Marian Catholic School

(07) 856 7515 30 Beale Street, Hamilton East

Leadership Team

Debra White



General Information

I am very proud to be Principal of Marian Catholic School. As I started in 2017, I was so impressed with the warmth of the staff, students and community. This is referred to as our ‘Marian Spirit’ we are like a big family. This is what makes our school so special. I am passionate about supporting our Special Character and helping our students understand what being a Catholic in the 21st century means for them. I am passionate about teaching and learning and ensuring we have the best possible learning conditions for each child to thrive.

I believe each child is a capable learner and able to take an active role in their learning. I love the analogy of “Learners being in the driver’s seat” as this recognises that there will be bumps in the road and the journey may not go smoothly, much like learning. I see my role as providing everything our teachers need to grow positive mindsets in their learners, and equip them with the skills and dispositions that enable them to approach any learning task with success.

I love working with our parent community. I believe that forming strong positive relationships with parents is key to our students learning success.

I am married and have two adult daughters, one son in law and two beautiful grandchildren.

When I am not at school I enjoy catching up with my family and friends, exercising my dog, or going for a cycle or swim. Regular exercise has always been a part of my routine and helps to keep me sane!

Toni Walters-Freke

Deputy Principal


Nicki Whyte

Director of Religious Studies


General Information

I am an experienced teacher who has taught in a number of schools both in NZ and England. I have enjoyed teaching at all levels and am now working with younger children in the Junior school which is particularly rewarding.

I am passionate about teaching and learning and enjoy working alongside students and their families to ensure positive learning outcomes are achieved. I feel that developing a nurturing learning environment is crucial for children to feel safe and happy to take risks.

Being both a teacher and DRS (Director of Religious Studies) at Marian is such a privilege. As a Catholic School, our special Character is at the heart of all we do. We draw inspiration and strength from the gospel to be the hands, face and voice of Jesus.

My interests include reading, walking, music, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

Yvonne Vosper



General Information

During my teaching career I have taught a range of levels, and I am drawn to the junior area, I believe this is where many children's educational journey’s begin. As a teacher at this level I work to inspire children to develop a positive attitude towards their learning.

I enjoy working with the families and community to develop a nurturing environment where the children are confident to explore their worlds and know they have the support.. A core part of our school is the special character , through this I work to teach the children how unique and loved they are. As St. Catherine of Siena says, “ Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”.

Together with my family I enjoy the outdoors, whether it is cycling, walking, gardening, or helping out on the farm. Time spent supporting my own children in their pursuits is another one of my favourite things.

Marion McKoy

LC1 & 2 Leader of Learning


General Information

Kia Ora te whanau!

I love teaching the little people at Marian School. I love the energy and excitement that the children bring to their learning, and I love to see the absolute joy on their faces when they master a new skill! I want the students in my class to get excited about coming to school and about their learning. I believe that learning should be great fun!

I have been a junior school teacher for many years, and although I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum, I have a special passion for Literacy, Music and Art. I also LOVE a good picture book, and I have worked alongside the University of Waikato to develop New Zealand picture book collections.

In my spare time, I like to read and run. I live with my family - my husband Arron, our 3 children and our 3 very noisy chickens. I love to explore the world and have spent many years travelling and teaching overseas and in New Zealand.

Mariette Els

LC2 Leader of Learning

Suzanne D'Cruz

LC3 Leader of Learning


General Information

Kia ora whānau, my name is Miss Suzanne D'Cruz.

Teaching our Marian Catholic School students has been my passion since I was welcomed into the whānau in 2018.

I thoroughly enjoy seeing the students I work alongside connect and get excited about their learning. I love the energy and love for learning that grows and builds when 'light-bulb' moments happen in our learning space.

I believe in making our learning environment a safe space where everyone feels that they belong. Our classroom will always be filled with love, laughter, fun, challenges and will be a space for you to grow and be YOURSELF.

At school, I love to read aloud to the tamariki, get them involved in the range of Arts and celebrate the successes we witness in our classroom.

In my downtime, I love to cook new recipes, curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book, and watch Disney movies!

A favourite quote to live by is:
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

So I believe it is very cool to be kind everyday.

Maria Maarhuis

LC4 Leader of Learning


General Information

Kia ora, te whānau!

I am the Leader of Learning of Learning Community 4 (LC4) and teach Year 5 & 6 students in Room 19. Working alongside students, supporting them in their learning and helping them to achieve their very best is something I am passionate about. I work alongside a great team of teachers who are passionate about what they do and who inspire me in my own teaching.

My connections to Marian Catholic School extend back long ago to when my grandfathers attended Marist. I am also a past pupil and now feel privileged to both teach here and have my own children attend the school.

Outside of school, I enjoy keeping fit by running and walking and being caught up in a good book! Catching up with family and friends is also something I love to do.

Nicole Higby

LC5 Leader of Learning


BTchg with Honours. Master of Education, Postgraduate Certificate in Digital & Collaborative Learning.


General Information

I began working at Marian Catholic School in January, 2012 after teaching at St Pius X, St Joseph's Fairfield and Te Pahu schools. I love teaching in Room 20 and Leading our LC5 team for many reasons. I love working with students, and learning alongside them and other adults. I have a great team of teachers around me that I really enjoy working with.

My many passions and interests in LC5 include sport, (I lead the LC5 sports programme, support the Student House Leaders and Sports Council, and coach netball) math, literacy and art. I enjoy developing students’ confidence and self expression skills through writing, and completed my master’s degree on motivating boys’ in writing. In maths I really enjoy extending children’s thinking around the ‘why’. There’s nothing like building growth mindsets and a love of a challenge! I have lead ALIM Maths programmes and enjoy engaging students in Messy Math sessions.

My strengths and passions in the classroom involve building meaningful teaching and learning relationships, while creating interesting hands on learning experiences. I thrive on variety and creativity, and believe every child has something to offer to our classroom, LC5, our school, and our changing world. I find that learning in a catholic school inspires children to develop their spirituality and hauora like no other environment can. Our te reo confidence and learning is growing as we support each other to learn more about Māori culture every year.

Outside work, I enjoy spending time at home, the beach, or in the bush with my friends and family (we have four adult children) working in the garden, playing sport, or walking/running with Bailey.