Meet Our Team

As the founding Principal of Mary Queen of Heaven Primary School I am very excited about the opportunities we have to work in partnership with our families and community to create something special.

Inspired by the words and work of Saint Mary of the Cross Mackillop, I aim to “Never see a need without doing something about it.”

My journey to Mary Queen of Heaven comes with extensive experience as a Principal and school leader in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Relationships are at the heart of all that I do. Knowing the story of a child, their family and their community helps to shape the way that we can work and learn together. Building strong, trusting and respectful relationships comes before anything else. Mary Queen of Heaven is a welcoming learning community where dreams are lived and the impossible is made possible.

A focus of my leadership is to develop a culture that places the student and their individual learning needs at the heart of the educational process, and I am very proud of the way we have built this into the culture of Mary Queen of Heaven in one short year. Mary Queen of Heaven provides opportunities to enable every child to reach their full potential. We focus on building strong partnerships with the community. We believe that the active engagement of the community can have a profound impact on the culture of the school and the education of our children.

Mary Queen of Heaven is the sister school of St Carlo Borremeo, Greenvale and School of The Good Shepherd, Gladstone Park. Right from the beginning we have developed close relationships between these two school communities as we operate as three schools in one Parish.

In addition to providing inspiring, contemporary physical spaces for our learners, we have engaging, passionate educators who are committed to fostering nurturing relationships with children, working in partnership with families and collaborating with colleagues to ensure that every child is understood, nurtured and supported.

Away from school I am a proud mother and wife. I am an avid reader, particularly of autobiographies and biographies and I have a life-long interest in wellness and fitness. Spending time with family in the great outdoors is what brings me joy away from my work. When the weather is right you may see me walking or running in the neighbourhood. Be sure to say hello!

I feel privileged to have this opportunity and thank you for entrusting your precious children into our care. I know together we can do great things. 

Mrs Renae Gentile
Founding Principal

Being part of the Mary Queen of Heaven community in its founding year has been a life-changing experience!  It is with immense gratitude that I continue to be part of this  thriving community in 2024, as Deputy Principal and Literacy Leader.

I migrated from Portugal to Australia as a child.  My family's migration story is part of who I am and my core values of gratitude, connection and growth. Mary (or Fatima) was always a prominent image in my family; a reminder of the importance of faith, courage and humility.

I find joy when present with my family and friends, or being in nature with my children, Husband and our dog, Mac; who is also one of our school’s wellbeing dogs!  I am a self-confessed foodie, and have mastered the art of baking sourdough bread from scratch (lockdown win). I love delving into a good book, especially one that stretches my thinking about life.

Working as an Educator and Leader is a privilege.  To witness the delight of children’s discovery and wonder of their curiosity is a tremendous gift!

I strongly believe that every child is competent and capable.  My mission as an Educator is to guide children on their learning journey, providing them with experiences that enable them to ‘let their light shine’, whilst fostering a love of learning.  I work passionately as a leader to challenge, nurture and inspire educators, so that they in turn can inspire, nurture and provide suitable challenges for the children in their care.

Mrs Daniela De Luca 
Deputy Principal

My name is Teresa Mattei and I have had the privilege of being a founding member of the Mary Queen of Heaven community and witnessing educators passionately working to ensure that the children are learning in a happy and safe environment.

I am very proud to be working collaboratively with educators and non-educators, supporting them as they deliver a high-quality standard of education. With 23 years experience working in Catholic schools, I am very excited to be immersed in the ongoing development of our ever-growing school community in 2024 and beyond.

I am very passionate and look forward to strengthening and maintaining my current relationships with the MQH community, building and fostering strong relationships with those new to our community, in a warm and welcoming environment built on respect and trust, where parents and children feel safe, inclusive and supported.

My name is Kate Mitchell and I am thrilled to be a part of the Mary Queen of Heaven community as the School Administrator Officer. I have previously worked in a multitude of roles across the Insurance Industry and more recently have retrained in Early Childhood Education and have spent 9 wonderful years fostering children's learning and wellbeing.

I believe that creating opportunities for open and authentic partnerships with all families, communities and organisations allows for children to connect with the world around them and develop respectful mutual relationships. Holistic learning occurs as children and adults work in partnership, respecting each other's values and beliefs.

I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children and am very much looking forward to working with all the families at Mary Queen of Heaven Primary School.

I am a nurturing and compassionate person and am very much looking forward to meeting you all.

My name is Sarah Brown and I am delighted to be joining the team at Mary Queen of Heaven in 2024.

