Staff

Katie Pennicott

Principal

About Me

Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Horouta te waka
Ko Ngati Porou te iwi
Tena koutou katoa

Kia ora koutou, I am Katie Pennicott. I am from Invercargill and my tipuna are of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Pakēha and Whenua Moemoea descent. I am originally from Invercargiill and now live in Auckland. I have been a teacher and school leader for 22 years. I am passionate about providing the conditions resources, support and space for success, enjoyment and belonging for all of our students, teachers and whānau. I have one son aged 20 years, and my chihuahua Frankie comes to school with me most days. I love getting out and about enjoying nature around Auckland. I welcome all feedback, suggestions and ideas and love hearing from our school community. The door is always open, Nau mai, Haere mai!

Sharon Gataulu

Deputy Principal

About Me

Catherine Collins

Deputy Principal

About Me

I love teaching because of the relationships you form with the students and the special position you have that allows you to see them learn and grow in confidence. As Deputy Principal and Special Needs Coordinator I really enjoy working with students and whānau. It is so rewarding to be able to help students overcome problems, get their learning back on track and find success.

Mericia Chang

Senior Leader Kauri
Year 5/6 - Room 6

About Me

Fakaalofa lahi atu, I am Mericia Chang. I am of Niuean descent, teacher of Room 6, Team Leader of the Kauri Syndicate (Y5-6) and Across School Leader of our Henderson Kahui Ako (Community of Learning). I have only started working here at Sunnyvale School this year. I am married to Nigel (Samoan-Chinese) and have four children – Lanicia (17), Dallyce (16), Manatoa (12) and Johnson (9). My daughters Lanicia and Dallyce attend St Dominics College, My son Manatoa attends Liston College and my baby Johnson is currently at Western Heights Primary as of this year. I have been teaching for 11 years (years 3-8) at 3 different schools. In addition, my family and life outside teaching also play a major role and influence me as a teacher/leader. I manage a sporting family - and I’m the main cheerleader for them on the sideline of the court and the field. Life is busy as a full time working Mum. Nevertheless, I too am a learner and my role as a teacher, leader and all my other responsibilities are constant work in progress and is always evolving - but as they say, ‘life is so much easier with a sense of humour’. My door is always open, and I love meeting and chatting with people.

Sara Sabin

Senior Leader Pohutukawa
Year 3/4 - Room 7

About Me

Tēnā Koutou Katoa
Ko Puwheke tōku maunga
Ko Tokerau tōku moana
Ko Ngāti Kahu tōku iwi
Ko Tāmiki Makaurau tōku kāinga ināianei
Ko Sara Sabin tōku ingoa

Kia ora - My name is Sara Sabin and I have been at Sunnyvale for a number of years now. Before this, I taught numerous year levels at a school in South Auckland. I am the Kapa Haka tutor for Sunnyvale and love working with the tamariki who are involved in this. In my spare time, I love playing softball for Waitakere Bears, going hunting, fishing and spending time with my whanau. I not so secretly also love all things Harry Potter! "Working hard is important, but there is something that matters even more: Believing in yourself." - Harry Potter

Jessica Shirley

Senior Leader Nikau
Year 1/2 - Room 15

About Me

Kia ora tatou.
My name is Jessica Shirley and I started my teaching journey here at Sunnyvale school in 2009. I originally grew up in South Auckland, attending school in Papatoetoe but now I call West Auckland home. We also have a family bach at Waihi Beach where I spend a lot of summers and long weekends.
I love being a teacher and seeing the progress of the tamariki here at our school. I feel blessed that I get to do what I do everyday. I believe every child is different it's very important to build solid relationships with my learners and their whānau by getting to know who they are as individuals and what their interests and passions are. I hold high expectations for my students and love to celebrate success.
I believe learning is for life. I have learnt so much about myself, children and education during my time at Sunnyvale. I want to give my students the tools to be lifelong learners and strive to achieve their goals and ambitions.
In my spare time I love spending time with friends and family, listening to music, being by a pool or at the beach and walking. I also love meeting new people, so my door is also open and everyone is welcome to come for a chat.

