Staff

Who We Are

Come and meet the staff at St Mary’s!

Leadership Team

Hi Everyone, I’m Gabe Agius,  Deputy Principal- Diversity & Logistics. I have been teaching for 30 years in a variety of settings including small rural areas to large all boys College in both State and Catholic education and both Primary and Secondary. I have been at St Mary’s for the last 4 years and love this beautiful community.

I live in Gisborne with my husband Charlie and my four children, Courtney, Nathan, Kane and Mitchell.  I enjoy camping and fishing with my family (well really I just feed the fish).  I also love watching AFL especially Collingwood, cooking and spending time with my extended family and friends.

Hi everyone, My name is Justine Sapiano and I am Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching. I have been a teacher for over twenty years and have worked in many different types of schools. I have been lucky enough to work at St Mary’s for the last six years and love coming to work each and every day. The best part of my job is listening to students read and teaching them how to be great readers and writers. 

I am a mum of two amazing children whom I love to spend time with.  When I am not teaching, my favourite things to do are going to the theatre, reading, travelling and shopping.

Hi everyone, my name is Mrs (Shelly) Thrum. I am very lucky to be able to work with so many children across the school as the Faith and Wellbeing Leader. I have been teaching at St Mary’s for 23 years and I hope to still be here for many more years to come as it’s such an amazing community to be a part of.

I have three boys. Each attended St Mary’s when they were younger. I enjoy watching them play footy and basketball on the weekends and we love spending time together on holidays and boating together during the summer months. I barrack for the Collingwood Magpies and I love shopping, high heel shoes and jewelery.

Hi, my name is Jo Shannon and I’ve worked at St Mary’s since 2009.  I live locally with my husband and 2 children.  We have a beautiful Golden Labrador and a crazy multi coloured cat!  I enjoy warm weather, swimming, cooking (when I have time) and getting lost in a good book!

In recent years I’ve moved out of the classroom setting and into the roles of Community Liaison Leader and Pastoral Care as part of the Wellbeing team.  I love my role here at St Mary’s, it’s so varied and interesting and I get to work with the students across all levels.  I enjoy organising school events and making sure our students are able to experience many varied and wonderful opportunities within our local and wider community.
My role encompasses running the Environment Group and the Mini Vinnies which are great experiences for our students.
I look forward to continuing to get to know our students and working with them to make their school life as enjoyable and enriching as possible.

Office Staff

At the time of writing this I have been at St Mary’s for 8942 days. My official title is Office Manager, however, my job is multifaceted having many components to it. This makes every day an interesting day. I will most probably be the person answering the phone if you call and the first person you see upon entering the school. Personally I do things in two’s, two adult children, two Chihuahuas and two cats. I like to pretend that I am a good gardener as well.

My name is Sue Royle and I am the Communication Officer at St Mary’s. I have worked in Catholic primary school offices for over 20 years and have been at St Mary’s since March 2021. I love watching the kids grow from little Preps to Senior students and feel privileged to be a part of their school journey. I also work at Flemington Racecourse in the horse stalls and at Living Legends in Bulla, where all the retired racehorses live. So you can see that I do love horses! I ride a motorbike and love to do this on weekends with my husband. I’m a Mum to two kids who are now grown up, and a Nanna to 2 gorgeous grandkids and adore spending time with them too.

Foundation Team

Hi everyone, my name is Mrs Chris Zarb. I am one of the Prep teachers. Prep is such a special year and I feel very blessed to be the children’s first school teacher. I have been at St Mary’s for 24 years. I love the country environment, beautiful families and great staff I work with. It has changed a lot over the years but it has always had a special feel about it and I feel so lucky to be here. I  live in Gisborne and have three children of my own. They are nearly all grown up now. I also have a pet Greyhound Mel, who I love to bits.   In my spare time I love to read, run, ride my bike and go camping with my family.

