Meet The Teachers

We’re excited to meet you!

Meet Our Teachers

At the top of the list when measuring the quality of a school has to be the quality of the teaching staff. We are beyond fortunate to have a team of teachers truly dedicated to positive outcomes for all children.

Meet our teachers below!

Leadership & Administration

Aoife McCarthy

Aoife McCarthy

Principal

Hello Everyone, my name is Aoife and I’m proud to be the Principal here at Holy Cross. I joined the team in November 2021 and have loved getting to know our warm and welcoming community. I have a passion for learning and am on a continuous quest to find out more about the conditions we can create to ensure children are engaged and supported. I am excited about the possibilities that our land has to offer our children. Seeing and hearing the children exploring in the veggie garden or out and about in our wide open spaces brings me joy. I grew up in Ireland, all of my family live over there so my favourite thing to do is go back home and spend time with my five nephews and little niece. I love reading, spending time with friends and taking my two highly energetic dogs to the park to burn off some steam. My husband Cameron and I like to head off for long drives, go camping and check out wineries in our spare time. When we’re not doing that you’ll find us at Holy Cross pottering about in the garden, come and say hello!

Kellie McDonald

Kellie McDonald

Acting Deputy Principal

Hello Everyone, my name is Kellie McDonald and I have been so fortunate to have been a part of the Holy Cross community as both a parent for over 10 years and now a staff member for the past 7 years. During that time I have been welcomed by families and feel very privileged to get to know the generations that make up these families.
After teaching all year levels and then having my own children, I realised my passion lay with early literacy and I was so thrilled to be offered the opportunity to do further training in Reading Recovery. To be able to help children who are struggling to learn to read and write, even before they are aware, in Year 1, is so rewarding. I love celebrating children’s successes and seeing them accelerate and contribute in class with their peers. Currently I am in the acting Deputy Principal Role which again provides more opportunities to get to know the families and broader community that come together to make Holy Cross the school we are today.
Away from school I am happiest when spending time with my family. We have three children, our two boys are studying at university and my daughter is completing Year 12. All three of our children have always been involved in sport so we have spent many hours watching football, cricket, netball and tennis. We also love spending time with our extended family at Lake Eppalock and after a day water skiing, relaxing together listening to music, reminiscing and sharing stories always ends in lots of laughter and fun.
Kate Johnston

Kate Johnston

Learning & Teaching Leader

Hi Everyone!
My name is Kate Johnston and I am the Learning and Teaching leader at Holy Cross. I joined Holy Cross in 2022 and have loved being here in this beautiful landscape. Teaching has always been a big part of my life and I enjoy learning new ways of working
My family and I like to do lots of things in the local area. We often go for long runs together and visit a local cafe afterwards. We also enjoy going on nature walks and fishing. Most weekends my children play soccer, swim or participate in athletics. On a Friday night we often have family movie night or a games night.

Jill Cannon

Jill Cannon

Wellbeing Leader & Learning Diversity Leader Prep to 2

Hi there, my name is Jill Cannon and I work at Holy Cross as The Student Wellbeing Leader and the Learning Diversity Leader. My children attended Holy Cross when it first opened almost 25 years ago. I have been working here for the past 20 years and I love it for many reasons, but mainly due to the strong community of children, parents and staff.
I never tire of seeing the kids smiling faces as they come into school every single morning. It’s not a bad way to start the day!
In my free time my partner and I enjoy seeing live music, walking in the beautiful Macedon Ranges and catching up with family (4 kids and 6 grandchildren) and friends.

Kathleen Masters

Kathleen Masters

Learning Diversity Leader Grade 3 to 6

My name is Kathleen Masters and I share the role of Learning Diversity Leader at Holy Cross.
I began my teaching career at Holy Cross as a graduate in 2010. Since then, I have taught a variety of grades, including senior highschool. My passion in education is working with children with additional needs who require our extra attention and care. I believe in creating positive partnerships with families to ensure the child is always at the centre of what we do.
Holy Cross is, and always has been, such a welcoming place to be. Returning here to undertake this role in the community is a joy and a privilege.
I love living in the Macedon Ranges with my little family; my husband Ben, my daughter Evelyn and our two dogs Baxter and Kora.

