My name is Barry Finch and I have been working in the education sector for the past 30 years. My teaching career started in the Kimberley, in a remote Indigenous junior high school. From that experience, and a few short stints in the mainstream education sector, I realised that working in a small school was where I belonged and that is where I have since stayed.
I have been at Port School since 2001, the first 10 years as workshop teacher, and I have been Principal since 2010. My journey at Port has been quite amazing. I have worked with some incredibly resilient young people as well as a group of dedicated and extremely talented staff. All in all Port is an awesome community that I still look forward to coming to every day.
My name is Mike Gilbert and I started at Port in 2010 and have been a Teacher, Special Projects Coordinator and now Deputy Principal. I have been in education, training, social inclusion and crime reduction roles for over 20 years, with periods in the consulting and corporates worlds also. I am family orientated with a wife and 2 children, am active in my community with organisations such as Rotary and Apex and have been involved in many fundraising campaigns and projects over the last 30 years. I am currently a board member of RugbyWA Juniors. I like to bring my connections, stakeholder relationships and life experiences to Port and turn them into beneficial programs, new business development ideas, activities and experiences that students can take away with them. This includes our annual Malaysia excursion, our international aid project, which I lead. I am very proud to be part of an incredibly diverse team that offers our students every opportunity to have educational and life success.
Senior School Manager, English Teacher
My name is Joy Cromwell and I have lived and worked for many years in the Fremantle area. When my daughter began her school career I decided to return to school also and study education and literature. I received my degrees in English and Secondary Education at Murdoch University and my first teaching job was at South Fremantle Senior High School, where I was offered a full-time position and remained there until 2013. During my time there I was fortunate enough to be afforded the experience of combining my passions: teaching literature, working with ”at risk youth” and running the Indigenous Tutoring Assistant Scheme and Follow the Dream programs. Although I loved my time at South I was very excited when the English teaching role opened up here at Port and was very happy when Barry offered me the position! I work with amazing people and what we offer our students goes far beyond the realm of standard academic and non-academic education. Port has grown in many amazing ways since my first days here and the changes and growth ensures our students have access to a dynamic and all encompassing educational experience.
Senior School Manager, Health & Wellbeing Teacher
My name is Raf Fecondi and my roles at Port include co-managing the Senior School, and running Health and Wellbeing classes. I first became a teacher when I lived in England, where I worked as a Head of Department and Head of Faculty, as well as a Pastoral Care Leader. When I moved to Australia I worked as the Head of the Philosophy and Ethics Department at Hale School, where I was also a Head of House. I later moved to Wesley College, where I took on the roles of Head of Department, Director of Pastoral Care and Student Services and Acting Head of Senior School. I moved to Port School because I wanted to return to my core passion of working with engaging students outside of the mainstream education sector. I am very glad I made this move, as I love my job and no two days are ever the same!
Middle School Manager, Teacher
My name is Matt Hopkins and I am a passionate and dedicated teacher, and have worked in primary and secondary schools in WA and NSW for over 15 years. In that time I have taught in a range of schools from top achieving NAPLAN schools through to those with struggling students as well as ESL backgrounds. I am particularly passionate about literacy and numeracy and have a strong belief that all kids deserve the same educational chances, despite the disadvantage they may face. I love my role at Port Middle School where I get to work with dynamic, enthusiastic and engaging staff and students and help them achieve their best.
RTO Manager, Workshop Teacher
My name is Phil Brooks and I have a background in Design, specifically Furniture Design. I ran my own business for more than a dozen years whilst also lecturing at Curtin and ECU Universities and being the Senior Lecturer at the Australian School of Fine Wood. I have experience in the development and management of Registered Training Organisations and the development and delivery of certificate programmes. Whilst also being a qualified teacher, I was tempted by Port School as a place where a real difference could be made. I am now in my 5th year here and since commencing, we have established a range of vocationally based certificates. We also have over 20 students out on traineeships, work experience and further study. I really look forward to seeing Port become a hub for transitioning our older students out to engaging and rewarding careers.
