Our Staff - Leadership Team

Paul Cooper

Welcome to the Whitiora School Team. As Principal of Whitiora School I have the privilege of leading a dedicated team of teachers and staff who take pride in providing a welcoming setting and encouraging creative opportunities for children and their learning in our Innovative Learning environment. I am passionate about seeing students succeed and developing habits of learning which will serve them well for life. I model this in my leadership which supports teachers in developing their professional practice and by taking on personal learning challenges which resulted recently in successfully completing my Masters in Education Leadership degree. We are always on the look out for new and exciting learning opportunities for our students. We believe Whitiora School is a great little school in the heart of the city. If you would like to talk about supporting new learning opportunities in the school do come and see me.

Robert (T.H) Biddle
Deputy Principal

Kia ora koutou.  I was raised in sunny Whakatane and I am affiliated to the iwi of Tuhoe, Ngati Awa, Te Whakatohea and Te Whanau a Apanui.  I have been teaching for 15 years at primary level in a rumaki, reo-rua and mainstream setting.  I am excited about my new role as Deputy Principal and will continue to motivate and inspire staff, students and whanau.  I have a passion for inquiry learning, blended learning and the use of 21st century skills to drive the learning and teaching in the classroom.  I look forward to meeting you all and can't wait to continue on this exciting journey of learning with our Whitora School community.

Teaching Staff

Virginia Marchioni
Leader of Learning 

I have been at Whitiora for ten years teaching from year 1 to 6. I am currently part of the teaching team in Totara learning Centre and one of the Reading Recovery Teachers in the school. I have a passion for literacy and numeracy and I enjoy being part of children's journey in learning. I have five children and one gorgeous granddaughter and grandson. Out of school I have a passion for animal welfare. My home consists of too many animals who are part of the family, and horses who I spend a lot of time with and I love riding.

Lacreice Petaera                                                                                                                                                                                 Leader of Learning

Kia ora koutou. I am an experienced teacher of 17 years. I have traveled extensively and I lived in the UK for a few years at the beginning of my teaching career. I have a personal love of reading, and particularly love teaching Literacy. I come from a large Maori whanau of 9 brothers and sisters, and 42 nieces and nephews. I have looked after children all of my life from babysitting, youth ministry and then teaching. I have been married to my amazing husband for 20 years and we have a beautiful 2 year old daughter.

Andrea Turner 
Leader of Learning

I have been teaching for 10 years. I have always taught in the Junior School, mainly in new entrant classes. I am Reading Recovery trained and would like to return to teaching Reading Recovery sometime in the future. I have three grown children, the youngest is living in London. I have three very cute little dogs and one cat.

Shahgul Mohmand

This is my third year teaching at Whitiora School. I'm currently teaching a mixed ability class ranging from year 4 - 6  children. I like teaching every subject but more so, Maths, Writing and P.E. I have three children, two of whom attend Whitiora School and they love it here. In my spare time I like to go on road trips and stay active with my family.

Natalie Toombs - Teacher

I am in Kauri Learning Centre with our senior students. I have a history in Behavioural Psychology and a passion for our learners with Special Education needs. I love the Performing Arts and Literacy, and I have also been heavily involved in Netball for the last two years. I have enjoyed time living overseas, the majority of which was in the Republic of Ireland. I am married and I have two young beautiful daughters.

Sarah Pearce - Teacher

I started my teaching career in 2004. Since then I have taught from Year 2 to Year 6. For the past  years I have relieved around Hamilton, while staying at home raising my beautiful family. Teaching at Whitiora School has re­ignited my passion for teaching. I enjoy teaching in an Innovative Learning Environment and the children are awesome! In my spare time, I enjoy being at the beach in Whitianga.

Dawn Irvin - Teacher

I have been in the teaching profession for many years and in fact Whitiora School was my first teaching position.  I am enjoying being back at Whitiora School.  I have taught at all levels in the Primary sector in various schools around Hamilton.  I have had experience as an Adviser of 'Teaching English as a Second Language' in Hong Kong.  I have a passion for teaching in Literacy.  I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, sewing and reading.

Alan Greenhead - Teacher                                                                                                                                                                                                             

I have returned to Hamilton after teaching across the North Island, mainly at the Year 0-3 levels. I have also taught in England and Japan, and I particularly enjoy sharing my love of art, music and science with students. I have an energetic four year old daughter and a son arriving soon. My family loves spending time in the outdoors

Support Staff

Heather Taylor
Administrative Secretary 
I have been School Secretary at Whitiora School for the past 15 years. I have worked at a number of schools over the years starting at Fairfield Primary School as a clerical assistant when my 3 children were still at Primary School. I really enjoy being Secretary at Whitiora as I get a lot of pleasure out of the children as they are all so different and delightful. I am also Treasurer for the Waikato Area of The Girls’ Brigade (a christian organisation for girls). I am  the proud grandmother of 8 beautiful grandchildren. I have two dogs ­ Milo and Libby and one cats named Nikki. (Because my husband is retired he walks the dogs for me ­ which is good for them, but bad for me.). I like to read, do Wasgij puzzles and spend time with my family.

Anne Mc Donald 
Teacher ­Aide   

This is my eleventh year working as a Teacher­-aide at Whitiora School after a 25 year career in the Bank. I absolutely love working with the children who need that extra help and find it very rewarding when they and I can see their progress. I also help the teachers from Year 1 to Year 8 in Reading and Writing. The little ones keep me young! I have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren, who I love to bits. I enjoy reading, gardening and spending time with friends and family. I am not ready for retirement so hopefully I will be at this great school a while longer.

Nadia Roberts 
Teacher ­Aide  

This is my third year at Whitiora School and my third year as a Teacher­-aide. I'm enjoying the challenge of learning as I work and gaining experience.  I am loving my new married life. I am an avid Rugby supporter who has a passion for anything to do with the sport. I love being at Whitiora School and encompassing what the future has in store for my Teacher­-aide career.

Dasrath Dasrath
I have worked at Whitiora School for two and a half years. I enjoy coming into the school and I feel welcomed by the teachers and children.

Mark Perry

I have been the Caretaker at Whitiora School since January 2007. I enjoy the daily interaction with the children and the staff and work hard to ensure that they can come to work in a safe and clean environment. Whitiora School is a great little school in the heart of the city. Outside of school, my main passion is cycling. I love to bike around, taking in the sights and sounds of our beautiful Hamilton. See you on the road sometime.