Sue Grant

Sue Grant

Office Admin

Hi there, my name is Sue Grant and I work in the school office. I’ve been at Holy Cross for a long time and enjoy my job here very much.
Sue McKibbin

Sue McKibbin

Office Admin

Hi, my name is Sue McKibbin and I work in the office here at Holy Cross. My journey at Holy Cross started in 2007 when my son commenced Prep. In 2009, my daughter commenced and in 2010 I joined as part of the Holy Cross staff.
We have such a dedicated staff, wonderful students and very supportive parents. I feel very lucky to work in the office and deal with such lovely students and parents every day!

Rachelle Coats

Rachelle Coats

IT Support

My name is Rach, I grew up in the Macedon Ranges and now live here with my husband and children. I enjoy getting away in the caravan with my family and friends and looking after my plants, yep I’m a crazy plant lady! I’ve been at Holy Cross since 2015 and I absolutely love it here, we have such an amazing space and I really enjoy seeing the students getting outside and getting close to nature. I support the staff, children and parents with any ICT needs at school and sometimes assist our two Sues’ in the office.

Prep to 2 Teachers

Caitlyn Blake

Caitlyn Blake

Prep A & Outdoor Education Teacher

Wominjeka! My name is Caitlyn and I am one of the prep and outdoor education/ sustainability teachers here at Holy Cross. I first joined this wonderful community in 2015, before heading off to teach in England for 2 years. In 2019, I came back to teach in the Holy Cross community, and have been here ever since. I have a strong passion for the natural world, looking after our environment and caring for the land.
When I am not teaching, I love to garden, go hiking and bushwalking, or head off on an adventure in our caravan. I recently got married to my husband, James, and we live in Harcourt, surrounded by beautiful land and an abundance of farm animals- including 7 geese. We also have two whippets at home that we adore- Charlie and Nala.
Agnes Timmins

Agnes Timmins

Prep B

Hello everyone, my name is Agnes and I am delighted to be a Prep teacher at Holy Cross Primary. I love working at Holy Cross. Our school community is warm and welcoming and my colleagues are kind and generous. This creates a lovely ripple effect around our school and creates a very positive environment for our children to learn.
I believe there is nothing in the world like working with young children. Each day, I am witness to their explorations and get to share in their excitement and wonder. It is a great thrill to see a child develop into a happy, confident learner and a great gift to participate in that growth.
I live close by in Macedon and I love being surrounded by such natural beauty. I love going out for breakfast with family and friends and walking my dog Sparky. I also love having family gatherings where we eat, drink, tell stories and have lovely singalongs – a throwback to my Irish upbringing!

Alison McKenzie

Alison McKenzie

1A Teacher

Hello, my name is Alison McKenzie and I currently have the pleasure of teaching a delightful class of grade ones. I am forever grateful for the path that led me to Holy Cross (all those years ago!) and not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate the beautiful drive to and from school and all the natural beauty that surrounds (and includes) our school.
Growing up I was very fortunate to have been taught by many inspiring, warm and generous teachers, however the greatest gift that my favourite teachers afforded me was kindness.. This is so important to me and I just love building positive relationships with all of my students and their families and learning about the children’s interests, gifts and unique personalities. My dad is a retired TAFE teacher and I used to love being out and about with him, and witnessing the countless times his current and past students would call out his name and stop for a chat in the middle of a shopping centre or down the street. I am so delighted when this happens to me too, and I love to hear about all the adventures my past students are getting up to and how well they are flourishing and thriving in life. What a true gift and blessing this is.

Cathy Turner

Cathy Turner

1B Teacher

Hello, my name is Cathy Turner and I have had the great pleasure of being a part of the Holy Cross community for many years now. I currently work in the junior area and look forward to learning from my children each and every day.
I feel blessed and so very proud to work in an environment where our dedicated staff are so supportive of each other and provide such rich and authentic learning experiences for our children. Away from school you will always find me reading a book, in my garden and spending time with my family and friends.

