St Josephś Staff


Catherine Sweny


Year 0-1 Teacher

Lesley Hale


Year 2-3 Teacher

Brenda Wright


Year 3-5 Teacher

Jane Prescott


Mr Rowan Thomas

Year 6-8 Teacher

Office Administrator

Margaret Brinkmann

Teacher Aide

Tania Ratana

Teacher Aide

Pat Lee


Mrs Catherine Swney

Year 3-5 Teacher

I am loving working at St Joseph’s, Paeroa. We have great kids here, a wonderfully supportive parent community and great staff to work with. I have worked in a number of schools in Hamilton and in 2010 I worked as an adviser at the University of Waikato and developed an interest in assessment which I have developed further here; in particular using information about students’ progress and achievement to improve teaching and learning . Besides teaching, my other great interests are my family (husband Allen, and two sons), reading, a bit of running and fishing.


Ms Jane Prescott

Years 3-5 Teacher (Tui)

I have been teaching at Saint Jospeh's Paeroa since 2013. I previously taught in two Auckland schools for fourteen years. I have taught most year levels over that time, thoroughly enjoying the experiences. In addition to being a classroom teacher, I have trained choirs to perform in several Auckland festivals. This year I am supporting Mrs Hale in leading our change to an 'Enviro' school. I am passionate about children’s learning with a special interest in literacy. I am also the Curriculum leader in Literacy, Music, Science and Health. I have previously run the Reading Together workshops for parents over the past few years , which was very successful. I have been involved in accelerating target students in Writing and Reading through the Accelerating Literacy programme over the last couple of years. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a one-year graduate diploma in Primary teaching, (The University of Waikato). In 2011, I attained a certificate in teaching English to second language learners, (Celta) from the University of Cambridge.


Mr Rowan Thomas

Current Year 6-8 Teacher (Takahe)

Rowan Thomas is currently in our Takahe (Year 6-8) class. We are thrilled to welcome Rowan to our closely knit team. He brings a great sense of calm, fun and wisdom to our school. As a very experienced classroom teacher who has taught at all year levels, and also a past school Principal from a rural area, Rowan is a very caring and intuitive teacher who enjoys building relationships with his students and families. After farming for the last 15 years, he finally saw the light, and realising that teaching is the best job in the world, and has returned to teaching. Rowan has a wife and 3 teenaged children and they all live locally. Along with his family, his interests are in sport, the outdoors, sustainability and environmental practices, technology and the arts.


Mrs Brenda Wright

Year 2-3 Teacher (Kereru)

Brenda Wright (Mrs) returns to the area after 12 years teaching at Saint John Catholic School in New Plymouth. Having started her teaching career with juniors in Tauranga back in 2002, building her career with middle school and senior children over the last 10 years, she is now back with the Year 2-3 children in Kereru. Brenda is a reading recovery trained teacher with skills in Literacy, Numeracy and the Arts. She is passionate about engaging children in learning and making school an inspiring place to be. Brenda is a faith filled person with a real desire to see children understanding and living out the words and values of Jesus. She understands the importance of both fun and fairness and works hard to gain the trust and confidence of the children and families in her care. This year, 2020, Brenda will be working with the Kereru and Piwakawaka children for writing time while Lesley Hale takes individual children for reading recovry. From mid-morning through till the end of the day, Brenda will teach just the Kereru children. Brenda has been recognised as an 'Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher' through Teachnz.


Mrs Lesley Hale

Year 0-1 Teacher (Piwakawaka)

Lesley is a very experienced and competent classroom teacher. She is a highly dedicated and efficient classroom teacher with a calm and confident manner. Knowing how crucial literacy skills are to becoming a successful learner, Lesley works hard with her Year 0 and 1 students to ensure they have the literacy and numeracy skills needed to help them thrive in the future. Lesley returns to us from the South Island, back to the area where she grew up and has a deep connection with. Lesley is a very active person and she loves the outdoors. She comes from a sporting background and loves all manner of sport and recreation. Lesley is currently re-training as a Reading Recovery teacher. She does reading recovery each morning and then teaches the Piwakawaka children from after morning tea through till the end of the day.


Mrs Margaret Brinkmann - Office Administrator

I am the administration officer for St Joseph’s school and I am usually the first point of contact for visitors. I have worked at St Joseph’s since 2002 in various roles and have been in my current role since the beginning of 2013. I am responsible for the smooth running of the School Office in all its facets and also assist the Principal, staff, parents and students.


Mrs Colleen O'Neale - Librarian (Mary MacKillop Library)

My husband John and I, along with our two children, arrived here in Paeroa in October 1985. Our daughter finished her primary schooling that year and our son moved into Form 2. I volunteered to type up the cards for the library here at school with a number of other mothers using the Dewey Decimal system that required cards. The library has since become computerised, and even though I am no longer typing the cards I am still in the library, and the rest is history...

Mrs Pat Lee - Teacher Aide

Mrs Tania Ratana - Teacher Aide