With over 15 years of experience in education in the north as well as internationally in Singapore, I am passionately dedicated to ensure that every child feels valued, supported, and inspired to reach their full potential. I believe in creating a nurturing and supportive learning environment where children can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Collaboration with teachers, parents, and the wider community is at the heart of my approach. I am here to listen, understand, and advocate for the overall wellbeing of every child in our community.
Away from teaching I enjoy exercising, walking/hiking, and traveling. I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my nieces and nephews.

I look forward to meeting the Mary Queen of Heaven community.

My name is Loretta O’Dwyer and I am the Learning Diversity Leader at MQH. I have been in education for over 20 years and have further studies in psychology. My role is to support students with diverse learning needs. I liaise with educators and families to make learning adjustments with a focus on students’ strengths. Wellbeing is at the core of my work and all growth is celebrated.

My other passion is sustainability. I believe that educating and advocating for future generations is essential. As an educator, I enjoy making learning fun, imaginative and encouraging ‘student voice’.

I am a mother of two children aged 11 and 13. We have a dog and a cat. My family enjoys sports, board games and camping. I love travelling, trivia, music and drama.

I’m looking forward to meeting families and working together.

My name is Steven Avis, and I am the STEM teacher at Mary Queen of Heaven Primary School.

I am extremely passionate about STEM and digital design. I enjoy showing my students how to think logically and with purpose, using digital technologies as a catalyst for learning. I believe that teaching is a reciprocal practice between teachers and students, and prioritising these relationships should be at the forefront of any learning experience.

In my spare time, I enjoy all things computers. I am currently building several computers and beginning to learn the concept of 3D printing. I am also an avid Collingwood supporter and will try to get to as many games as I can through the season.

I look forward to connecting our entire school community and look forward to meeting all of you!

Buongiorno a tutti. My name is Joanne Capparelli and I will be teaching LOTE - Italian from Prep to Year 6 at Mary Queen of Heaven.

I have been teaching for over 30 years in both primary and secondary schools and taught all subjects across the key learning areas specialising in Italian.
I chose to specialise in Italian given my family background, passion and love of Italian culture and gastronomy!

Learning a new language is fun and exciting. It has wonderful benefits for children at school and in life. I will be delivering interactive and enriching learning experiences where the children will be learning new vocabulary and expressions in Italian through performances involving song, games, stories, dance, poetry, cooking and cultural events involving the community.

I have the privilege of not only teaching the linguistic components of expression and grammar rules but also boasting about my recent travel experiences to Italy engaging in discussions about heritage sites and gorgeous landscapes, making Italian a very attractive language to learn and culture to experience.
It has been most rewarding for me to see children of all abilities participate, express themselves, take risk and open up to experiment with language. In many areas the children have consolidated and reinforced concepts and skills across the curriculum.

Looking forward to plunging into the many aspects of Italian lifestyle at MQH, exploring and celebrating cultural differences with you all.

Learning languages is learning to live together. Ci vediamo presto.

Signora Capparelli

My name is Felicity Valetini and I am the PE Teacher at Mary Queen of Heaven.

I feel exercise and keeping our bodies moving is the key to happy and productive lives. Fostering strong, healthy bodies helps to release those positive endorphins, which not only assists us to stay physically fit, but also our minds and general wellbeing. I am passionate about the outdoors and using nature as a stepping stone to deliver fun and exciting PE lessons. I hope to nurture a love of exercise in our students, that they can carry on into their future endeavours.

When I’m not teaching PE, you’ll see me competing on the netball court, or running half marathons around Melbourne. I love camping with my family, going to the beach, and reading a good book.

I look forward to teaching your children and meeting you all very soon.

My name is Cathy Lyons and I am the Visual Arts specialist at Mary Queen of Heaven. I am so grateful to be working in this wonderful community and working with the children at MQH who are eager to create and learn.

I have been in Catholic education for a number of years, in both a country and city setting and am an experienced visual arts teacher.  

My goal is to instil a love of creating by giving the children a variety of experiences in the art studio. I provide art education that nurtures creativity, skills and a deeper understanding of visual arts.

I enjoy spending my spare time with family and friends. I have two grown children who I catch up with on a regular basis. I also have two pampered pooches, Rosie and Ben, who keep me fit and busy.

I started painting during covid and have been quite surprised by what I have been able to create. I  share my story with the children, to encourage them to take the risk and move out of their comfort zone like I did, they may also be surprised by their results.

Hi, My name is Attamjit Kaur. I am a Co-Educator at Mary Queen of Heaven.
I feel extremely grateful to be working alongside the wonderful MQH community.