Lana Gusak

Lana Gusak

2A Teacher

Hello, Holy Cross community. My name is Lana and I have joined the grade two team in 2022. I am a passionate learner and educator and I strive to continue to learn and grow in the world of education . At Holy Cross, the children are at the center of everything we do as educators and I am blessed to work alongside other educators that strive to meet the individual needs of each child’s personal journey.
I have lived in Gisborne with my husband and four children for over 10 years now. I am proud to be a part of this welcoming community and feel fortunate to have had my own children go through their primary school years at Holy Cross.
In my spare time, I love being with family, going for nature walks, having coffee with friends and watching my children play community sport.

Mel Cardillo

Mel Cardillo

2B Teacher

Hi there everyone, my name is Melanie and I am a Grade Two teacher here at Holy Cross.
I love being a teacher and I feel so very grateful coming to this place each day. It is a real privilege to work with the children, some days I can’t believe this is my job, I do enjoy it so.
Something special about Holy Cross is that we are surrounded by the beauty of nature. It is unique being in a position to watch the children learn and grow in this environment.   A kindness towards each other and our surroundings is cultivated in this way. It is not uncommon to hear Kookaburras as we work away together, giving organic pauses to the day. Same too we can stop and reflect upon the goodness in our world under the big, wide sky we reside under.
My family and I live in Gisborne also. We love to go to the beach and share funny times together. When I am not teaching I am usually spending time at the beach, bushwalking, painting, writing poetry or being very busy as a Mum to my two big teenage sons, Tim and Luke, whom I love with all my heart.

Grade 3 to 6 Teachers

Sharon Healy

Sharon Healy

3A Teacher

Hello my name is Sharon and I am currently one of the grade 3 teachers here at Holy Cross. I have been blessed to have been involved with the Holy Cross school community for over 10 years and I have forged many new friendships.
I can trace my desire to become a teacher back to my own primary school teachers. I hope to inspire my students to reach their full potential and follow their dreams. Although not a country girl growing up I love coming to school each day and am in awe of the surroundings that our lovely school is situated in.
When I can find some spare time I enjoy catching up with friends, reading, doing needle point, organising my stamp collection and watching musicals. I am blessed to have a special bond with my nieces and nephews and have spent many aunty times at concerts, sports events and tournaments cheering from the slide lines.

Amy Cavanagh

Amy Cavanagh

3B Teacher

My name is Amy Cavanagh and I’ve been a classroom teacher for 16 years now, 10 of which have been here at beautiful Holy Cross. I love being a member of this strong community of staff, children and families.
My love of teaching grew from when I was a young child and looked up to an amazing teacher of mine named Mrs. Bell. I hope I have the same influence and impact on the children I teach.
I have played the violin for 30 years. I studied at Melba Conservatorium of Music for three years before deciding to study Education.
I have a large family- 4 brothers and 14 nieces and nephews who I love dearly.
In my spare time I love to go to the footy with my family. I follow Carlton and have my whole life.
I love having family days out with my Husband James and children. Our ‘happy place’ is St Leonards and we often head there any chance we get.
I am half Maltese and have relatives in Malta that I love visiting. We can’t wait to take our children back there to see them all again.

Karina Romania

Karina Romania

3B Teacher

Hi there, I’m Karina Romania and I’m lucky to be a part of the Holy Cross village.
In my 6 years here I have worked full time, part time as Digital Technologies specialist and now I’m part time back in the classroom. I absolutely love bringing technology into the classroom! If there’s a way to do something digitally, I’m probably trying to make it happen. However it’s the everyday ‘a-ha!’ moments that make my job the best on Earth.
When I’m not at school I have my ‘whanau’ to keep me busy; my husband, two little girls, two whippets and a cat. And if that’s not enough, I enjoy baking then decorating cakes and sewing clothes, when I get the time!

Emily Merrett

Emily Merrett

4A Teacher

Hi my name is Emily Merrett and I have been teaching at Holy Cross since 2017. I have a unique history with Holy Cross as I attended the school from Grade 2-6. This has given me the opportunity to witness how our school has continued to grow and continues to be a welcoming school community which delivers high quality education and care for the children we teach and nurture.
I truly do love working at Holy Cross and being part of a collaborative and supportive staff. I believe every child should feel safe and free to be themselves as they discover their passions, develop their sense of curiosity and confidence. I am honoured to be able to support my students by fostering a safe and supportive classroom culture which assists them on their journey of learning and of self-discovery.
Sheree Sullivan

Sheree Sullivan

4B Teacher (covering for Brian Coughlan on leave)

Sian Leighton

Sian Leighton

5A Teacher

Hello everyone!
My name is Sian Leighton and I have joined the fantastic team here at Holy Cross Primary School in 2022. I absolutely love my job and look forward to the many exciting opportunities that each school day brings. I have the pleasure of working with the senior students in grade 5. I love watching them grow and take on new challenges in their learning. Outside of school, my family and I enjoy watching our team, the North Melbourne Kangaroos play footy. We also enjoy traveling and exploring our beautiful country that we call home!