Hi there! My name is Sarah and this is my very first year working in a primary school setting and I’m loving it!  I’ve come from a daycare kinder as the 3 year old kinder teacher.  I have been in childcare for 11 years before starting in my new role as an LSO here at St Mary’s.
I’ve got two beautiful children, Harper who is 3 and Asher who is 18 months old. My husband’s name is Shane and he is a member of Victoria Police.  I’m an animal lover and always have time for people. I love spending time with my family going on adventures. I moved to Australia when I was 11 years old from South Africa to start a new life here.
It’s been a pleasure working at St Mary’s and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here brings.

Hello everyone, my name is Mrs DeCarolis (Mrs D), I am very excited to be one of the Prep teachers. I have worked at St Marys Primary School for 5 years and have enjoyed every minute! I am so blessed to be a part of such a friendly and supportive community. I am a mad Blues supporter. I have two teenage children who both attended St Mary’s in their primary school years. I enjoy watching them play footy and netball. We have a few pets including a a puppy Lexi, a cat Ella, 2 sheep Buddy and Trent, and 8 chickens.

Hi everyone, my name is Nicole Caton. I have been a part of the St Mary’s team for just over 12 months now as an LSO and have enjoyed every minute of it! I have two daughters Ruby 10 and Kayla 7 who both attend St Mary’s. I enjoy playing netball, horse riding, cooking and spending time with my family.

Junior Team

This is my fourth year at St Mary’s and I currently teach Year 1/2. St Mary’s is my first ‘country’ school, although I have taught for many years in Melbourne and overseas. I feel very lucky to be part of the amazing St Mary’s team and love spending time with our fantastic students. I enjoy spending time in Lancefield during the week and head back to Melbourne on the weekends. In my spare time I enjoy walking with my Bushwalking Club. I also like camping and travelling with my friends and family.

I started working at St Mary’s this year (2023). It is a great work life balance for myself and my family having 2 young children that also attend St Mary’s. In my spare time I enjoy walking and listening to music and most of the time I do both of those things at the same time.

Hi my name is Rebecca Wilson and this is my second year teaching 1/2’s at St Mary’s. Prior to teaching I owned and operated a small occasional care facility. I have always been passionate about working with young children and have thoroughly enjoyed the transition into primary school teaching. I have three children of my own who keep me very busy with sport and everyday life. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my Golden Retriever Billie and holidaying by the Murray River in the summertime.

My name is Mrs Share and I am an LSO here at St. Mary’s School. I started working at St. Mary’s in 2022 and have loved every minute of it. In my spare time I enjoy staying active and spending time with my family.

Middle Team

I’m Colleen Breust, a farm girl raised in the wonderful small town of Ungarie, where the famous Big Sherrin stands tall. Currently, I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of the fantastic 3/4 team at St Mary’s Lancefield. Though I’ve ventured into city schools, my heart always draws me back to the country that I cherish.
What truly makes teaching a joy for me is the meaningful relationships I form with my students and their parents. When I’m not teaching or planning to teach, I indulge in my love for reading and enjoy watching movies at my favorite cinema, the Sun Theatre Yarraville, with a delicious choc top and popcorn.  Sports hold a special place in my life, and while I now spend more time watching than playing, the passion remains strong. Beyond the classroom, I spend time bike riding with my husband Paul and watching our two sport-loving sons, James and Liam compete each weekend.

My name is Mrs McLaughlin and I am one of the LSO’s for the 3/4 team. This is my first year working as an LSO for St Mary’s and so far I have enjoyed every moment of it. Prior to being an LSO, I worked as a Disability Support Worker for 11 years. I love working with and helping people. 

I live in Kilmore with my husband and two children. Elkie is almost 4 and Parker has just turned 2. In our spare time, we love getting out into nature, visiting zoos and animal farms, and finding new parks to explore.