Outreach Program Manager
My name is Jane Hawdon I have been teaching for over 30 years, I have always enjoyed working with marginalised youth. I initially came to Port as Principal in 2000, and went on to lecture at ECU in behavioural management. After returning from ten years teaching undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles, I was excited to return to Port as Outreach Coordinator. I am always looking for innovative ways to engage our most marginalised youth and help them to reach their life goals.
Mobile Classroom Team Leader, Teacher
My name is Tom Lee and this is my seventh year teaching at Port School. I completed a Graduate Diploma in Education in 2013, having attained a degree in History and English Literature some years earlier. I am a Freo boy through and through, and went to High School just down the road. Prior to teaching I had a career in Arts and Event management, and ran a number of venues around Fremantle and in London.
My passion in my current job comes from working with our Indigenous students to make education meaningful, relevant, enjoyable and empowering. I currently run the Mobile Classroom Program, and this has allowed me to explore and develop my area of passion. I aim to continue to improve and sharpen the program’s focus so that it can become a cutting edge facility that provides meaningful outcomes for our students.
Middle & Senior School Teacher (Maternity Leave)
My name is Jenna Garard and I began my career in Outdoor Education. I studied a Bachelor of Applied Science in Adventure Ecotourism and Certificate IV Outdoor Recreation before completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning. I spent five years in the Northern Territory teaching, before returning to my hometown in NSW to teach. I began my career at Port School when I relocated to Western Australia in 2016. I strive to be the best teacher I can be and above all else, I want the students to have fun, enjoy their schooling and develop a passion for learning.
Visual Arts Teacher
My name is Dionne Garvey and I have a Bachelor of Education in Art from Curtin University specialising in Printmaking and Ceramics. Visual Arts education has always been a passion of mine, having worked in a variety of public and independent schools over the past 20 years. I feel very privileged to be a part of the Port School community. Coordinating and running Port’s very successful Visual Arts program is an extremely fulfilling role. In addition to teaching, I have worked in a variety of voluntary organisations such as the Art Education Association of Western Australia. My roles over an extended period included: Vice President, Treasurer, Journal Convenor, Publications and Executive Committee member. I have been a member of the Angelico Exhibition Committee representing Catholic Arts for a period of 19 years, and the judging of last year’s exhibition was a highlight of my time spent in this organisation. I have worked as a consultant for SCASA, assisting with the development of Judging Standards for the most recent curriculum changes in the Arts. I am passionate about continued professional development in my field and working closely with my arts colleagues from all over WA. Educating and inspiring young people to love art and to embrace creativity is my ultimate teaching goal.
Middle & Senior School Teacher
My name is John Hill and I joined Port School in 2019. I graduated from university in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Philosophy and History. Following this, I worked in various jobs until I discovered a passion for building and restoring stonework. I subsequently juggled my own business working as a stonemason, with being a stay-at -home Dad to two amazing girls. Seeing the role education and fantastic teaching played in their development led me back to university, where I completed a Graduate Diploma of Education. My journey in teaching is only just beginning, but I feel very lucky to be able to learn from both the staff and students at Port School.
Autism Specialist & Teacher
My name is Liz Love and I studied at Murdoch and Notre Dame Universities before beginning my teaching career in 1998. I held several temporary positions in schools across the metropolitan area before securing a position at Leeming Education Support Centre in 2002. I originally worked with senior students, to prepare them for life after school, before moving to Middle School.
South Fremantle Senior High School opened an Autism Extension Program in 2009 and I was appointed to the position of Teacher in Charge with responsibility to design, coordinate and teach the program, with support from education assistants. The Autism Extension Program was one of only four programs in the metropolitan area and catered for students on the spectrum, who have an average to above average academic level. During this time, the Education Department commissioned four films about the Autism Extension Program at South Fremantle Senior High School. These films formed part of professional development opportunities for teaching staff, parents and therapists across Western Australia. In 2019, South Fremantle Senior High School amalgamated with Hamilton Senior High School to form Fremantle College.
I commenced work at Port School as Specialist Autism Teacher in mid-2018. I look forward to the continuing joys and challenges of working with students on the spectrum and with the wonderful staff who support our students at Port School.
