It is my pleasure to lead a Catholic College with a staff that model our values and that are committed to quality teaching and learning for all students. As a community we are very proud of the educational opportunities that we provide our students. We have high expectations for the achievement and personal conduct of our students. As a College we are not only focused on achieving success for all students, but also, on assisting the young people of our College to develop into fine young men and women of superior character. We strive to create a safe and friendly family environment where students can develop a passion for deep and lifelong learning. Our teaching focus is to provide a quality well-rounded education based on Gospel values. The charisms of our Marist and Dominican founding orders live on in our expectation and community values today. I extend an open invitation for you to visit the College and discuss how we can best meet your individual educational needs.
Before becoming a teacher I spent over 15 years as an Analytical Scientist at Unilever Research in the United Kingdom. I started my teaching career as a Chemistry teacher at Helsby High School in Cheshire UK in 2003 teaching years 7 to 13 with a focus on developing extension programs for gifted and talented students in Science. I moved to New Zealand in 2007 working at James Hargest College teaching Science and Chemistry. I have now been at Verdon College for over 10 years holding various roles including Head of Science, Year 12 Dean, Assistant Principal, and my current role as Deputy Principal.
I still enjoy being in the classroom teaching Chemistry and trying to inspire and pass on my knowledge to the next generation of budding Scientists. Teaching is all about positive relationships and rapport with the students and helping them to be the best they can be. In my role as Deputy Principal, I enjoy getting to see all students developing at the College through their endeavours in the classroom and cultural and sporting activities.
Head of Junior School/Assistant Principal
After completing a Bachelor Of Education at Otago University and a Diploma in Teaching I spent several years teaching all levels of primary students in Wairoa, then Dunedin. Overseas travel beckoned, and my husband Shaun and I left New Zealand and worked and travelled in England and Europe for three years before returning to New Zealand in 1990 to live in Lower Hutt. In Lower Hutt I taught various class levels from years 1 - 8 before being appointed Deputy Principal of St Patrick’s Wainuiomata in 1993. I took maternity leave with our son in mid 1994 and then moved to Invercargill in late 1995.
In Invercargill I continued to relieve in Catholic primary schools while bringing up a daughter and another son prior to returning to teach full time at St Theresas in 2005. In 2006, following the reorganisation of all junior schools in Invercargill I joined Verdon College as a Year 7 classroom teacher. In 2008 I was appointed Assistant Principal and Junior School Leader, with responsibility for the Year 7 and 8 area.
My three children have all been through Verdon College. I am very proud of them and their achievements, both academic and sporting wise, that Verdon was able to provide for them. The Verdon values have provided multiple opportunities for them to achieve and aspire to be successful members of our community. I strongly believe that we need to work together to provide opportunities for students to achieve to the best of their ability and succeed at whatever they wish to in their life. Students who join the Verdon family at Year 7 will develop new friendships that continue well past their school days. This family spirit is a value that Verdon prides itself on.
After completing my degree at the University of Canterbury and subsequent teaching qualification at Christchurch College of Education, I moved south to take a position at Central Southland College. After four years there I moved to Northern Southland College as Head of Science and then took up a position at James Hargest College where I held roles such as Gifted and Talented Education Coordinator, Teacher in Charge Junior Science and Head of Science. While at Hargest, I worked in other schools around the South Island coaching them about Gifted and Talented Education and the teaching of Science. More recently, I had a year out of teaching working as the Southern Steel Team Manager, and I am also actively involved in Science Education in New Zealand, being past president of New Zealand Association of Science Educators.
I believe that a teacher has a unique opportunity to connect with and support students so they can achieve their own personal best. I enjoy working with young people in a variety of ways so they can have options after they leave school, and be set up for the next stage of their lives. Creating a classroom culture of hard work, personal excellence, and enjoyment is always my goal with any group I work with.
I began my teaching career as a History and Classical Studies teacher here at Verdon College in 2010. Over the years I have had a variety of roles including nine years as the Head of the Social Sciences Learning Area and also a few years as Senior Dean and Catherine House leader. In 2022 I joined the Senior Leadership Team and it has given me the opportunity to be involved in various other areas of the College.
I believe teaching is all about student centred learning. Inspiring students to be passionate about a subject and then follow that passion is exciting to watch. Education to me is about building relationships with students and preparing them for the future they choose to follow. I believe it is important that as educators we prepare students for the world.