At Ficino School, we believe poet William Butler Yeats said it best
– “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire “.
Our close-knit staff includes 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
Master of Science (Oxford University), Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Qualified Teacher Status (UK)
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
1st Class (Hons) Degree, two graduate diplomas, and a 1st Class Masters Degree.
Lorna was a teacher at our sister school, St. James, London, before she emigrated to join Ficino in 2007. She is passionate about education at all ages and is herself a lifelong learner. Throughout 2015-16 Lorna project managed the creation of our Preschool, drawing on her previous experience as a commercial designer. In 2021, we welcomed Lorna back as our Deputy Principal.
Lorna’s holistic pedagogy is guided by spiritual and cultural well-being. Her aim is to support students to develop their character and identity in an inclusive, safe environment. Lorna also champions high academic standards. She understands the value of teaching children how to observe, analyse, question, and solve problems.
Lorna is a mum to three children and she enjoys taking them on adventures around Aotearoa. Her other interests include architecture, film, educational research and science-fiction.
Assistant Principal; Head of PE
Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Teaching
Rachel has been teaching Physical Education at Ficino for over 11 years now and has had the role of Assistant Principal for the past 5 years. She started off her teaching career at Three Kings Primary teaching Y2 and Y4 and then moved to London where she was the Head of PE at Broomwood Hall Prep. Rachel has been teaching since 1999.
She has been passionate about sport her whole life and has represented the North Island in National for athletics, played premier grade netball and represented University of Auckland in basketball. She has two very sporty children in college who play for their first eleven teams in their respective sports.
Rachel is the coordinator for all of the trips and events within the school and for the sports teams that represent the school in weekly sports or those who enter zone events.
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!
Junior Syndicate Leader
Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Teaching
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
Senior Syndicate Leader
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 sixteen-year old twins, travel, photography, music, yoga, and anything to do with the beach!
Subject Specialist – Music and Art
BA in English Literature, Graduate Diploma in Teaching, Post Graduate Diploma in Drama, Grade 8 piano – ABRSM.
Miss Doctor began as a classroom teacher with Ficino School in 2013. She very much enjoyed working with children but even then, her real passion lay with teaching them the Arts. Her class ended up performing a play, if not two, each of the four years she taught them. She then travelled to London where she worked in several schools – experiencing what teaching was like in the UK.
Sanaya has fostered a passionate and life-long love for the Arts. Having been lucky enough to be offered the chance to learn and develop in these areas as a girl; she became aware of the immense benefits these provided for her developing mind and soul. She now teaches all these subjects at school.
As Head of Art and Music, she cherishes the experience of sharing this love and learning with children – giving them access to the vast benefits of playing an instrument, singing, losing themselves in their Art, expressing themselves through movement and stepping into another character on stage. Our aim as a school is to help our students become well-rounded individuals, and as expressed by Aldous Huxley – After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Subject Specialist – Sanskrit and SENCO
Bachelor of Arts in English, Diploma in Teaching
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
Subject Specialist – Science
Bachelor of Laws, Diploma in Teaching
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!)
Master of Arts in English,
Bachelor of Arts in English, History, and Art History,
Diploma in Teaching, Diploma of Vocational Speech
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
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!)
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.
Bachelor of Arts in Japanese,
Diploma in Teaching
Gray lived in Japan for 9 years working in local government and corporate 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
Bachelor of Education
Diploma of Teaching
If Kate could have her time again, in addition to studying mathematics, she would have studied Engineering too. Maths is her favourite subject to teach – she especially loves teaching the application of it and seeing her students developing their confidence as they learn how to nut out a problem.
She loves bringing her classes to life by showing how Maths can be applied to a variety of situations and questions. Teaching scale drawings becomes more meaningful when students get to learn off a set of house plans she created in an architectural drawing course.
Kate really enjoys supporting students to navigate all areas of life – study, organisation, communication etc and helping them to be their best self. She loves teaching Year 7 & 8 students as they bring a level of reasoning and questioning with them to the classroom.
Interests: Spending time with family and friends, Reading a range of books/texts and this includes Maths Textbooks. Walking the beach at Omaha and doing jigsaw puzzles. Film festivals and travel when time allows.
Bachelor of Education – Primary
Bachelor of Education,
Diploma in Teaching
Julia enjoys teaching her Year One students and appreciates the freedom Ficino School’s holistic approach to education brings where the focus is on more than just academics.
She loves seeing the growth and the progress that her students make and believes that everyone is a learner in her class, including herself! She particularly enjoys teaching Nature Study as she herself learns new things from the ever-evolving knowledge around science. Seeing the students’ curious minds and hearing the questions they bring to the table always makes lessons unique.
Julia likes to incorporate hands-on activities that focus on her students’ interests – not only does this keep them engaged, it also makes the lessons fun.
Interests: Baking, listening to music, dancing, crafts
Bachelor of Education
Leah was particularly attracted to the culture at Ficino School, where the small roll means everyone is included and has the opportunity to know everyone else.
She loves seeing the students’ personal voices and feelings coming through in her favourite subject – writing. She finds it hugely rewarding to hear the children’s creative ideas and solutions and see the progress on projects as they work together on them.
Teaching in the junior classes allows her to nurture the students’ curiosity and eagerness for learning.
Leah brings her classes to life with humour, offering practical experiences and the use of fun. Her students respond positively to this approach and particularly appreciate the kindness she applies in her teaching.
Interests: Adventures with my family, exploring new places.
Sonia Wyngard (absent)
Ficino School is lucky to have an experienced group of Teacher Aides working with the junior and senior classes as required.
Karine Le Bars
After 4 years as a librarian in a public library, where the everyday work is a lot of management, I really wanted to go back to the essentials: the books and the children. When you work in a school, you can really feel that connection a lot.
I moved with my family to New Zealand in February 2022. When I read the position description for Ficino School, it was the perfect match, so I had no choice but to apply!
I like the library to be an open and living place, a place where everyone feels good. I try to teach the students to be autonomous and to be able to find what they want. I really enjoy reading stories to them, and I do it week after week, from the younger students to the older (there is no age to listen to a good story!).
We had to limit the number of visitors during morning tea and lunch time as the children love visiting. They like that I purchase lots of new great books, and that I have a strong French accent!
Interests: I am the mother of 3 amazing children, and they keep me very busy between all the sports they play and the activities they have. I love to travel or to discover new places, I love to gather with friends and to go to the restaurant with my husband, I love to be with my family and to walk, to surf or play a board game with them. I love tennis even if I am not a champ, I am passionate about genealogy and eventually and it is not a surprise, I really love reading a lot!