I have been working in the Education sector for the last two years. I am passionate about supporting students in their learning journey by creating a safe, positive and inclusive environment. I believe in developing trusting relationships with students and their families in order to achieve a positive learning experience. My approach has always been to understand the needs of students so that learning activities can be modified to keep them engaged. Watching the students grow in their learning and celebrating their achievements is very rewarding to me.

Outside the school, I love spending time with my beautiful family. We love going for walks and watching movies together. I also enjoy cooking, dancing and love catching up with friends and family.

I am looking forward to meeting you all very soon!!

I am Dana Di Donato and I am delighted to be joining Mary Queen of Heaven in 2024.
I am a newly qualified co-educator and am passionate about wanting to make a positive difference in a young person’s life.

I look forward to getting to know students’ personalities and supporting their development in their education journey so that they may flourish.
I’ve worked in various industries including early childhood education and most recently in corporate, where I worked as an Executive Assistant for over 20 years. I enjoy helping people and witnessing first-hand the impact that support can have. I pride myself in being a compassionate and empathetic professional. I aim to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children can have fun while learning. I am looking forward to building strong, trusting relationships with the MQH community.

On a personal note, I am a mum to 2 beautiful children aged 15 and 9, and we have a pet rabbit who likes to free roam indoors. For recreation, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, baking healthy treats and practising yoga.

I look forward to meeting you all.

Hi, my name is Chantal, I’m delighted to be a Co-Educator at Mary Queen Of Heaven.

I am extremely passionate and dedicated in my role and committed to the wellbeing, protection and safety of all children whilst providing an inclusive, nurturing, and positive learning environment. I look forward to building and developing trusting relationships with students, families, colleagues and the community.

I highly value connection and am motivated to get to know each child and learn their story. I take immense pride in promoting the growth and development of all students and cannot wait to see their light shine. In my spare time I enjoy outdoor adventures with my two beautiful daughters and husband. I love music, dancing, food and being creative in many different ways. I look forward to meeting you all very soon and beginning our wonderful journey together at Mary Queen of Heaven.

Let the light shine.

Hello Everyone. My name is Belinda and I’m super excited to be joining the MQH team as a co educator.

With 9 years of experience I absolutely love what I do and am extremely passionate about supporting students to flourish and to achieve their personal goals. I believe in developing meaningful, positive relationships with students so individual adjustments can be made, ensuring each student gets the best opportunity to learn. 

I am married with 3 children, a son and 2 daughters.  I enjoy going to the footy, walking, and being with my family and friends. I have a pet groodle named Ollie. 

I look forward to connecting with the students and staff at MQH and becoming a part of your school community.

My name is Mary Pronesti and I am very happy to be joining the team of Mary Queen of Heaven as co-educator in 2024.

I am from Italy, I studied Educational Science and Pedagogy, I have worked for 6 years as an educator in the Early Childhood industry and before coming to Australia, 

8 years ago, I had experience in Italy as an Italian teacher and as an educator in a Catholic orphanage.

My passion for education and my commitment to supporting children’s development is one of the parts that makes me love my job. During my work experience, I had the opportunity to work with children of different ages and with different educational needs, developing specific skills in organising educational and recreational activities, and promoting a welcoming and friendly environment inclusive for all children. I am an empathetic person, which allows me to understand and respond to the needs of children and their families. 

I believe that collaboration between educators, parents and children is essential to promote the harmonious development and well-being of the little ones.

After work, I love to spend time with my husband, my two beautiful girls aged 5 and 1 and my friends. We like to travel and when we can we love to get back to Italy to visit our families.

I look forward to meeting all of you.

Hi, my name is Jaye Hall and I am extremely excited to be joining the team in 2024 as a co-educator at Mary Queen of Heaven.

I've been in education support for over 2 years and can honestly say this is the most fulfilling role I've done.

School is like a second home to children so it's important to me that along with the educators, I help to create a safe and welcoming space, while building strong, positive relationships with students, so that they have the best opportunity for both academic and emotional growth.

I have two beautiful daughters of my own (aged 3 & 5), so I understand the pride and joy you feel as a parent watching them grow, and I look forward to nurturing your children at Mary Queen of Heaven.

I love spending time with my family and friends, weekend adventures (such as wineries and beaches) and listening to Taylor Swift!

Hi, my name is Chantelle and l am very excited to be joining the community of Mary Queen Of Heaven in 2024 as a co-educator.

I have 7 years experience working in this very rewarding field. I look forward to forming strong relationships with the children and the team at MQH. I have a very caring and nurturing nature and love working with children to do their best, as they grow and develop, encouraging them to always have a positive growth mindset that l feel is so important.

I have 3 beautiful children, aged 19, 13 & 11, who l love creating memories with. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, walking, going to the beach and on holidays.

