Our Team

Leadership Team

The principal has been delegated authority by the school’s board of trustees to take responsibility for ensuring the school’s strategic plans and annual action goals are successfully achieved, and for leading the day to day operation of the school. The principal works in collaboration with the a leadership team composed of the deputy principal and two syndicate leaders in order to continuously improve the educational experiences of our students. Our Leadership Team at Whangarei Primary School are:

Martin Van Rijswijk


After a successful career working as principal of leading international schools in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Martin returned to New Zealand to take up the role of principal in our school in July 2014. His experiences overseas have emphasised the importance of preparing our young people for lives as 21st century global citizens.

Kath Corby

Deputy Principal

I have currently been teaching for 17 years and arrived at Whangarei Primary School to take up the Deputy Principal position at the start of 2015 from Wellington. Whangarei is home for me, and where I taught before going to Wellington so am honoured to be home with family and friends and working at a school with passionate students, staff and families who together, who are dedicated to equipping our students to be 'Kiwi Kids who are global citizens equipped or success as lifelong learners'. I am forever grateful to be in a career that allows me to shape and equip our young people for their present day and whatever the future may bring them.

Melissa Thomas

Assistant Principal - Junior School

(to be added)

Gareth Haman

Assistant Principal - Senior School

I have been teaching for 15 years now and have had the opportunity to work both nationally and internationally at different levels. I have learnt from my experiences, that successful learning starts with the student and making them feel valued and encouraging their voices to emerge. I am also fortunate enough to work for the International Baccalaureate Organisation as a consultant, leading workshop and helping schools develop their pedagogy.

Board of Trustees

All of New Zealand’s state and state-integrated schools have a board of trustees. The board of trustees is the Crown entity responsible for the governance and the control of the management of the school. The board is the employer of all staff in the school, is responsible for setting the school’s strategic direction in consultation with all stake holders, and ensures that the school provides a safe environment and quality education for all of its students. Boards are also responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance and administration.

Trustees are elected every three years by the school’s parent community and staff members. Our school’s Board of Trustees is generally made up of four trustees elected from amongst the parent community, one elected staff representative, and the principal of the school. The board can also co-opt additional trustees when it needs a particular skill set in order to strengthen its operation.

The Board of Trustees at
Whangarei Primary School are:
Erica Burrows: 
Paul Davis:  
Vice Chair
David Pomare:  
Renee Proctor: 
Dallas Wrack: 
Lynda Foster: 
Staff Trustee
Martin Van Rijswijk: 

Teaching Staff

We are most fortunate to have an extremely dedicated and very capable team of teachers at our school, who have a reputation for going the extra mile for the students in their care. The on-going professional development of our team has a high priority in the school’s strategic plan, and as such every teacher has access to regular training opportunities to ensure they remain at the forefront of the most effective research based teaching practices. Our team of teachers at Whangarei Primary School are:

Junior Syndicate

Jill Fuller

Room 01 - Year 1 & 2

"Think and wonder. Wonder and think."- Dr Seuss

Melissa Thomas

Room 01 - Year 1 & 2

"Curiosity is the engine of achievement." - Ken Robinson

Jessie Maihi

Room 02 - Year 1 & 2

"There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure"

Mark Adam

Room 03 - Year 1 & 2

"You don't need eyes to see. You need vision."

Janine Thorne

Room 04 - Year 1 & 2

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” - C.S. Lewis *

Susan Brits

Room 05 - New Entrants & Year 1

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant" - Robert Louis Stevenson

Sherryn Coxhead

Room 06 - New Entrants & Year 1


Barbara Lints

Room 07a - Year 1

"The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr Seuss

Caitlin Brierley

Room 07 - New Entrants & Year 1

"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." Anthony D'angelo

Madeleine Brooks

Room 10 - Year 1/2


Sarah Sofala

Room 11 - Year 2

"Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. BE OUTRAGEOUS go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is SO COMPLETELY CRAZY it's unbelievable." - Matilda, Roald Dahl

Baz Hauraki

Room 12 - Year 1 & 2


Tania Dobbs

Room 25 - New Entrants & Year 1

Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.

Senior Syndicate

Sarah Butler

Room 08 - Year 3 & 4


Brittany McKenzie

Room 09 - Year 3 & 4

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire."

Gabrielle Badham

Room 13 - Year 3 & 4

"If at first you don't succeed, you're normal!" - Kid President

Gareth Haman

Room 13 - Assistant Principal - Senior School - Year 3/4

"There is growth in struggle"

Rob Geaney

Room 14 - Year 3 & 4

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A. A. Milne

Samantha Taylor

Room 15 - Year 3 & 4

"What we learn becomes part of who we are."

Suzie Gray

Room 16 - Year 3 & 4


Danny Clarkson

Room 17 - Year 5 & 6

"We don't grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges."

Teresa Battersby

Room 18 - Year 5 & 6

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."

Jordyn Pitman

Room 19 - Year 5 & 6

"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." - Sydney J. Harris *

Isaac Jerez

Room 20 - Year 5 & 6

"Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" Anonymous

Hone Tata

Room 21 - Year 5 & 6 (Boys)

He aha te mea nui o te ao, maku e ki atu. He tamariki, he tamariki, he tamariki ma. What is the the greatest thing in this world. It is the children, it is the children, it is the children.

Miringa Silipa

Room 22


Lauren Seymour

Room 26 - Year 3 & 4


Specialist Staff

Lynda Ireland

Literacy Support Teacher (LST)

"Your attitude determines your altitude"

Yvette Meara

Math Specialist Teacher (MST)

"If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good." Dr Seuss

Donna Maree Gilmour

ORS/Reading Recovery

Learn from the world around you.

Addy Wihongi

Room 24 - Te Reo Maori

Ki whakanui i te tikanga, i te reo, i te wairua me te iwi. To celebrate culture, language, Spirit and people.

George Karklins

Room 23 - Music

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed "until" it is faced."

Lynda Foster


"Choose kindness and laugh often"

Admin Staff

Sheree Johnson

Executive Officer

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Sherleen McKay

School Secretary

"It takes a big heart to help shape little Hands."

Sonja Hyman

Office Assistant

"God give strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Marlie Walker

Library Media Centre Co-ordinator

"If knowledge is power, and a library is full of knowledge, then we have a powerful library."

Tim Dobbs


R J Caulfield

Grounds Assistant

"Hello Trouble."

Other Support Staff

Adrienne Birch

Teacher Aide - NZEI Support Staff Tai Tokerau Rep

"Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen." Michael Jordan

Anne Morgan

Teacher Aide (Senior School)

"What we learn becomes a part of who we are"

Beth Selby

Teacher Aide / ESOL Teacher

"If you can imagine it you can create it! If you dream it you can become it!"

Julie Hepi

Teacher Aide / ESOL Teacher (On-Leave)

"Imagine with all your mind. Believe with all your heart. Achieve with all your might."

Leonie Rapana

Teacher Aide

"Behind every good teacher" "There is a great Teacher Aide"

Mat Barton

Technician - ICT Support

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" - IT Crowd

Trish Waldeck

Teacher Aide (Junior School)

"It takes a kind heart to help shape developing minds."