Hi, my name is Ramona Baker. I am one of the 3/4 teachers and I have been at St Mary’s for 3 years. I have been teaching for 27 years and have had the opportunity to be a part of both country and suburban school communities. I am passionate about teaching and absolutely love seeing the personalities of my students grow and flourish. When I am not teaching, I enjoy socialising with family and friends, exploring new places, going to cafes and restaurants, traveling and camping (pretend camping in a caravan park with our air conditioned caravan!) with my husband and two children, aged 10 and 15. My cheeky dog is a German Shepherd x Siberian Husky. She is Storm by name and also by nature but my family and I love her to bits.

Hi, I’m Mrs Kilpatrick.

I started my journey at St. Mary’s in the Library, back in 1999. Over the years my roles have changed however my passion for the library and supporting our staff and students as an LSO have only grown.  I love our small community and look forward to supporting our students as they become lifelong readers and learners.

I have been at St Mary’s since 2020. I am currently one of the Year 3 / 4 teachers.  I have been in teaching for 19 years and still my absolute favourite part of being a teacher is seeing the students develop and grow, socially and educationally.
On a personal note I live with my two sons William and Charlie and my fur baby Sunny. I barrack for Essendon and love to travel.  My personal mantra is, Choose kind, Choose happy and Choose love.  I’ve tried to apply this in every aspect of my life and so far it’s held me in goodstead.

Hi everyone, this is my first year working at St Mary’s. I am enjoying my time as an LSO and love working with the amazing team at St Mary’s.  I live at home with my partner and our two fur babies Xander and Memphis.  I have two adult children, Connor and Mason.  During winter I love watching my sons play Australian Rules football.  My favorite sports are Australian Rules, cricket and basketball.  I support Collingwood and Melbourne United.

Senior Team

Hi there! My name is Courtney Kellett and I teach Grades Five and Six at St Mary’s. This is my first year at St Mary’s and also my first year teaching. I have loved teaching at St Mary’s and being part of this wonderful community. I live in Romsey with my partner and two dogs. When I am not teaching I am reading, camping and exploring new places with my dogs.

I have been working at St Mary’s as an LSO for 6 years but counting my placement..7 years!!
I am a mum of 2 boys..Aiden 13 and Coops 9. I  love footy and watching my boys play, as well as kids from school, makes my weekend! It’s no secret that I barrack for Essendon and once in a while when they win I’ll bring out the scarf! Another hobby of mine is travelling. My brother lives in the UK so I have plenty of opportunities to travel. In September my family will be going to Malta and the UK.
My favourite part of the day is greeting the kids at the door, the smiles are amazing!

I have been teaching at St Mary’s for two years and I have enjoyed every minute of being a part of this learning community. I have been teaching for seven years and I have been teaching Year 5/6 since I started teaching. In my free time I love going to local farmers markets. I also enjoying baking when I have the time. During the school holidays, my favourite thing to do is travel. I have been lucky enough to travel to Singapore, America ( 8 times!!) and China.

Hi Everyone, 

My name is Mrs Maureen Milner. I’ve been a Learning Support Officer for too many years to count! I love working with the team at St Mary’s and enjoy coming to work each day.  My role is in assisting with the development of each student I work with in their learning.  If I can help you in any way, just ask and I’ll do my best to assist.

Hi everyone,
I’m Mrs Awty and I am very fortunate to be teaching the gorgeous students in 5/6A this year. This is my 26th year as a teacher. I began my teaching career in Rosebud and have worked in inner-city and suburban Melbourne, as well as in the UK, before settling in the Macedon Ranges.
When I’m not at school, you’ll find me spending time with my family, ferrying my children to their after-school activities, catching up with friends, binging on Netflix series, and drinking coffee. I am a Carlton supporter but I live in a house full of  Collingwood fans so to keep the peace, I let them believe I am a Magpie through and through. (Go Blues!)

Hi, my name is Bianca and I have been working as an LSO for the last 5 years. This is my first year at St Mary’s Primary and I absolutely love working here with such an amazing team and wonderful students.
I love spending time with my husband and 4 children and going on fun adventures, especially up at our place in Porepunkah. Motorbikes, cars and collecting old things are some of my passions, especially working on our project cars. I am a mad country music fan and I love the  V8’s and Nascars.