Senior School Mathematics Teacher
My name is Eileen Vlahovich and I have been working at Port School since 2017.
I grew up in Western Sydney and studied a Master of Teaching (Primary) at the University of Western Sydney. I began teaching primary school in Western Sydney, before heading overseas and spending 2 years teaching in London and travelling Europe. I then spent the next few years relief teaching and travelling as much as possible, including a 6 month around the world trip in 2014. I moved to Perth in June 2015 and was relief teaching and working in hospitality until I was given a position at Port. My role at Port School is teaching maths, as well as Team Sport and running Girl’s Fitness classes in the gym. My aim is to create a safe place where students are able to grow academically, as well as in confidence and interpersonal skills, so that they may experience success in their lives after Port.
My name is Louise Browne and I have been working in education, training (community services) and vocational pathways for over 20 years.
The majority of my time has been spent supporting students who are at-risk, indigenous youth or have a disability. I strongly support ‘Closing the Gap’ initiatives and I am focused on achieving positive results in this area.
I am looking forward to seeing the vocational pathways sector take off and engage students through Certificate courses, work experience and school-based traineeships.
I joined Port in 2019 and feel very privileged to work with such wonderful staff and students.
My name is Paul Holland and I am a qualified Furniture Designer, Cabinetmaker and Carpenter. I have been a self employed craftsman nearing 20 years including a number of years teaching and training students in my trades. My role at Port School provides instruction in a variety of skills that will advance opportunities both in their personal and working lives.
Sports Chaplain & Fitness Trainer
My name is Brad Rowden and I have been involved in Sports Chaplaincy for the past 20 years working in both secondary and primary schools in Western Australia. I have been employed at Port School since 2008 working with students with their physical, social, emotional and spiritual development.
VET Employment Coordinator
My name is Stephanie Daniell. I have been working at Port School since 2015. I spent the majority of my teaching career at inner city secondary schools in the UK. After emigrating in 2004, I settled in Perth.
My career in Australia has been spent in the vocational sector, mostly training and mentoring in the Apprenticeship / Traineeship field. I was fortunate to have specialist roles liaising with WA Schools and Corrective Services, which enabled me to travel across the state.
Secondary school teaching has always been my passion though, so when I came to Port it felt like ‘home’. I knew there was opportunity to expand possibilities for our students. We could encourage their aspiration and achievement in pathways beyond the classroom. I feel privileged to work with these students at this progressive school.
RTO Administrator & Compliance Officer
My name is Ellena Frisina and I am a Compliance Officer, Year 13 coordinator and trainer. I have been working in the vocational education sector for the past 13 years as a trainer, assessor and instructional designer. Port School has given me the opportunity to combine my interest and experience in VET compliance, with the opportunity to assist students to work towards their academic goals. I look forward to working with the amazing staff and students each day.
My name is Belinda Carcione and I found my passion of working with Youth at Risk while working with the Department of Communities. As a Youth and Family Support Worker I worked with families in times of need. In this role I have supported young people to navigate the juvenile justice system and linked them with other agencies and services; always working closely with schools to re-engage young people in education.
I am a member of the Port Outreach Team, helping disengaged students to re-engage in education, making sure they are safe, healthy and that their needs are being met. I am tenacious and never give up on my students. My objective is always to support them to engage in school.
My name is Stephanie Clift and my journey to Port began when I was studying my Certificate IV in Youth Work. Port gave me the opportunity to complete the required work experience for the course and after completion, I was offered a position. I have been a member of the Port School team since 2019, and my role is to support students in the classroom and to encourage successful engagement and learning.
My name is Dennis Colbung. I am very pleased to be working at Port School. I am a young Noongar man from the Great Southern region who grew up on the streets of Tambellup.
I have a large family. I graduated from High School in 2005. My passion is working with youth. I have the heart and desire to give everything I have to achieve persistent and positive results.
I have worked in various roles since leaving High School ranging from working in Art Galleries, Legal, Youth and Mining roles. I have very good connection with the community, stretching from the South West of Western Australia through to the Perth Metropolitan area. I am able to relate to the youth of Port due to my life and job experiences.
