Welcome to our new Junior School staff

New Junior School Staff 2019

It was a delight to welcome all our Abbotsleigh girls on Wednesday. The girls, both new and returning, looked wonderful in their summer uniforms. The stories of holiday adventures and early rises due to the excitement of being at school were very special to witness. I am looking forward to another highly productive, event filled year, and your part in that is welcomed. 

As this academic year opens, I take time to particularly welcome to the Junior School new teaching staff. To the Year 1 team we welcome Mrs Sarah Vincent who is highly qualified with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the UK. Sarah has been teaching since 1994 both in the UK and here in Australia. She comes to us from Pittwater House where she has been teaching girls in Stages 1 and 2. Sarah has also taken on leadership roles with particular interest in leading learning with colleagues. She brings warm optimism, enthusiasm and a proven track record of being instrumental in seeing children in her care thrive. 

To the Year 2 team, we welcome Miss Nicola Di Bernardo who completed her Bachelor of Primary Education in 2014 and has since been teaching at St Patrick’s and St Bernard’s, most recently on Year 2. She is renowned as an exemplary educator who enthuses and inspires children to give of their best. She has a particular interest and expertise in digital technology, especially with coding. Nicola has also committed extensively to social justice programs with St Vincent de Paul and through her local church. 

To the Junior School Specialist team, we welcome Mrs Kate Jacobs as our teacher of French to girls in Transition to Year 4. Kate has a Bachelor of Arts – Modern Languages (Hons) and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education – Modern Languages from the UK. She is highly experienced having taught languages both in the UK and Australia since 1994. Most recently she has taught French and German at the Hills Grammar School. We are thrilled to be able to appoint such an experienced educator who is truly passionate about supporting students to develop a love of language learning. 

The Science program is in excellent and experienced hands as we welcome back Mrs Sophie Burnett after taking leave to have her first child. Sophie is an experienced classroom teacher with a Master of Education and also a great passion for all things scientific with a first degree – a Bachelor of Science. Many of the girls already know of Mrs Burnett’s appetite for sharing her exploration of the world through daily links to the NASA Website and curiosity raised through exploration. The girls in Years 1-3 are certainly in for a fun time as they explore their world with Mrs Burnett’s support and teaching. 

The girls in Years 4-6 will be learning Science with Mrs Jac McCarthy who has a Bachelor of Systems Agriculture and a Graduate Diploma of Education. She is most experienced having taught Science for the past 10 years at St Joseph’s College, Normanhurst West Public School and most recently at Sydney Grammar St Ives. Enthusiasm and delight in sharing phenomena in our natural world are hallmarks of Jac’s teaching practice. We are also delighted that Dr Chris Preston will continue to teach Science to our Kindergarten girls and that Dr Ishara Gunesekere will also support our girls in building skills, knowledge and passion in the Science domain.  

In Transition we welcome across from the Abbotsleigh Early Learning Centre Mrs Rachel Mitchell who is a most experienced educator with more than 25 years of dedicated commitment to the needs of early learners. She has a Bachelor of Education and is a skilled pianist. After four years of exemplary practice in the 4-5 year old room in our ELC, we warmly welcome Rachel as the Transition teacher.  

To our Christian Studies team, we welcome back from Maternity Leave Mrs Lynne Verghese. While teaching Year 6 here for several years after starting her career at Claremont, we are delighted that Lynne will share her knowledge and deep faith with our girls through the teaching of Christian Studies and through Chapel. Lynne has been involved with Scripture Union for more than 10 years and has most recently taken up theological studies. Both Lynne and Alison Soper will ensure the School’s commitment to Christian engagement is well realised.  

We welcome back Miss Georgia Scott to the PDHPE Department while Michelle Penn takes Long Service Leave. Georgia has a Bachelor of Education: Human Movement and Health Education from Sydney University. She has already been a wonderful role model to the girls in terms of living out a healthy lifestyle and in encouraging the girls to do likewise; irrespective of ability. 

To our Administrative team we welcome Elise Della-Libera, Millie Love and Jacqui Wynne. Elise has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws, Cert III in Education Support and Cert IV in Business Administration. For the past seven years she has worked in a teacher assistant position at St Bernard’s Primary School. She is well qualified to work in support of our girls and staff. Millie has just completed her teaching degree after her schooling at Ravenswood where she was Captain of Sport and School Prefect. Millie is dedicated to growing her expertise as an educator here at Abbotsleigh. Jacqui is working to complete a Bachelor of Education and has extensive experience working as a Teachers’ Assistant at Wahroonga Prep School and prior to that, in early childhood. She has a passion for working with young people to help them achieve their potential. Our girls’ learning needs will certainly be well supported by the great expertise that each of our assistants brings. 

We have a most dedicated, professional band of educators passionate about working with the girls this year. I know that your daughters will benefit greatly from their diverse skills and dedicated commitment. 


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