Hello! My name is Mrs Newnham and I have been a teacher at St Mary’s since 2009. I have also been on the other side as a student at St Mary’s but that was a very long time ago!

At St Mary’s I have had lots of different roles but my favourite part of my job is definitely the children and families that I meet. I always try to make learning fun because I believe we learn best when we are enjoying school together. 

When I’m not at school you will generally find me doing something with my husband and 5 children. We love sport so our weekends are spent at footy, cricket, tennis, athletics …. We also LOVE the Western Bulldogs and go to lots of games.

Specialists

Hi, my name is Brenda Sammut, I am the Visual Arts teacher at St. Mary’s Primary School. I am passionate about teaching students how to explore, create and appreciate art.
I consider it a privilege to nurture students’ creativity, allowing them to express themselves in unique and meaningful ways.
Collaborating with my students, we delve into the lives of artists, drawing inspiration from their masterpieces to unlock new levels of creativity.
My journey as a primary school teacher has spanned 12 years, teaching various year levels. Currently, I’m in my second year of teaching Visual Art, a role that brings me immense joy.
Outside of school, I happily am married to Paul, and we cherish our time with our two lovely girls, Eloise and Amelie. I love to cook, bake, engage in arts and crafts, coffee dates (which must include some kind of sweet treat) and plenty of beach time in summer. Additionally, I find inspiration in painting textured artwork on canvas, a passion that resonates with my students and motivates them to unleash their creativity!

Hello! My name is Emily Armstrong and I have been teaching at St Mary’s for almost 2 years.  I am currently teaching Preps – Year 2 Performing Arts and throughouly enjoy seeing the students express themselves creatively through music, dance and drama. I have two young children, Sophie who attends St Mary’s in Prep and Max who is 3 who keeps my on my toes. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family, weekend camping trips, coffee dates and reading an endless amount of books. I’ve loved being a part of the St Mary’s community and getting to know the students and their families.

Hi everyone, my name is Mrs Giles and I am the PE Teacher. I have worked at St Marys Primary School for 14 years and have loved being part of such a great community. When I’m not at school l enjoy going away with my husband Steve, my two boys Lachlan and Darcy and my dog Zoe. I enjoy watching lots of different sports and the Melbourne Demons. I also spend my weekends watching my boys play footy. I like going for walks, cooking and camping with my family and friends.

My name is Tamara Manski and I have been working at St Mary’s since 2020. I teach the Specialist roles of Performing Arts and Wellbeing and have the great privilege of teaching and knowing all the amazing students at St Mary’s. I am passionate about the Arts and love going to the theatre and seeing live shows. It brings me great joy to see our students shine in performances at our school. I believe in the value of strong social connections and promoting awareness of positive mental health in our young people. I love walking in nature, reading and going on holidays with my family. I live with my husband and three children in the gorgeous Macedon Ranges. We have a loyal Border Collie Tilly and four naughty runaway alpacas.

Hello everyone! 

My name is Emma (Miss Croft) and I have now been a part of the St Mary’s community for 4 years as an LSO. I enjoy building relationships with the students and their families and love offering support in the classrooms. I am currently studying my Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education and look forward to completing this. In my spare time I enjoy playing netball for Riddells Creek, watching the AFL (go Bombers) and spending time with my family and my puppy dog Billy. 

Hi, I’m Anthony Ray, I’ve been at St Mary’s since 2021 and I teach Digitech (computers and digital technologies) and am the Information Communication Technology Coordinator. I’ve been a teacher for over 34 years, and have been teaching children how to use computers for about 30 years. I enjoy learning new things and using computers, I really enjoy playing computer games, especially racing games. I live with my wife, having grown up children and have 3 beautiful grandchildren that are growing up way too fast, one of whom also attends St Mary’s.