Deborah Shaw

Senior Leader Kowhai
New Entrants - Room 1

About Me

Ko hikurangi te maunga
Ko waiapu te awa
Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi
Ko Buster Pihema Park toku matua tane
Ko Rīpeka Rangihuna Park toku whaea
Ko Deborah Ngāhuia Shaw toku ingoa

I am the eldest of 5 children and most of my immediate whānau live on Great Barrier
Island, including my mother and father, two of my sisters and one of my brothers.
most of their own children and their grandchildren live on the island as well
My other brother and his whānau (who used to live on Great Barrier Island, but left
for the children’s schooling) now live in Gisborne.
I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren (James, Maz and Tové).
Our family have had a homestead on Great Barrier Island for 50 years. It is a
beautiful place and even though much more accessible these days, it’s a wonderful
lifestyle.
My mother was born and raised in Te Araroa (in the Gisborne area). She was
1 of 18 children and attended the local school, with her brothers and sisters;
they all rode horses to school and left them in the paddock next to the school
during the day.
My mother tells the story that all the older children were responsible for
helping the younger ones do their chores and their homework, as there were
so many of them, they all needed to work together.
“Me mahi tātou, kia kaha te iwi”
“Together we work to strengthen all others”

Joshua Pritchard

Teacher Kauri
Year 5/6 - Room 8

About Me

Caitlin Gabriel

Teacher Kauri
Year 5/6 - Room 8

About Me

Kia Ora, my name is Caitlin Gabriel. I was born and raised in Auckland. I have been teaching our amazing Year 5/6s in the Sunnyvale Modern Learning Environment for two years now. I came here as a Student Teacher in 2017 and immediately felt a connection with the school culture, students, staff, families and whānau. I have a passion for building relationships and developing social and academic skills in our tamariki that will enable them to be lifelong learners. When I am not teaching I enjoy going to the beach, walking, having picnics, playing board games, reading and sharing a good meal with friends and family.

Renee Kirk

Teacher Kauri
Year 5/6 - Room 10

About Me

Tena Koutou Katoa,
Ko Bruce raua ko Margaret Kirk oku matua
Ko Ava Motu-Kirk taku tamaiti
i whanau katoa tatou i roto i Tamaki Makaurau
He kaiako ahau i te kura o Te ara o te ra
Kia Ora, Ko Renee Kirk toku ingoa

My name is Renee Kirk and I have been teaching for 18 years in 4 schools across Years 3-6. I was born and raised in Auckland. My partner and I have one daughter and we enjoy living in West Auckland. In my spare time I enjoy playing netball, tag and touch rugby. At Sunnyvale I run the sports and PE which I love. One of my favourite parts of teachng year 5-6 is going on school camp. I enjoy learning about students lives and meeting whanau. The classroom door is always open for whanau to visit and chat.

Sean Bishop

Teacher Kauri
Year 5/6 - Room 10

About Me

Hi I'm Sean, I love sports, technology, maths and science. I love challenging kids to try new things and learn new skills. I have a background in physical education, sports coaching and strength and conditioning. Being physically activity has always been a big part of my life and believe it should be for children also. I strongly feel technology should be used in the classroom as it is so integral to our society, I try to do this in ways that are only beneficial for the child and for learning in my classroom.

May Gaseata

Teacher Pohutukawa
Year 3/4 - Room 4

About Me

Talofa, talofa, talofa lava.
My name is May Gaseata and I have been at Sunnyvale since 2015 My passions include music and Siva Samoa, and I also love tutoring the Pasifika Group, alongside another colleague of mine. The thing I love most about teaching is; the lightbulb moments students have and seeing students shine in different areas at school, whether it be through academics, the arts or sports. In my spare time I love to play with my son and catch up on my programs. I love summer and going to the beach to have a swim and a BBQ. My door is always open and I am always willing to listen, so please do not hesitate to come in.

Faafetai lava

Daria Ahmad

Year 3/4 - Room 5

About Me

Sarah McMillan-Donze

Teacher Pohutukawa
Year 3/4 - Room 7

About Me

Alice Massey

Teacher Pohutukawa
Year 3/4 - Room 9

About Me

Olly Davidson

Teacher Pohutukawa
Year 3/4 - Room 9

About Me

Kia ora! My name is Olly Davidson and I have just started my teaching career at Sunnyvale in 2019. I came to Sunnyvale as a student teacher in 2018 and immediately knew that this was where I wanted to be. I love working with children of all ages and am really enjoying teaching the year 3/4 year level. I am passionate about teaching science and biology in particular, having studied in this field before beginning teaching.