Luke Wenczel

Luke Wenczel

5B Teacher

Hi, my name is Luke Wenczel and I am currently teaching Grade 5. I have been at Holy Cross for 15 years and in that time I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some outstanding and inspiring people. The staff here always have the child at the centre of everything they do.
I am passionate about education and assisting children in achieving success in their learning. I enjoy the many challenges that classroom teaching brings. Each year, I strive to create a classroom culture that thrives on respect, teamwork, effort and knowing that mistakes are part of learning. We work hard, but we have a laugh and great fun along the way.

Lisa Peake

Lisa Peake

6A Teacher & RE

Hi.  My name is Lisa Peake and I have been working at Holy Cross for 6 years.  I currently teach our grade 6 class.  I have also taken on the role of Faith Leader in 2022 and am loving the added challenge of supporting the students in their faith development.
Teaching has always been a huge part of my life and I feel that Holy Cross is the school where I’m meant to be. The staff and families are so supportive of one another and it’s a joy to come to work here every day.
When I’m not at work, I’m a very busy wife and mum of 3 gorgeous children, Lachlan, Victoria and Thomas.  We are heavily involved in our local tennis club in Sunbury, and all of my children enjoy a social hit.
My other great love is travel!  As a family, we have been on countless road trips around Australia and have even been fortunate enough to travel overseas a few times.  I couldn’t pick a favourite place, as we have made so many great memories in so many towns over the years.
Other interests of mine include musical theatre, painting and drawing, cooking, catching up with friends and spending time with my family.
I feel blessed to have such a wonderful job at Holy Cross.  It truly is a special place in our community.

Specialist Teachers

Helen Coughlan

Helen Coughlan

Performing ArtsTeacher

My Name is Helen Coughlan and I have been teaching Performing Arts at Holy Cross for the last 7 years. I love working with the children to develop their creative talents. I have as much fun as the children singing, playing, creating and performing.
When I’m not at Holy Cross I’m busy looking after my family whom I truly adore. I love family time and in particular going to the beach for holidays.
Kathy Shelton

Kathy Shelton

Visual Arts Teacher

My name is Kathy and I feel blessed to work amongst such a dedicated and inspiring team of teachers who strive to make learning rich and meaningful for all our students.
I’ve worked at the school as an art specialist for fifteen years now and have a greater appreciation for the way the arts complement learning, encouraging sensory exploration, emotional engagement and greater self expression. I enjoy challenging and extending the children’s creative ideas and I am often surprised by their imaginative interpretations, and the personal connections and sensitivity which they bring to a task. I am continually reminded of how unique and special they all are.
I have a wonderful family who I love to spend time with. Although my kids have grown up and left home, we still like to get away for short holidays together. Generally we go to places where we can do some hiking and spend lots of time outdoors in nature. I have a beautiful garden which attracts lots of birdlife and other creatures too! I enjoy spending time pottering in my garden when I’m relaxing. Recently I became a gran-gran which has been an unexpected joy and I love spending time chasing my very active grandson around.

Yoshi Uemera

Yoshi Uemera

Japanese Teacher

Konnichiwa! My name is Yoshi Uemura and I am called “Sensei” by students. I grew up in Japan, went to university in America, studied my Diploma of Education in Australia, and have been teaching Japanese at Holy Cross since 2004. I am doing my best to foster the friendship between my home country Australia and my mother country Japan, by introducing the language and the culture of Japan to Australian children.
I am a practitioner/instructor of two Japanese martial arts: judo and karate. I am also into rock music: mainly rock bands from the ‘60s such as The Kinks and The Small Faces. The list of my favourite Australian artists includes The Masters’ Apprentices, The Easybeats, EVEN, The Stems, Wesley Fuller, etc.
Please do not hesitate to greet me with “G’day” or “Konnichiwa” when you see me
Leonie Wallis