I look forward to working at MQH and meeting everyone.

My name is Natalie Evangelidis and I am excited to be joining the team at Mary Queen of Heaven in 2024 as a co-educator. Over the past few years, I have experience working with children as a before/after care educator and as a co-educator. I am currently studying to become a teacher.

As a co-educator I believe in the importance of tailoring the learning process to meet every student’s needs. I am enthusiastic about collaborating with a dedicated teaching team to make sure every student receives the attention and guidance they deserve.

In my spare time, I enjoy going to my family holiday house located in Mornington Peninsula, spending time with family & friends and attending AFL games.

I look forward to meeting you all!

My name is Diyana Mousa, I am so Blessed to be working alongside the MQH community as a co-educator. 

I am from Iraq (Baghdad), I was raised in a Catholic family, our faith is very important to us as my core values in faith are competition, faith, love and family. 

Helping people is my strenght, especially children as it is a part of my identity.  I am enthusiastic to be involved in children’s learning, being able to naturally build trusting relationships with students and caring immensely about their overall wellbeing. I believe in making a difference by supporting and encouraging students to bring out the best in them. It’s very rewarding to see students’ progress throughout their learning journey.

I speak multiple languages. Apart from English, I also speak Arabic and Chaldean/Assyrian. I hope this skill set helps me to make strong connections with people in our community and other communities.

Outside of school,  I have been married to my best friend and beautiful husband Yousif for nine years. I am a mother of three beautiful boys Marcellino, Michael and Matthew. And I am looking forward to meeting you

My name is Lisa Michielin and I’m so excited to work at MQH as the Literacy Enhancement Educator.

Over my 15 years of teaching I have developed a passion around how we can use and organise data to inform learning and teaching opportunities. My favourite thing about teaching is the “ah-ha moment”, when a concept clicks for a learner. I love seeing my students succeed at something that they have been determined to master.

I am a mum to two little boys. We spend a lot of time putting together elaborate Hot Wheels tracks and building lego! I also love to read, go out for dinner with friends and spend time with my big extended family.

Of utmost importance to me, being part of the MQH community, is building relationships with students, parents and staff. I believe when learners feel safe and valued we truly see them thrive. I can’t wait to witness the MQH students flourish and progress throughout the year. I’m looking forward to chatting with everyone soon!

My name is Gabbi and I am delighted to be part of the Mary Queen of Heaven team.

I have been teaching for three years. My passion as an educator is providing students with a safe and welcoming environment, where students can thrive and reach their full potential. I pride myself on creating a calm, nurturing and supportive classroom.

Outside of school I love spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy traveling, keeping active and listening to music.

I am really looking forward to meeting you all!

My name is Tameka Robertson and I’m delighted to be joining the team at Mary Queen of Heaven as a classroom teacher in 2024.

I have been a primary teacher for over twelve years and have a passion for teaching and learning, and providing students with dynamic and interesting learning experiences. I believe all students can learn and achieve success, and I work hard to build strong relationships with students and families to ensure school is a safe and enjoyable place to be.

In my home life, I enjoy spending time with my two young children, my husband and my dog. I love catching up with family and friends, and when possible venturing back to my hometown of Lockington to visit my family’s farm. I love singing, listening to music, reading books, watching movies, doing reformer pilates and going on holidays (especially with babysitters)!

I am excited to be a part of the Mary Queen of Heaven community.

My name is Pauline Boyle a foundational classroom teacher of MQH joining the leadership team as Faith Leader and continuing as a classroom educator in 2024.

Mary Queen of Heaven’s vision statement, closely aligns with my own teaching philosophy of student-centered learning that values the uniqueness of the individual student supporting the growth of the whole person through developing positive relationships by encouraging and equipping students with courage and resilience to become risk takers, collaborators, critical thinkers to navigate their own learning journey with humility and gratitude.

From a faith perspective my own spiritual development is continuing, guided by Mary Queen of Heaven’s motto of “Let the Light Shine’, I strive to build relationships respectively and compassionately, valuing everybody’s worth. Most recently my spiritual journey has been reinvigorated by participation in the Emerging Leaders pilgrimage to World Youth Day reigniting what it means to belong to the Catholic faith in ever-changing times and challenges faced by local and global faith communities.

As Faith Leader of MQH I hope to:
Introduce a living and robust faith culture to our school and new community
Model our gospel values and vision of MQH in an authentic context
Provide a contextualized religious education program that is sensitive and inclusive for all students and families of MQH.

I am grateful for my wonderfully supportive husband, our 17 and 15 year old sons who keep us entertained along with our two dogs who keep us fit. Spending time with friends, gardening and traveling keeps me energised.

