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St Augustine's College

An education in the marist tradition

Heads of Department

St Augustine's College

Bryan Carswell

Indigenous Liaison Officer

Bryan attended St Augustine’s College as a full-time boarding student before moving to Brisbane to study commercial art at the Queensland College of Art. After working for nearly 10 years in the industry he looked for a change where he could further his love of art combined with his understanding and passion for Indigenous culture. Bryan wanted to help engage Indigenous youth in education and help them develop their creative and artistic talents.

He became a teacher’s aide at Saints in 1997 under the guidance of Aunty Mary O’Shane, who was Indigenous liaison officer at the time. Bryan eventually took on that role alongside those of teacher’s aide and tutor, and has worked with Indigenous students for 23 years. He has mentored and guided them in their learning, helping them to succeed and grow in confidence and created opportunities for students to take part in their culture and in the wider community.

Outside the classroom, Bryan spends time with his family and friends, watches movies and, if time permits, dabbles in some art.

St Augustine's College

Mary-Anne Schofield

Head of Learning Enrichment

Mary-Anne discovered a love of writing, language and literature at an early age and began her career in journalism and advertising. After a trial period as an educator during New York City’s teacher shortage she realised education was her true calling, particularly as it relates to students with diverse needs.

She taught and led teaching initiatives in London and Melbourne before moving to Far North Queensland to join her husband. Mary-Anne holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from New York University and a Graduate Diploma in Education from Melbourne University.

Mary-Anne has been active in teaching and learning initiatives such as the Victorian government’s literacy development programs, and action research on literacy and learning with Melbourne University. With a passion for promoting students’ reading and literacy development, she led the literacy program at her Melbourne high school, which was twice the most improved school in the state. Mary-Anne has served as a VCAA English and media studies examiner, QCS marker and trial marker of QCAA English exams.

St Augustine's College

Helen Leicht

VET Careers & Pathway Coordinator

Helen graduated from Griffith University as a mature-age student, having previously worked in the horticultural and arboricultural industry. Helen started teaching on the Gold Coast, then moved with her family to Charters Towers to teach plant identification, agriculture and swimming at All Souls St Gabriels. Helen moved to Cairns to teach at St Mary’s Catholic College and took on the role of VET Coordinator for the Cairns Catholic Diocese before taking up her position at St Augustine’s.

Outside of work Helen enjoys swimming, running and competing in triathlons. When she is not volunteering as a surf life saver or out gardening. Helen's passion is looking after ecosystems.

St Augustine's College

Jay Killoran

Head of LOTE and Japan Exchange Coordinator

With over 20 years’ teaching experience in Japan and Australia, Jay has developed an in-depth appreciation of language and communication. He believes that “what languages make you do is perform the study of otherness”. He says "It allows you to gain insight into cultures and people’s lives which is impossible to gain in any other way”.

While living for 10 years in Japan, he studied Japanese at college and established his own language school. On returning to Australia he coordinated language programs at private schools in Central Queensland focusing on the communicative approach to language teaching.

In recent years Jay has attended trade missions to Japan in association with Trade and Investment Queensland to promote this state’s schools there, and to implement opportunities for reciprocal exchanges that immerse local and international students into a new global world.

Jay began teaching at Saints in 2019 and is a proud grandson of Vic Killoran an Old Boy from the inaugural Saints class of 1930.

St Augustine's College

Cherie Spannenburg

Head of Arts and Performing Arts

With a teaching career spanning 30 years, Cherie has worked in primary and secondary schools across Far North Queensland as a multi-instrumental and classroom music teacher. With her formative years spent performing with the Queensland Youth Orchestra and community bands in South East Queensland, she moved to FNQ to continue her music teaching career. 

Cherie spends many out-of-school hours working with small music groups and individual performers, also giving her time directing and performing with community music groups including Cairns Youth Orchestra, Cairns Concert Band and Cairns Choral Society. 