Leonie Wallis

PE Teacher & Outdoor Ed (3-6)

Hi my name is Leonie and this is my first year teaching at Holy Cross and so far I have loved being here. This is my second year teaching Sport and I love giving every child the opportunity to have a go, have fun and feel successful. Before I taught Sport I was a classroom teacher and have taught all classes from prep to grade 3. I have lived in this area for 5 years now before living in Suburbia so I am loving this tree change and all this wonderful fresh air. I am also teaching Outdoor Education to the years 3-6, and we have been focusing on Orienteering and Scavenger Hunts.
When I am not teaching I love spending time with my family and 2 dogs. We love going on picnics, walks,visiting cafes and visiting new places around this beautiful area. We do enjoy playing a game of Fornite as well.

Classroom Support Assistants

Natalie Burt

Natalie Burt

Learning Support Officer

My name is Natalie and I am blessed to work at Holy Cross as a Co Educator and facilitator of the reading intervention program Macqlit. I began working at the school in 2014 while my daughter was in grade 2 with the lovely Amy Cavanagh. Amy was so influential and fostered a love and passion for music / violin that still continues today. My daughter is currently in year 10 at Salesian and has a wonderful relationship and bond with Holy Cross. This is what makes our school so special, our beautiful and passionate teachers, a wonderful community spirit and a sense of belonging.
I am lucky to be supporting our grade 6’s this year – a role I cherish as we prepare our young people for their journey onto high school.
When I am not at school I love watching musicals especially live theatre shows. I also love travelling, spending time with family and having a coffee at the beach.
Bernie Stewart

Bernie Stewart

Learning Support Officer

Kath Pennisi

Kath Pennisi

Learning Support Officer

Hi, I’m Kath Pennisi, I have been part of the Holy Cross community since 2004 when my eldest daughter started as a preppie, followed by my twins in 2011. I have volunteered in classrooms supporting the younger levels with reading & been on some wonderful excursions. Met lifelong friends at the working bees and have laughed & danced at social events.
In 2017 I joined Holy Cross as Learning support.
It brings me joy everyday, to be supporting our wonderful staff & students.
When I’m not at school I love to catch up with family & friends to celebrate any occasion. I love a good chat. Wander around a market. The ocean is where I love to revive, luckily my family live in Queensland, I get to visit a few times a year, otherwise I’m on the Mornington Peninsula
Leanne Wilson

Leanne Wilson

Learning Support Officer

Hi my name is Leanne Wilson I feel very blessed to be a Co educator at Holy Cross. I love coming to work each day knowing that I’m here to help and support each and every single student to believe in themselves to do the best they can. Nothing is ever impossible. We work together to make it possible . Holy Cross is a supportive and caring environment to work in.
When I’m not at Holy Cross I’m hanging out with my family cooking up a storm or cheering along the tigers.
Maryanne Johnston

Maryanne Johnston

Learning Support Officer

Hi, my name is Maryanne Johnstone and I work as a Co-Educator here at Holy Cross. My 4 children attended Holy Cross from when it first opened and during their time here I volunteered and helped out in any capacity that was needed. Then in 2008 when my final child was in Grade 6 I was given the opportunity to become a Co-Educator. Fourteen years later and having been involved with many classes and children, I still love coming to Holy Cross and being able to make a difference to our young people. Outside of school, catching up with family is very important to me now that we have 2 granddaughters to cuddle.

Wendy Tattersal

Wendy Tattersal

Learning Support Officer

Hi, I’m Wendy
I just love my job as a co-educator, getting to work with amazing children, often those with additional needs. Making connections with the children throughout their journey at Holy Cross, seeing them grow, learn and achieve their goals is very rewarding.
I feel privileged to work in such an environment. How lucky we are to have so much open space to use for learning, have access to our veggie patch, chicken coop etc and be surrounded by trees and Mt Macedon.
I am also a family support worker and I have 4 children of my own. When I’m not working I am watching my boys play soccer, roller skating with my daughter, having family game nights, or long lunches with friends. I’m a lover of the outdoors, sports, arts and music.

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