Skip to the content

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.

Neelam Davies

B.Mgt.Studies, Dip.Tchg, NZICA.

Business Studies Teacher and Saturn House Dean

Neelam Davies is completely dedicated to her students, both those with whom she shares a passion for business, and also those lucky enough to have her as their Dean. 

Neelam brings her previous corporate experience to the teaching of Business Studies, and this is evident in the engagement of her students and the respect with which they hold her. As House Dean for Saturn, Neelam is always found at the very centre of every event, battling for her students and House, demonstrating a level of commitment rarely seen outside of Kristin.

Students who just need a kind ear will always find Neelam both available and more than happy to lend assistance whenever needed. Her empathy and desire to help every student are evident every day, with many a Kristin student having benefited from her wisdom and unwavering support. Neelam is a clear demonstration of the aroha at the heart of Kristin.

Dale Connell

B.ED, Dip.Tchg., Cert. Middle Mgt.

Junior School Enrichment Teacher and House Coordinator

Dale Connell is our Year 4 enrichment teacher and is an asset to Kristin. She is an inspiring, devoted and creative practitioner who is able to engage her students through a myriad of pedagogical strategies.

Enrichment teachers are a unique feature of the Junior School at Kristin. These experienced and highly qualified teachers, like Dale, work alongside our classroom teachers in each year level, to ensure high levels of personalised learning.

Dale connects with her learners to ensure that every child progresses; whether they need a little extra help consolidating some skills, an opportunity to extend their learning and explore their talents, or perhaps a ‘boost’ to help 'light their learning fire’.

Dale brings a love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together. She is more than an inspirational teacher but also an ‘awakener’, allowing those she teaches to follow their passions and curiosity in their world.

Leona Marsh

B.A., Dip.Tchg, Cert.Ed.Middle Mgt.

Year 5 Teacher

Leona has a wonderful ability to connect with her students and her pedagogical style is exemplary. It is often hard to find Leona, as you scan her classroom, she is always in the midst of her students working alongside them to scaffold and extend their understanding.

She is a driven, passionate and organised teacher who develops inspiring relationships with her students, helping them to feel confident and empowered to take the next steps in their learning.

Some may rightly liken Leona to a ‘Mary Poppins’ type of teacher. She allows children to flourish and creativity permeates her classroom.

Leona has a very lovely rapport with young people and allows their voices to be heard, reinforcing and extending their opinions, ideas and wonderings. She ensures that they are listened to and that each one of them matters. Leona is a teacher who exudes warmth and truly lives our school motto of enabling all her learners to progress with vision, because of her integrity and love for them all.

Mata Mataio

Te Reo Maori Teacher.  B.A., Dip.Tchg.

Ko Te Ngira te maunga The Needle Peak is the mountain
Ko te Moana nui ā kiwa te moana Pacific Ocean is the body of water
Ko Puaikura te iwi Puaikura is the tribe
Ko te Kūki Airani te whenua The Cook Islands is the land
Ko Mataio te whānau Mataio is the family
Ko Mata ahau I am Mr. Mataio. I am Mata

Mata is multilingual, and has taught in New Zealand and overseas settings. His expertise in teaching the Te Reo Māori programme starts from Kindergarten, and reaches all the way to Year 8. Walking through the grounds, you can hear and feel his teaching in action from the sound of beautiful waiata emanating from the classrooms. School assemblies are also an added treat when Mata has organised a range of highly polished performances for all to enjoy.

Mata’s positive influence can also be seen in action in activities outside of the classroom. He manages golf, coaches volleyball in the Middle and Senior schools, and assists with Kapa Haka.

He aha te mea nui o te ao katoa?
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
It is people, it is people, it is people!

Sara Frizelle

PhD

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

NZLS Cert

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.