James Grant

Teacher Nikau
Year 1/2 - Room 12

About Me

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Maungawhau taku maunga
Ko Koterana taku marae
Ko Grant taku hapū
Ko Cheryl taku Māmā
Ko Neil taku Pāpā
Ko Ashley taku tuahine
Ko James taku ingoa
No Tāmaki Makaurau ahau
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Kia ora, as I have said, my name is James Grant and I have taught at Sunnyvale for a few years now. I am really passionate about helping our tamariki be the best that they can be. At school, I enjoy all curriculum areas but drama would be the one closest to my heart. I love the confidence that drama gives children and I believe that it is a powerful way to engage students in all areas of their learning. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family, being involved in my local community theatre group and going for long bush walks. You are welcome in Room 12 any time and please say hello to me when you next see me around.

Pushpa Ram

Teacher Nikau
Year 1/2 - Room 13

About Me

I am Pushpa Ram, and I grew up in Fiji on a farm eating lots of fresh food and fruits every day. Listening to my grandma’s stories and learning many valuable life skills through playing with nature. I had a river near my house which was like a swimming pool .I got the teaching inspiration through my parents. They taught me how to read and write in my language. Therefore, I have a huge passion for teaching and learning and I absolutely love what I do. It’s an honour for me to be part of Sunnyvale School whanau and I will do everything I can to ensure our tamariki are nurtured in a supportive learning.

Mike Bell

Teacher Nikau
Year 1/2 - Room 14

About Me

Kia ora koutou, my name is Mike Bell. I started teaching at Sunnyvale Primary School in February 2018. I am originally from Hamilton however, I have been living in Auckland for the last 14 years. Most of my family still live in Hamilton and I travel down there frequently to visit them. I have been a full time teacher for the past 11 years and in that time I have taught all year levels from Years1 to 6. I have an interest in Inquiry based learning and the curriculum areas of Science, Environmental Sustainability, Digital Technology, Numeracy and Literacy.

Lesley Boswell

Teacher Nikau
Year 2 - Room 16

About Me

Kia Ora tatou, I’m Miss Boswell. I’m Sunnyvale’s resident All Black crazy and spider lover. I love encouraging tamariki to notice and appreciate the everyday natural world around them and enjoy teaching Reading and opening up young people’s imaginations.

Natasha Chandra

Teacher Kowhai
New Entrants - Room 2

About Me

Tupu Tagaloa

New Entrants - Room 3

About Me

Rachel Williams

Part Time Teacher

About Me

Sue Gauntlett

Part Time Teacher

About Me

Linda Watson

Senior Teacher ESOL

About Me

Juanita Olson

Secretary

About Me

Lucas Hemi

Caretaker Assistants
Caretaker with Cliffy and Shorty

About Me

Sharleen Eastmure

Accounts Administrator

About Me

Che Tiopira

Teacher Aide

About Me

Maree Bell

Teacher Aide

About Me

Angela Frazer

Teacher Aide

About Me

Maree May

Teacher Aide

About Me

Jo Pou

Teacher Aide

About Me

Karen Brosnahan

Teacher Aide

About Me

Pauline Murray

Teacher Aide

About Me

Tania Shannon

Teacher Aide

About Me

Renee Tiopira

Teacher Aide

About Me

Jaimee-Rae Kaire

Teacher Aide

About Me

Lorna Hopkins

Teacher Aide

About Me

Beverley Sullivan

Part Time Teacher

About Me

Carol Brookes

Part Time Teacher

About Me

Katie O'Shea

Part Time Teacher

About Me

Rikki-Leigh Smith

Teacher

About Me

Kia Ora e te Whanau,
Ko Orowhana toku maunga
Ko Rangiheke te awa
Ko Mamari toku waka
Ko Te Rarawa me Te Aupouri te iwi
Ko Whakamaharatanga te marae
Ko Rikki-Leigh ahau.

My name is Rikki-Leigh and I will be joining the Sunnyvale whanau in 2020. A little bit about me, my whanau originate from a small town named Herekino in the Far North. Sunnyvale Primary has always been special to me, it is where my four younger siblings were educated, the aroha and manaakitanga I felt and saw when my siblings came here really sealed my decision to become a teacher. Prior to studying to become a teacher, I worked in corporate finance for seven years and completed a Bachelor of Business but I always felt something was missing. Thankfully, I found it with the beautiful tamariki at Sunnyvale. I am really looking forward to a new adventure with you all.