I’ve been at Port School for 18 months and have gained a very close connection to most, if not all of the students and I will endeavour to continue to be a positive role model, one whom students of Port can lean on. I would like to thank Port School for allowing me to be a part of the amazing team.
My name is Dan Duggan. I am a professional artist and have worked for over 20-years as a practitioner and youth mentor for private, commercial and community clients on a range of diverse projects from digital design to large-scale public art installations.
I completed a Diploma of Graphic Design in 1994, and went on to launch my own creative arts business, with a focus on community mural projects as a way of sharing his passion and enthusiasm for street art with a wider audience. Working mainly with aerosols, I started to see that this was a great way to engage young people with their community and to get them excited about making art and seeing it as another language with which to express themselves positively.
My work over the past 20-years has mainly been in connection with young people, as a mentor, teacher and role model in both metropolitan and regional areas, which is the path that has lead me to work at Port School.
I am passionate about education, about a fair go for all and about supporting young people to explore their own interests to reach their full potential. I call upon my skills and many years of experience as an artist, musician and positive role model to show that life can lead us along many roads to get us where we want to be.
G’day, My name is Tristan Eastwood. I have been a Youth Worker at Port School since 2016. My journey in supporting young people began soon after leaving high school. Firstly as a volunteer in a church youth group, followed by coordinating a primary school mentoring program in seven schools within the Fremantle/Cockburn area, High School Chaplain, Youth Diversion Officer with the City of Cockburn and now Port School.
My work at Port includes working on the Mobile Classroom, being an education assistant in Maths, Outreach work, Fitness Centre Trainer, “Keys4Life” facilitator and general student support and advocacy. Through all this I strive to inspire the students to have hope and determination to live out their potential.
My name is Felicity Moore. I was born in Sydney. My family moved back to WA and the Fremantle area where I lived, attended school and worked. In my early 20’s, I packed my bags for a solo journey and travelled the globe for several years meeting many amazing people, including my future husband. I returned to Perth a little unsettled with my future prospects. After living the high life working in fashion marketing and roaming the globe on private yachts for 5 years, I felt I needed something more fulfilling in my life.
During this time I settled down into married life with the man I had met overseas and had two beautiful boys. I continued to enjoy teaching and studied in Education Support. This gave me an opportunity to work both in Primary and Senior Schools and also teaching LOTE for some time.
I was introduced to the students and team at Port and immediately felt I had finally found home in my working life. I enjoy and love the fact I’m still learning everyday and most importantly, seeing the students enjoy the classes, learn skills and grow in confidence. I’m passionate about teaching and supporting the students. I enjoy passing on many of my life experiences and I’m looking forward to many of our students creating their own wonderful experiences.
Student Support (Maternity Leave)
My name is Trysh Mourish and I am a proud Nyoongar Yorga with strong connections to Yued, Ballardong and Kenang countries. I’ve worked in community services for over 10 years and am passionate about improving career opportunities and outcomes for young people. I completed a double Diploma in Career Development along with a Diploma in Employment Services. My aim is to teach the students the importance of education, self-awareness and perseverance. I believe there are six major values of life; education, adaptability, determination, resilience, respect and honesty.
My name is Scott Roycroft and I began working at Port School in 2019. I previously worked as a cook for 10 years in various restaurants in Perth and Melbourne. I have worked with youth for many years as a basketball coach and have also run Urban Art/Street Art programs within the community. I have always had a passion working with youth, helping them to develop skills and guiding them towards a positive future. I am very proud to be a part of the amazing team at Port School.
My name is Yianni Sifandos and I have been a youth worker on and off for 10 years. I have always had a passion for working with youth and seeing them gain personal confidence from within.
In between working in the community with youth, I have held various jobs in the mining and construction industry, but my passion and love of working alongside young people has brought me back to the community. Since 2017 it has been my great pleasure to work at Port School.
My name is Suzanna Sullivan-Jessop and my journey at Port School began in 2018 in Student Support. Prior to this I worked at South Fremantle High School in the Autism Extension Program and I have a Diploma in Beauty Therapy. At Port School I get to combine both my passions – working with students in an incredible, supportive environment as well as sharing my knowledge and skills in Beauty Therapy which may inspire their future goals and pathways.
