Staff

Who We Are

Come and meet the staff at St Mary’s!

Leadership Team

Agius, Gabe

Gabe Agius

gagius@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi Everyone, I’m Gabe Agius Principal of St Mary’s. 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 since 2020 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.

Thrum, Shelly

Shelly Thrum

sthrum@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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 Acting Deputy Principal of Faith, Logistics and Wellbeing. I have been teaching at St Mary’s for 24 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.

Shannon, Joanne

Joanne Shannon

jshannon@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi my name is Mrs 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.

Baker, Ramona

Ramona Baker

rbaker@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi, my name is Ramona Baker. I am the Learning and Teaching Leader as well as the Maths Leader and have been at St Mary’s for 4 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 students learn, 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 11 and 15. My cheeky dog is a German Shepherd x Sibarian Husky. She is Storm by name and also by nature but my family and I love her to bits.

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Benita Munari

bmunari@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi! My name is Benita Munari and I feel very fortunate to be joining St Mary’s this year as a Year 5/6 teacher and Literacy Leader. I think I have the best job in the entire world! Everyday I get to help children learn, knowing that their dreams will become our future. I feel incredibly grateful and humbled to be part of something so wonderful.
When I’m not at school I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, learning, fishing, going on holidays, completing projects around the house and cheering on the mighty Bombers! I live in Kilmore with my husband Pete, my children Tess, Maggie and Bridget, a cheeky Kelpie named Tilly and an old Staffy named Ruby.

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Bianca Gleeson

bgleeson@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello everyone, My name is Bianca Gleeson and I am the Learning Diversity Leader. I have been teaching for over 10 years and this is my first year at St Mary’s and I have loved every minute so far.
I live in Wallan with my husband Michael, my two children Sophie 3 and Tommy 18 months and my crazy golden retriever Bonnie. In my spare time, I love to read, go camping, take my kids on adventures to the zoo or a park and spend time with extended family.

Office Staff

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Geraldine Clarke

clarkeg@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

At the time of writing this I have been at St Mary’s for 8942 days. My official title is Officer 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.

Royle, Sue

Sue Royle

sroyle@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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 22 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 Mounting Yard and at Living Legends in Bulla, where all the retired racehorses live. So you can see that I do love horses! I love riding my Can Am motorbike (3 wheeler) and often go away on a motorbike riding weekend with my husband, who rides his own motoribike. I’m a Mum to two grown up children and a Nanna to 2 gorgeous grandkids.

Foundation Team

Zarb, Chris

Chris Zarb

czarb@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi Everyone, I’m Chris Zarb. I have been at St Mary’s since 1999! I love the country environment, beautiful families and the caring staff I work with. But most of all I love teaching my amazing students. They brighten up each and every day. St Mary’s has changed a lot over the years but it has always had such a special feel about it and I feel so lucky to work here. I live in Gisborne myself where I have raised three wonderful children with my husband Adam. I also have a pet greyhound Mel who I adore. In my spare time I love to read, run, ride my bike and go camping with my family and friends.

De Carolis, Nadia

Nadia De Carolis

ndecarolis@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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 7 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, 1 sheep Trent, and 8 chickens. In my spare time I love going on holidays and spending time with my family.

Caton, Nicole

Nicole Caton

ncaton@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi everyone, my name is Nicole Caton.
I have been a part of the St Mary’s team for nearly two years as an LSO and have enjoyed every minute of it!
I have two daughters Ruby 11 and Kayla 8 who both attend St Mary’s.
I enjoy playing netball, horse riding, cooking and spending time with my family.

Smith, Courtney

Courtney Smith

csmith@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

This is my second year as an LSO at St Mary’s. This year I am working with the preps. I have been really enjoying watching the growth in the Prep’s in a such a short amount of time, I can’t wait to see what fantastic things they can continue to achieve in the coming terms. . In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family going on adventures to the beach and going to the football to support our favourite team.

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Pam Choate

pchoate@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

My role at St Mary’s is a LSO with the preps on a Thursday for specialist classes.
I also fill in as a casual relieving LSO as required and have done so for a number of years. I thoroughly enjoy working with the beautiful students and dedicated team at St Mary’s school.

Junior Team

Bey, Joanne

Joanne Bey

jbey@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

This is my fourth year at St Marys and I currently teach Year 1/2. St Marys 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 Marys 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.

Share, Lauren

Lauren Share

lshare@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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

Croft, Emma

Emma Croft

ecroft@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello everyone!
My name is Emma (Miss Croft) and I have now been apart of the St Mary’s community for 5 years as an LSO and this year I am teaching in year 1/2. I enjoy building relationships with the students and their families and am loving my role as a teacher. In my spare time I enjoy playing netball for Riddells Creek, watching the AFL (go Bombers), and spending time with my family, friends and my puppy dog Billy.

Biderman, Sarah

Sarah Biderman

sbiderman@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello! My name is Sarah and this is my 2nd year working at St Mary’s 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 and Asher. 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.

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Tahlia Pearce

tpearce@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello! My name is Tahlia Pearce, This is my first year at St Mary’s & I’m enjoying this amazing community, I’ve been working as Education support for the past seven year.
My partner Jason & I have three sons, Patrick, John & Riley and Jessie our beautiful dingo-husky fur-baby, we all love going camping, sitting next to the fire listening to music & fishing.

Middle Team

Kilpatrick, Michelle

Michelle Kilpatrick

mkilpatrick@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi, I’m Mrs Kilpatrick.
I started my journey at St. Marys 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.

Milner, Maureen

Maureen Milner

mmilner@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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.

