Ficino School has a close-knit staff with a number of class teachers, specialist subject teachers, and assistants. We aim to foster strong relationships between the children and parents and their class teacher, with both parents and teachers working together to help the children reach their potential.
Meet our team
Peter has over 20 years’ teaching experience at primary, secondary and university level.
He believes the purpose of education is to bring out the best in people. To do this, we must present our children with the finest material in the primary phase, when their hearts and minds are open but tender. As they learn most from real examples, selecting the highest quality teachers is of utmost importance. Our dedicated staff love what they do and share that love of learning with the children they teach.
Our educational philosophy is that every child has unique potential and that given the right environment, that potential can grow, be realised and come to fulfilment in the service of humanity.
Interests: Philosophy, mathematics, surfing, golf and theatre
Margaret has been a teacher at Ficino School since 2000, following a successful career of many years in university administration and management.
Her decision to teach at Ficino School was driven by the realisation that for young adults to approach life with integrity and responsibility, it is crucial that their early years at school are enriched by the development of their spiritual and emotional intelligence, not just their academic intelligence.
Accordingly, Margaret’s aim in the classroom is to develop the whole child, fostering such qualities as honesty, mutual respect, a love of challenge and support for each other’s achievements.
Interests: Philosophy, gardening, music, literature and family
Carolyn began her teaching career as a class teacher at Ficino School during the foundation years 1996 – 2000. She went on to act as a teacher aide at St James Junior School in London for Years 1 to 4 and was a relief teacher at John Colet School (one of Ficino School’s sister schools) in Sydney in 2001. She returned to Ficino School as a class teacher in 2011.
Carolyn believes the classroom should be full of interesting activities, resources and books that spark the children’s curiosity and inquiry, and that learning through song and play are important for the younger children. She helps each child to discover their unlimited potential through enquiry and self-discipline, in their own learning style.
She encourages the children to have confident and clear speech and goodness in morals and values, with respect for others.
Interests: Sewing and craft, boating, fishing, bush walking, gardening, movies, philosophy and music
As a mother of four children, Emilie learned very quickly that each child has their own learning style, strengths, weaknesses and desire to excel. Once her children were of school age, Emilie pursued her interest in educating children with special needs. During ten years as a teacher aide in various primary schools, Emilie worked closely with teachers and helped to adapt the curriculum to the learning levels and needs of her students.
Feeling she had more to offer, she went on to complete her degree and train as a teacher. She began teaching in 2002.
Emilie is interested in the potential of children and how they learn. She teaches children to be self-learners and tries to create an environment in which children develop the tools of learning and problem solving, while being stimulated and challenged. Her vision for her students is for them to enjoy learning, work well in teams and develop self-discipline and focus.
Interests: Programmes for teaching children with special needs, her family, philosophy, literature
Gray Gillespie – Class Teacher
Bachelor of Arts in Japanese,
Diploma in Teaching
Gray lived in Japan for 9 years working in local government and cooperate settings. Later on, he began teaching English to both adults and children in public schools. Discovering a real love of teaching, Gray decided to return to New Zealand and become a primary school teacher where his passion for teaching children has only increased. As a father of two, Gray quickly discovered how diverse children’s personalities can be even with the same upbringing.
In an ever changing world, Gray feels that the best thing we can arm our children with is a positive attitude and passion for learning. He also believes in students being explicitly aware of where they are in their learning and what their next steps are.
Interests: family, martial arts, Japanese language, teaching, philosophy, skiing, snow boarding, movies, origami and walking
Ashley Leathley – Class Teacher
Bachelor of Arts(Hons) in French and Political Science – University of Western Ontario;
Bachelor of Education, Specialist in Special Education – OISE, University of Toronto,
Primary/Junior Mathematics Specialist – York University
Ashley began her teaching career in 1997 at Colwill School in Auckland and has experience in both the New Zealand public school system and in the Canadian independent school system.
As a person dedicated to the whole school’s ethos and success, Ashley has always worked at maintaining strong relationships with pupils, parents and colleagues. A professional highlight of her time at Havergal College in Toronto was acting as Divisional Curriculum Coordinator (2003-2007). She has also been a presenter in action research at the Differentiated Instruction Institute (Ontario Institute of Child Studies in Education, Toronto, Canada).
Ashley’s professional interests lie in P4C (Philosophy for Children) and Brain Based learning. She was the first to pilot SMARTboard technology at Havergal College Junior School and continues to use it to enhance learning in her classroom.
Ashley encourages her students to be active participants’ in their own educational journeys. She continually works to provide students with skills and challenging standards, at the same time promoting creativity and flexibility. In her classroom, students are encouraged to show independence of thought and leadership.
Interests: Her ten-year old twins, travel, photography, music, yoga, and anything to do with the beach!
Hamish has been teaching since 1998, and has worked in educational theatre in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Hamish’s belief is that teaching is about delivering the finest materials to the students in the most interesting way possible, with a view to inspiring them to enquire, and imitate. Through this they may learn about their own potential and strength, their worth to those around them, and a love of that which is noble and beautiful.
Interests: In no particular order – family, art, history, cricket, meditation, mythology, astronomy, palaeontology, science fiction, literature, tramping, camping, music, singing, playing guitar, writing, directing and acting
Dawn is passionate about education and the developmental possibilities arising from a sound, inspirational education. Dawn gave up a career in law and retrained as a teacher so that she could contribute more positively to young New Zealanders. She started teaching in 2007.
She is a highly enthusiastic and creative teacher who puts great emphasis on academic application and the importance of disciplined work and variety to engender learning.
Interests: Philosophy and law, people, movies, animals, art, Shakespeare, drama, physical exercise and science (most things really!)
Nicolette Farrelley – Class Teacher
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Writing, English Literature);
RSA Cambridge Certificate (Australian TESOL)
Nicolette has had a long association with Ficino School, starting with the education of her 3 children and growing through her active participation with the Friends of Ficino (FoF), a parent’s group responsible for successfully organising the School’s fundraising events. This association culminated with her teaching appointment in 2016.
Literacy, in all its facets, is her passion and she has a long history of working in varied placements that has enabled her to share this love with the children she teaches. She believes that education has much to do with building a child’s inner character, enabling them to gain confidence and trust in their own abilities.
Interests: Nicolette will give anything active a go, but particularly loves swimming (surf), kayaking and running. She has practiced meditation for over 20 years and also enjoys reading and philosophical study.
Karen Crompton – Class Teacher
Master of Arts (Library Studies),
Karen spent 20 years in the UK, 5 of which were spent teaching at our sister school, St James. She is experienced in the teaching of a wide range of subjects including English, Library Skills and Dance.
She has a love of children’s literature and enjoys sharing a wide range of books with her class. She values the opportunity to instill her enjoyment in her students and harbor the beginnings of a life-long appreciation and understanding of the value of the written word.
Interests: Textile arts and working on her crafts (from the making of paper, jewellery, books, marbling and anything in-between!)
Rachel has taught from Year 2 to Year 8, at Three Kings and Hebron Christian College in New Zealand, as well as specialising in PE at Broomwood Hall Prep in London.
She has been passionate about sport her whole life and has represented the North Island in Nationals for athletics, played in the premier grade for netball and represented the University of Auckland in basketball. She has two school-aged children who also keen on their sports and are the reason she is working part time.
Rachel is keen to give all children a solid skill base so they can enjoy being in any team or pursuing any individual sport to enable them to have a healthy lifestyle. She has been teaching since 1999.
Interests: Netball, basketball, sports in general, fishing, lazing and body boarding at the beach, exploring different countries, enjoying movies with friends and of course the New Zealand summer BBQ!