Skip to main content

St Augustine's College

An education in the marist tradition

Heads of Department

St Augustine's College

Samantha Olding

Head of Arts

Samantha has been involved with the Arts since the age of 6; performing in stage and dance productions. A student in Dance, Drama and Media saw Sam seek a profession as a contemporary Dancer  with Expressions Dance Company in Brisbane. She travelled Australia and the world performing on stage. After injury she decided on a career in Education, teaching the very subjects she loves. 

After completing a Bachelor of Education, specialising in Drama, Dance and English, Sam began teaching in Cairns in 2004. In her 18 years of teaching Sam has been involved in Rock Eisteddfods, State schools Onstage in Brisbane where she took a dance team to perform in front of a paying crowd of thousands, been involved in Drama, Dance nights and most recently, Musical productions here at Saints. An advocate of the arts, Sam believes that the Arts are fundamental to society in all working environments, helping students to 'think outside the square' to problem solve and advocate for change.

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

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

Michelle Imhoff

Head of Gildas
St Augustine's College

John Brimstone

Head of Health & PE

John, an Old Boy of the College, has 20 years of teaching experience in a variety of classroom and leadership roles. During his time at St Augustine’s he has taught chemistry, physical education and religious education, held the roles of Head of Sport, Head of Department for Physical Education, Director of Studies (acting for 6 months) and Director of Boarding.

This leadership experience, particularly as a previous Head of Sport for 6 years, along with his depth of knowledge of the College and great rapport with the students, makes him an excellent fit for the position.

John strongly embraces the Marist charism and his passion for young people ensures a school community based on a strong family spirit. He brings great energy to the role and works collaboratively with his team of staff to provide exceptional outcomes for all students.

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

Elena Bolton

Head of Learning Enrichment

Elena has always had a strong interest in diversity and inclusion. After completing a Bachelor of Special Education at Griffith University she began teaching with Education Queensland. Some years later she became an advisory teacher with Catholic Education, then took on various diversity roles at Catholic schools in Cairns. During nearly 20 years in the classroom, Elena has showcased her exceptional ability to create an inclusive learning environment for students with diverse needs.

Throughout her career, Elena has used her expertise to help develop and implement policies and procedures. Consequently, she has played a vital role in ensuring that students with diverse needs receive the support and resources necessary for their success.

Elena enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband and three young children. Together they go water skiing, play hockey and explore the natural wonders that surround Cairns. It’s no surprise that she has little spare time. 

St Augustine's College

Jay Killoran

Head of LOTE and International 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

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.

St Augustine's College

Cherie Spannenburg

Head of Music

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

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 was then awarded a scholarship to study a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education and a Graduate 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

Matthew Di Salvo

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

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

Helen Leicht

Head of VET

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.