Armstrong, Emily

Emily Armstrong

earmstrong@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello! My name is Emily Armstrong and I have been teaching at St Mary’s for 3 years. I am currently teaching Year 3/4 and absolutely love being in the classroom with the students. I have two young children Sophie who attends St Mary’s in Grade 1 and Max who is 3 who keeps me on my toes. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family, taking our puppy on walks and reading an endless amount of books. I’ve loved being welcomed into the St Mary’s Community and getting to know the students and their families.

Awty, Jenni

Jenni Awty

jawty@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi everyone,
I’m Mrs Awty and I am very fortunate to be teaching the gorgeous students in 3/4A this year. This is my 28th year as a teacher and I think I have the best job in the world!
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, walking my dogs, binging on Netflix series, and drinking coffee. I come from a long line of Collingwood supporters and love going to the footy with my family.

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Kate Old

kold@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello everyone,
My name is Kate Old and I am very excited to have joined the team at St Mary’s this year.
I have been teaching around the area for a number of years, most recently at St Ambrose in Woodend where I still teach Auslan two days a week. I love spending time with kids and tapping into their curiosity and creativity.
When I’m not at school, you will find me spending time with my family. My husband is also a teacher, and together, we have three boys, 6 yrs, 5yrs, and almost 2 yrs.
Thank you for welcoming me into your beautiful community. I look forward to meeting more people as the year goes on.

Manski, Tamara

Tamara Manski

tmanski@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi, I am Tamara Manski and I started teaching at St Mary’s in a Specialist role in 2020. Now I am lucky enough to be teaching in the Middle area with an amazing group of students, LSO’s and teachers.
I enjoy trips to the beach, surf swims, long walks, reading and going to the theatre. I especially love a musical!
I live in the Macedon Ranges with my husband, daughter and two sons. We have a beautiful loyal border collie named Tilly and 4 alpacas who love the neighbours grass more than ours! I barrack for the Bulldogs but live in a household of Blues supporters so life is never dull at my house….especially during winter footy season!

 

Wagg, Bianca

Bianca Wagg

bwagg@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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 absolutley 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.

Giles, Melinda

Melinda Giles

mgiles@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi everyone, my name is Mrs Giles and I am the PE Teacher & a Grade 3/4 Teacher on Fridays. I have worked at St Marys Primary 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. 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.

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Jake Sapiano

jakesapiano@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi everyone, this is my first year working at St Mary’s. I’ve had a great start to my role as an LSO, working well with both the students and staff at our school. This is my first year out of high school where I attended Assumption college in Kilmore. I love my sport, Collingwood, my family and my girlfriend. I’ve enjoyed learning new ways to help others through teachings from other staff or the amazing students.

Senior Team

Stevens, Amanda

Amanda Stevens

astevens@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

I have been working at St Mary’s as a 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 awhile 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!

 

Kennedy, Ellen

Ellen Kennedy

ekennedy@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi I’m Ellen, I have been at St Mary’s since 2020. I am currently one of the year 5 and 6 teachers. I have been in teaching for 20 plus 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 tried to apply this in every aspect of my life and so far it’s held me in goodstead.

 

Kyte, Pauleen

Pauleen Kyte

pkyte@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

I am enjoying my time as an LSO and love working wth the amazing team at St Mary’s. I live at home with my husband Ian and our two furbabies Xander and Memphis. I have two adult children Connor and Mason. During winter I love watching my son play Australian Rules football, although the drive to Corowa is a long one. My favorite sports are Australian Rules Football, cricket and basketball. I support Collingwood and Melbourne United. During summer Ian and I spend most of our time at the beach with Xander and Mason. Looking forward to an amazing 2024 school year and watching the grade six students I am working with this year graduate.

Fisher, Kirby

Kirby Fisher

kfisher@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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 enjoy 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.

Specialists

Sammut, Brenda

Brenda Sammut

bsammut@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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!

 

Newnham, Louise

Louise Newnham

lnewnham@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

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.

 

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Mrs McCarthy

jmccarthy@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi everyone, I’m Mrs McCarthy.
In 2024 I am teaching Performing Arts at St Mary’s.
I previously worked at schools in Geelong as a classroom teacher. I now live in Romsey with my husband Mick and my 4 children, Ella, Charlotte, Paddy and Tommy. We have two dogs, Gracie (Kelpie) and Pippa (Border Collie).
You might see me out and about in the community at tennis, netball, football, Auskick, cricket or dance with my children.
The other things I love doing include catching up with friends, swimming, distance running, farm work or gardening, or going on caravan holidays to remote places like the outback and the Kimberly.

 

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Kathleen McCann

kmccann@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hello St Mary’s community
My name is Kathleen McCann. The children call me Mrs M. My role this year is P-2 Digi Tech. I have been teaching for over 40 years and during that time have held a variety of positions from classroom teacher to Deputy Principal. For the last couple of years I have been doing CRT work here at St Marys and have enjoyed being part of this lovely community. I live in Bacchus Marsh with my husband John. We have two children and two twin grandchildren. I love all kinds of sports, especially AFL, go Saints, cricket and going to the gym.

 

Ray, Anthony

Anthony Ray

aray@smlancefield.catholic.edu.au

Hi, I’m Anthony Ray, I’ve been at St Mary’s since 2021 and I teach Digitech (computers and digital technologies) to years 3, 4, 5 and 6, and am the Digitech Coordinator fo the school. I’ve been a teacher for over 35 years, and have been teaching children how to use computers for about 31 years. I enjoy learning new things and using computers, I really enjoy playing computer games, especially racing games. I live with my wife, have grown up children and have 3 beautiful grandchildren that are growing up way too fast, one of whom also attends St Mary’s.