Her goal is to ignite in her students the kind of passion she has for music so they become musicians for life, contributing to the vibrant music scene in whatever way they most enjoy.

St Augustine's College

Nathan Kelly

Curriculum Coordinator Visual Arts

Nathan has taught visual arts at Saints since 2006 and brings a wealth of hands-on and academic knowledge to his subject. His program incorporates varied artmaking processes with a focus on digital technologies and engaging boys in arts education.

The quality of his students’ work is reflected in the accolades they have received: five have been finalists in the prestigious Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art, and many others have been recognised for their work. 

Nathan graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and obtained a Graduate Diploma of Education, a Graduate Certificate of Religious Education and a Master's in Educational Leadership. He also holds a Master’s in Art and Design Education from the University of NSW.

He maintains his own significant art practice as a photographer, who explores alternative techniques, portraiture and music photography. His work has been published and exhibited around the world and has been acquired by significant public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Library of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.

St Augustine's College

Chris Wright

Head of Gildas Centre

Chris has worked in education for over 30 years in state, independent and Catholic schools. His vast experience in leadership and teaching theatre, film and television, English and e-learning research as well as Year 12 exit training offers his students a wealth of knowledge, life experience and stories.

With a passion for debating and public speaking, Chris helped to consolidate the Queensland Debating Union of Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast 20 years ago.  He has also coached and mentored many debating teams and individuals to national finals and state championships. Chris's role has encompassed e-learning and research skills working with students in the Gildas Centre, which he runs. The Gildas Games, held annually during the College’s Cerise and Blue Open Night, are great fun for Year 7 students and their parents.

When not involved in schoolwork, Chris has ties to the local tennis clubs playing at an A level, and he makes promotional films.

St Augustine's College

Cassie Jashar

Head of e-Learning

Cassie was born and bred in Cairns and pursued her passion for science and research straight out of high school. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree, with a double major in biochemistry/molecular biology and physiology in 2012, then graduated with first-class honours in pharmacology in 2013. During her studies, Cassie found a passion for teaching while tutoring first- year university students across a number of disciplines and completed her Graduate Diploma in Education in 2014. She has been at Saints for the past six years, sharing her knowledge and love of science with her students.

Cassie is eager to work with staff and students to use technology for organisation and enhanced teaching and learning as Head of e-Learning.

In her spare time, Cassie enjoys gardening, baking and spending time with her family and dogs.

St Augustine's College

Deb Fish

Head of Technologies

Debra had a diverse international upbringing, and grew up in the UK, Africa and South America. After completing her computer degree in the UK, she took on the role of IT manager for an advertising agency in London for six years.  Debra then continued her passion for learning new things by spending three years travelling around the world doing charity work and teaching English as a second language.
On her return to the UK, she specialised at Bath University in teaching computer science in secondary schools. Since then her passion has been to embrace new technologies and keep up to date with emerging innovations. Debra has taught for 10 years and was head of ICT in the UK and head of e-learning in China before reaching the shores of Australia and taking a position at Saints.

In her spare time Debra manages the U15 rugby team and the Robotics Club, and is a keen camper who often explores outback Australia.

St Augustine's College

Heath McKenzie

Head of Health & PE

An Old Boy of St Augustine’s, Heath returned to teach in 2015. He is passionate about health literacy and enjoys promoting and teaching health and PE and the Certificate III in Fitness. He is also the coach of the First XI cricket side, and CISSA inter-school touch football teams. His other involvement within the College is as a Student Protection Officer.

Outside school Heath enjoys spending time with his young family and playing touch football and golf.

St Augustine's College

Toby McCarthy

Head of Sport

Born on the Gold Coast, Toby studied education at QUT in Brisbane completing a double major in film and TV and English. After teaching for three years in East Brisbane, he moved to Saints in 2005. While at the College, Toby has undertaken many roles, most notably Acting Head of Year 11 and head of Year 8 before becoming Head of Sport in 2019.

