Russell Geisel prepares to exhibit 'waste'.

For 41 years Russell had taken new materials and produced fine furniture and cabinet work.

He had wasted material and then discarded the waste.


Then Russell became waste himself.


Now Russell works with waste.

He takes material that is going to the dump or that is at the dump or the recycle yard and from this rubbish he creates artifacts.

And people want to buy Russell's artifacts!

If you think Russell's work is rubbish, you are correct.

Both the materials used and the person using the materials are rubbish.


But they are both valued.


Russell is currently preparing for two exhibitions of his work.

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