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There are teachers who teach and then there are those who enable students to thrive in a changing world. 

Our hand-picked teachers are not only dedicated professional educators, but they all share an unsurpassed desire to see their students succeed academically, socially and emotionally.  Enjoy a browse through the profiles of some of our fabulous Kristin teachers and staff below, and then come back again soon as we've got so many more to add! 

We're proud of our teachers and you will be too. We believe they are the most passionate collective of teachers in the country.

Sara Frizelle


Head of Digital Learning Innovation (and Year 9 Coach)

As Head of Digital Learning Innovation, Sara works alongside our teachers, senior leadership team and other staff to ensure digital strategy at Kristin aligns with our core values. Her work incorporating Virtual Reality, computational thinking and digital wellbeing into the curriculum enhances and expands teaching and learning experiences for all our students, preparing them to be future-ready.

Sara is a true star in digital learning innovation, and Kristin is very fortunate to have such amazing talent in this very unique role. Her positive and friendly manner means staff and students find her an invaluable asset in helping them to keep abreast of, and make the most of, digital technology advancements. She is also a Year 9 Coach, where she supports her group of students with day-to-day advice, and provides them with loads of genuine care, inspiration and fun!

Giancarlo Lisi

BMus (Hons), Grad Dip Opera Perf, Grad Tchg

Curriculum Leader, Music

Giancarlo was born for the world of performing arts and has been involved in numerous musical theatre and operatic productions around the globe. He has been a chorus member with NZ Opera since 2015, and continues his passion for singing as a featured soloist in various recitals and large musical works. His parents always knew teaching was ‘in his bones’ and Giancarlo says that because he’s so passionate about music and singing, when he’s teaching these things, it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ at all.

At Kristin, Giancarlo helps the Music Faculty continually develop its programme and really enjoys creating an environment where students feel encouraged to devise and develop new creative ideas. He believes there is an innate responsibility to deliver an ever-evolving contemporary music programme which allows students to explore, experiment and present creative endeavours which reflect their own narratives and goals. He was pivotal in the development of Boystrous, Kristin's boys' choir, and his enthusiasm knows no bounds. He can motivate students to perform at a level far beyond what they have achieved previously. A 'larger than life' character, Giancarlo can be found at the centre of any event where students are learning and having incredible fun at the same time.

Sarah Backhouse-Smith

BSc, Grad Dip Tchg, PG Cert Applied Practice

Year 7 Homeroom Teacher & Associate Dean

Sarah is a kind, empathetic and energetic teacher who has a great affinity for her students. Her listening skills and attention to care for each student are acknowledged. Calmness and integrity filter into everything she does. Students, staff and parents appreciate her genuine and positive outlook and professionalism as an educator. As a Year 7 Homeroom teacher and an Associate Dean, Sarah is right at the heart of Kristin's Middle School in making sure our Year 7 students get the very best start to their time in the Middle School. Her experience and intuitive sense make her an asset and valued member of our teaching team.

Her classroom practice is exemplary and she is always looking for ways to improve the student learning experience and build opportunities for creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Alongside this, Sarah is a talented singer who performs in the staff band and helps out with the management of Euphony, the Kristin Girls' Choir.

Nathan Calvert

MAP (Hons), BA, Grad Dip Tchg

Year 1 Dean

Our Dean of Year 1, Nathan Calvert, combines his passion for creating age-appropriate, highly engaging, and challenging learning experiences for our 'new to school' students, backed up by academic research carried out during his recently completed Masters Degree.

As a father to four young sons, he is perfectly in-tune with designing environments and experiences that foster a sense of wonder in curiosity for our Year 1's, ensuring that they develop a positive attitude and love of learning from the earliest stages of school. He thrives on giving students a wide range of learning experiences to enable them to discover their passions, then developing these within the classroom.

Outside of the classroom, Nathan is the Teacher in Charge of Rugby in the Junior School. A keen sportsman himself, Nathan enjoys giving students the chance to shine in ways that aren’t always available in the classroom. His enthusiasm for the game has seen many students try out Touch and Rippa rugby for the first time. Whether it’s on the sports field or in the classroom, Nathan inspires students to achieve their very best. 

Hamish Mouat

Alumni (Class of 2011)

Artistic Director – Major Productions

Hamish is a highly talented Director with remarkable skill in all facets of the performing arts, including dance and choreography, drama, musical theatre, stage and production management, voice, lighting and theatrical education. Hamish himself was a leading star in Kristin productions during his school years and he now thrives on helping our current students reach their full potential as together they deliver nationally-acclaimed school productions of a superb professional quality. 

Outside Kristin, Hamish is highly involved in performing arts initiatives and productions, and is a renowned practitioner in youth musical theatre around the country. He is the Director/Choreographer of Encore Theatre Collective, the Resident Choreographer for Junior Theatre New Zealand and also works internationally as a Staff Director for the Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network in Southern California. In 2019, Hamish choreographed Les Misérables for Amici Productions at the Civic Theatre, and has most recently rehearsed the starring role of Bert in the Amici Trust season of Mary Poppins, with hopes the performances will be postponed to later in the year (COVID-19 permitting).

Alison Hewett


Head of Library Services

Alison has been described as passionate and future-ready, well-respected within the library industry and always so happy and enthusiastic to work collaboratively. Alison has been responsible for introducing an amazing array of resources to Kristin, and for taking advantage of opportunities to cost-effectively ensure Kristin library resources are leading-edge in order to help our students and staff as much as possible.

With plenty of wisdom, expertise, patience and good humour, Alison also thrives on leading a fantastic team who go above and beyond to make sure all have access to the resources they need as soon as humanly possible. During New Zealand’s battle to control COVID-19, she played an integral part in Kristin’s delivery of online learning. Building on Kristin's existing 'virtual, accessible anytime from anywhere' library model, she sourced digital copies of various texts that students required, and as alert levels allowed, personally delivered important course texts to students in need.

Jason Gurney

BA, TTC, Dip Tchg

Middle School Assistant Principal (Teaching and Learning)

Jason is Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning in the Middle School and he lives and breathes the Middle-Level approach. Jason is a super-talented teacher who is able to share any subject in a creative and dynamic way that engages students and has them wanting to find out more. He makes learning engaging for middle level learners by providing choice and variety in learning tasks, and by using real world contexts that are relevant to their lives.

As well as his creative classroom practice Jason is involved in many other areas of the school.  His greatest passion is perhaps for digital and film media and he has been instrumental in his time at Kristin in the development of Kristin Television and the Middle School's annual '9 Lives Short Film' project.

Jason's passion and ideas and the ability to connect and work creatively with students across the board sets him apart as a very special teacher at Kristin.

Gabriela Maldonado

MA, Dip Tchg

Head of Faculty, Languages

Gabriela's enthusiasm and ability to motivate language students is second to none. Over the past few years, she has also been researching the effectiveness of mindfulness in the classroom, not only from the theoretical perspective but also bringing it to life with her students. Every one of her students feels empowered and also recharged having been in her lessons, ready to take what they learn and apply it in other areas of their lives.

Gabriela holds an Honours in Latin America Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Victoria, Canada. She also completed her Masters of Professional Studies in Language Teaching from the University of Auckland with first-class honours. She has a wealth of experience in the IB Spanish and English Language Acquisition (ELA) curriculum, and is a valued member of the Kristin Community.

Impressed? We are too!  Watch this space as we profile more of our amazing teachers.

Come and visit Kristin

Step inside our gates and see for yourself what makes Kristin so unique. We invite you to take a tour and observe a typical school day. Take the opportunity to engage personally with student guides and staff.