He runs the Film and Media Department and encourages his students' creative abilities, develops their knowledge and skills to make productions expressing their artistic voices. Toby is the College’s First XV rugby union coach, and despite his coaching area, he loves many sports and strives to create as many opportunities for the boys as possible.

St Augustine's College

Matthew Di Salvo

Assistant Head of Sport

Matt is passionate about sport and physical activity. He coaches various teams at St Augustine’s and is enjoying his role as Assistant Head of Sport.

He joined Saints in 2016 after studying sport and exercise science at JCU and completing a Graduate Diploma in Education at USQ. Previously he was a sports aide and a teacher at St Mary’s Woree and worked in the Northern Pride’s high performance unit.

Outside of school, Matt enjoys coaching and playing sport, as well as socialising with friends.

St Augustine's College

Katie Fulton

Head of Religious Education

Growing up in a family of educators, Katie has been part of the Marist family for most of her life. A graduate of history and philosophy at the Australian National University, she then went on to study a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education with a Certificate in Religious Education at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra.

Katie has taught in Catholic schools in Canberra, Townsville and on Thursday Island and Hammond Island in the Torres Strait where she was assistant principal - religious education. Since moving to Cairns, she has worked on a project to improve literacy programs for remote Indigenous schools, before joining the Saints staff in 2016.

Katie is passionate about the study of religion. She believes that the skills it develops, including interpersonal awareness, critical thinking and intercultural literacy, are vital for equipping young people to participate in the modern world with tolerance and compassion.

St Augustine's College

Jesse Zell

Head of Science

A Saints Old Boy from the class of ’98, Jesse was born and grew up in Cairns. His passion for science was spawned by a love of physical activity and the outdoors. This was translated into the studies of health and environmental science, with Jesse graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Applied Science.

During a 16-year teaching career he has worked in several schools in the Cairns region as well as in the UK. Jesse believes a quality and rigorous science education, in the age of Google, fake news and unbridled access to information, is now more important than ever.

St Augustine's College

Jon Sorensen

Head of Humanities

Jon, an Old Boy of the College, graduated from Saints in 2006. Before teaching, he obtained a Bachelor of Laws and worked in the legal profession. A career change in 2016 saw Jon back at Saints this time as a teacher.  Teaching across the Business and Humanities departments, he was appointed Head of the Business Department in 2019. Jon enjoys lengthy discussions with his students and his enthusiasm and life experiences in law are brought to the classroom through his creative pedagogy.

Outside of school, Jon enjoys the great outdoors and loves fishing off the shores of Cairns.

St Augustine's College

Tina Nguyen-Hales

Head of English

Tina’s passion for the arts saw her graduate with a double degree in theatre arts and English literature and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning. As a graduate teacher Tina took up the opportunity to build a drama program, direct school musicals and teach senior English at St Mary of the Angels in Victoria. She worked with an education-based company preparing students for external English exams with resource creation, exam writing and presenting revision seminars in Melbourne.

Tina moved back home to Cairns in 2015 and reignited her love for debating and public speaking here at Saints. With over 11 years’ experience teaching she is excited to be using her skills with external exams to help navigate her students through the QCE system.

Outside school, Tina is undertaking further studies with a combined Bachelor/Master of International Relations, hoping to one day combine this with her passion and experience in education.

St Augustine's College

Marie Oldfield

Head of Mathematics

Canadian born, Marie grew up ice fishing, skiing and playing volleyball. Her first language is French, and she did not start learning English until she was studying mathematics at university.
Marie travelled around the world, and while backpacking around Australia met her future husband. Her introduction to Cairns was quite ominous, arriving a few days before cyclone Yasi. Despite such an introduction, Marie quickly developed an affection for Cairns and has enjoyed creating a home here for her family.
Marie joined Saints in 2011 and admits it felt like home straight away, immersing herself in College life. Marie's caring nature and genuine passion for teaching students has helped make Marie the true Marist she is today. Her passion for Mathematics is infectious, with countless students attending her morning tutorials eager to advance their mathematical skills.