Meet the Head of Junior School and Senior Leaders

Meet the Head of Junior school, Ms Sally Ruston AM


To see our Junior School girls demonstrating such curiosity, wonder and delight as they engage in challenging learning opportunities is truly a privilege.

As Head of Junior School, Ms Sally Ruston collaborates with her educators to create an environment where learning is seen as ‘good hard fun’ and all girls work at their edge of competence so that personal best outcomes are the expected reality. Abbotsleigh’s culture of excellence, in which girls thrive, is underpinned by a strong support for wellbeing where students are taught how to collaborate, problem solve, think critically, innovate and persist through challenges.

Ms Ruston is a passionate and experienced educator who has been teaching for over 30 years in the Independent Sector with over 20 of those years in girls’ education. She holds both a Master and Bachelor of Education and a Graduate Diploma in Computers in Education. In 2019 she was named the Australian Independent Primary Principal of the Year. In 2022 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Western Sydney University and an Order of Australia (AM) for her contributions to education and professional associations such as the AIS.

Sally Ruston has been Head of Junior School at Abbotsleigh since 2000 and is a strong and vocal advocate for quality teaching and learning for our youngest of children in nursery onwards. Her advocacy for early learning and primary education has taken her to the national stage as Independent Primary School Heads Australia (IPSHA) Federal President and to the Australian Primary Principals Australia (APPA) Board as Deputy President where she has championed the need for high quality, accessible curriculum through representation and submissions to ACARA, AITSL and NESA.

The potential of a child is the most intriguing and stimulating thing in all creation. Ray L Wilbur.


Meet the Deputy Head of Junior School, Mrs Carmen Gaspersic


With a strong belief in valuing student individuality and placing wellbeing at the heart of her role, Mrs Carmen Gaspersic is committed to creating a nurturing environment where every student can thrive and engage in learning that inspires them to achieve their personal best.

Mrs Gaspersic holds a Bachelor of Education and Certificate of School Management and Leadership from Harvard. She has held several leadership roles across a variety of Independent schools in Sydney and has been the Deputy Head of Abbotsleigh Junior School since 2020.

Carmen values the meaningful relationships she develops with students, parents and staff and sees these connections as important foundations for a supportive and collaborative educational community.


Meet the Transition to Year 2 Coordinator, Mrs Peita van Bussel


Peita has led our youngest Junior School learners as the Transition to Year 2 Coordinator since 2017. Joining Abbotsleigh in 2010, her commitment to nurturing student success has been evident in her various roles across the Junior School. Valuing life-long learning, Peita holds a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education, a Postgraduate Diploma of Special Education, Masters of Special Education and a Graduate Certificate of Educational Wellbeing.

Peita firmly believes that success emerges from strong academic foundations, with the careful cultivation of skills in critical thinking, problem-solving and perseverance. She holds a voluntary position as part of the NESA Teacher Expert Network, advising on curriculum reform and reviewing the new syllabus documents and support materials, prior to their release. Peita is deeply committed to the wellbeing of girls, fostering initiatives to broaden social-emotional learning and deepen connection and empathy among the students. She delights in the girls’ sense of wonder, encouraging agile and deep learners.