My name is Grayem White and my journey to Port School has been a long one. After many years of being a tradesman, combined with growing up on a farm in the north western wheatbelt of NSW, I felt it was time for me to play more of a role in providing support for young people, so they too could enjoy growing and learning to participate in society in ways that are rich with experience. I entered university with this idea, which saw me graduate with a bachelor degree in counselling. I believe Port School is in a unique and powerful position to provide this. I am proud to be part of the team here at Port and look forward to the challenges and victories ahead.
Young Parent Centre Manager
My name is Michelle Forsyth and I am the Manager of the Young Parent Centre (YPC). I have been at Port School since 2016, having previously coordinated teen parenting programs at both Uniting Care West and Gilmore College. I began my career in banking and finance and then became an Education Assistant before joining Port School where I work with the young mums. My main role is to support and enhance the young mums parenting skills and to assist them to achieve educational outcomes. I enjoy my role immensely and love working with the wonderful staff, mums and bubs in the YPC and the Early Learning Centre.
Young Parent Centre Teacher
My name is Aidan Rowden and I have been working at Port School since July 2018. Prior to working at Port, I studied a Bachelor of Education (Primary, Health and PE 1-10) at Murdoch University. I began studying in February 2013 and graduated in February 2018. Whilst studying teaching at Murdoch, I also undertook a Certificate III & IV in Fitness, which I completed in August 2018. I currently work in the Port Young Parent Centre as a teacher. I’ve loved having the opportunity to work in the Young Parent Centre. I’m excited to work alongside our staff to help build and encourage healthy, strong relationships.
Young Parent Centre Student Support
My name is Chelsea Eastwood and I am the Education Assistant in the Young Parent Centre. My career started at 19, working as an Education Assistant at Hamilton Senior High School, and I joined the Port School team in 2017. My main role is to engage the young mums in their education and to provide support with their parenting in a supportive and holistic environment. I enjoy my job, as I get to watch the young mums grow in their confidence, and their babies reach their developmental milestones.
Early Learning Centre Manager
My name is Emily Longman and I have been working in the Childcare Industry for almost 20 years. In 2001 I moved to Perth to study my Diploma in Children’s Services. I have only worked in a handful of centres over the years and have found them all to be very rewarding. I am passionate about my role as Coordinator at Port Early Learning Centre and love that we are supporting young mums to complete their schooling so they can give their own children the best start to life.
2IC & Early Learning Centre Educator
Kia Ora, Hi! My name is Kathleen Murray and I have had the pleasure of working in the early childhood sector for many years. I completed all my training in New Zealand where I gained a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. My main role at the Port Early Learning Centre is Assistant Contact Coordinator and Educational Leader. I have a passion for education, development and support of young children and I believe that their long-term learning is directly affected by their early childhood education experiences.
Early Learning Centre Educator
Kia Ora, Hi! Hello, my name is Kororia Ririnui (aka Klaudz) and I am a Qualified Educator at the Port Early Learning Centre. I started my career in a bilingual Early Learning Centre in New Zealand, teaching 0-5 year old children for over 20 years. I have a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education and joined the Port Early Learning Team in 2016. I am passionate about giving children a voice to know who they are, so they are able to stand strong and confident in the world in which we live. “Breeding Leaders” in their early years.
Head of Student Support Services & Counsellor
My name is Molly Donaldson and I have been a counsellor at Port School since 2017. I am originally from the US and in 2015 graduated with a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology, with a Concentration in Somatic Psychology. I have been working with adolescents for six years and look forward to continuing my commitment to helping teens during a challenging period in their life. I am endlessly impressed with the professionalism and empathetic engagement of my colleagues at Port School and feel lucky to be a member of such an accomplished staff.
Student Support Services Coordinator
My name is Andrea Stacey and I have been working in education for the past twenty years. I grew up in Northam, relocated to Perth to study nursing and then returned to regional WA and worked in a variety of country towns after graduation. I began working for the Department of Education in Student Support in the late 1990’s, and the highlight of this role was working at PMH in the hospital school. I graduated from Murdoch University with a BA in 2018, my focus was Youth Work, Drug and Alcohol Addictions, Social Work and Counselling/Pastoral Care. I work as the Student Support Services Coordinator and I am passionate about supporting young people to reach their potential. Working at Port School is akin to belonging to a big, caring and dedicated family, the staff go above and beyond to work holistically with the students, and the teamwork ethic is strong.
Psychologist & Counsellor
My name is Dave Stubbs and I have been working at Port School since 2017. I have been a registered psychologist for 10 years, and prior to working at Port School, I worked across the disability, child protection and adolescent mental health sectors. I am currently completing post-graduate study at Curtin University alongside working at Port part-time. I remain passionate about adolescent mental health and working within an at risk education setting.
My name is Michelle Zietsman and I have been working at the Young Parent Centre at Port School since 2017. I grew up in South Africa and initially studied a Bachelor in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing at Tshwane University in Pretoria, South Africa. My family immigrated to Australia in the beginning of 2011. A decision to re-skill myself resulted in initially enrolling at TAFE to study a Double Diploma in Community Services and Counselling. Upon completion, I enrolled in a Bachelors degree in Counselling at Edith Cowan University. At the moment, I am still studying and skilling myself as a Psychotherapist by undertaking a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy. I am passionate about counselling, as it has proven to help most emotional, relational and psychological difficulties that individuals experience in life, such as anxiety, depression and panic feelings. I feel honoured and privileged to be part of the Mental Health and Support Team based at Port School.
My name is Nolene Martin and my Port School journey began in 2015, when I joined Barry and his team as Business Manager. Born and raised in the Fremantle area, I studied at UWA but always had a great urge to travel and to experience other countries and cultures. This lead me, post-study, on a 30-year overseas adventure, during which time I lived and worked in a number of countries. I was most fortunate to be able to turn my passion into my career, working for 25 plus years in the Global Travel Industry, mainly in the areas of marketing and product development as well as business, product and relationship management. Living abroad in different countries and communities made me acutely aware of differing needs of individuals.
No two days are ever the same here at Port and it is my aim is to ensure a seamless behind-the-scenes operation for staff, students and the greater school community.
My name is Eric Sankey and I am the Finance Officer at Port School. Interestingly, I was appointed by Jane Hawdon at the time of her leaving the school in 2003 and have now seen her return in 2016. I am a freelance bookkeeper/BAS agent with a few other clients. I have been extremely impressed with the changes to the school over the past 16 years and hope to continually improve the accounting and reporting procedures for the benefit of the management team and governing board.
Reception & Administration Officer
My name is Maria Cecchi and in February 2019 I joined Port in February 2019 as Receptionist and Administration Officer. I have a background in photography and enjoy capturing ‘life in pictures’ as everyone has a special story to tell. My husband and I also run a small business and we are in partnership with a close friend. We create an all-natural electrolyte replacement drink to aid in addressing the issues of dehydration. I have spent the majority of my working career in administration roles and look forward to making a positive contribution to the school community.
My name is Rachael Hall and I have been working at Port School since 2017. My role varies from general administration to accounts payable and assisting with the smooth running of back office. I enjoy helping students and staff on an as-needed basis.
Maintenance Officer & Groundsperson
My name is Andre Horsley and my work at Port School includes garden, building and yard care. I started working full-time at Port only in 2018, although the school has however employed my wife and I as cleaning contractors for approximately 17 years. I am a mechanic by trade but have worked in maintenance for the past 8 years and am pleased to be part of the Port School family.
My name is Tim Murphy and I joined Port School in 2001, when the School building was pretty much an empty shell. Each room had been converted from the original squash courts, and it was my job to make the place look like a school. And it has been growing ever since. Over the years my role has changed and taken shape as mentor, maintenance, building and working in the workshop. What has kept me here for nearly 20 years is the challenge of making a real difference to our young peoples’ lives, and seeing them take pride in their work and who they are, as well as working alongside a great team of people. Mine is the type of job where no two days are the same and this is also something I really enjoy and value!