My Name is Dana Millsteed and I am thrilled to be joining the Mary Queen of Heaven team in 2024 as a classroom teacher.

Within education my passion lies in building meaningful connections with young learners. As a primary school teacher, I believe that nurturing positive relationships with children is the cornerstone of effective teaching and learning. In my learning environment, you'll find an inviting and inclusive space where curiosity and creativity flourish. I believe that a warm and welcoming environment sets the stage for joyful learning experiences.

Beyond the classroom, I find joy in spending time with my family, young daughter and loyal four-legged friend. Family and friends are at the core of my life, and I cherish every moment shared together. When I have spare time I love to travel back to my family home in the small town of Barooga, New South Wales. When not at work or spending time with family, I am usually found at the gym or on a leisurely walk.

I look forward to meeting you all very soon,

My name is Leanne Cribbin and I am very excited to be joining the Prep Team next year!

I have been a dedicated primary school teacher with eight years experience, teaching both in Australia and abroad in London. I am an avid traveller so I love bringing the world into the classroom, igniting my student's curiosity and, just like travelling, making lasting memories with rich and meaningful learning experiences.

As an educator, I pride myself on my ability to build strong and lasting relationships with my students and their families. The connections I establish serve as the cornerstone for a joyful year filled with both learning and fun! I cultivate a secure and nurturing atmosphere, fostering a learning environment where my students can embrace challenges and strive to give their best each day.

In my spare time you’ll find me spending time with my family and friends, exercising, attending musicals, music concerts and sporting events, whilst also getting out and about for a weekend getaway!

I’m so looking forward to beginning our journey together next year!

My name is Alysha and I’m so pleased to introduce myself as one of the prep educators for 2024. I’m passionate about making students' first year at primary school a positive experience to set them up as lifelong learners.

During the foundation year, I promote building skills in independence, problem solving and communication. I believe that students learn best when they can follow their interests and tasks are individualised. I aim to encourage children to reach their full potential by feeling safe and empowered as they build their knowledge across the curriculum, themselves as learners and their connections with God and our school’s namesake Mary.

Outside of school, I love spending time with my 2 children, husband and family making memories and spending time outdoors.

My name is Rachel Giuffrida and I am an educator at Mary Queen of Heaven.I have been teaching for 7 years with a degree in Early Childhood and Primary Education. I spent some of that time teaching overseas in London where I worked alongside a diverse range of communities. Within my time overseas, I was fortunate enough to travel to lots of different countries, but nothing beats home!

I pride myself on ensuring that student’s wellbeing and education is at the forefront of all my decisions. I love collaborating and working alongside my students to help ignite their passion and curiosity for learning.
I am looking forward to building strong partnerships with parents, teachers, and students, so that together we create a holistic approach to education.

My name is Amy Hodges and I am thrilled to be part of the Mary Queen of Heaven community as a classroom teacher.

I have worked in education for 6 years in various roles, including being a Co Educator in a primary and secondary setting. During this time my love for helping children thrive has grown immensely.

As an educator, my passion is to provide a safe learning environment in which all children can be successful in their education. I aim to create positive learning experiences, which build upon children's confidence in themselves and their learning. I understand that all students learn differently, therefore I pride myself on connecting with each child to understand how I can best support their learning journey.

Outside of school I enjoy reading, spending time with friends and family and going on adventures with my dog.

I am looking forward to meeting you!

My name is Jessica Maitland-Smith and I am thrilled to be returning to Mary Queen of Heaven as a classroom educator in 2024!. I am a proud Aboriginal woman, very connected to my culture and the land on which we walk. It has been a privilege to be part of the MQH community in its foundation year, and I am excited for what our future holds. 

I have been in education, in differing capacities, for almost 20 years. I believe that relationships are at the core of what we do,  so forming connections with my students and their families is extremely important to me.

I am energised by creating hands-on, engaging lessons for my students that allow them to explore and be curious. I believe in creating an inclusive classroom environment where all students can feel success. Daily prayer and time for reflection is also an important part of my teaching practice. 

Away from the classroom you will find me spending lots of time with my energetic Red Heeler, Reggie, who is 5 and half years old. I also enjoy coaching netball  in my role as Head Coach of Strathmore Netball Club. 

My family is extremely important to me, so I love spending time with them. My mum lives down the coast, so I enjoy getting down there as much as I can, going on beach walks as well as getting some rest and relaxation!  

I am looking forward to meeting you all soon,


My Name is Molly Nihill and I am delighted to be a part of the Mary Queen of Heaven community as an educator.

I have been working in education in various roles, including being a co-educator and working in before and after care. Through these experiences it has built and developed my love for teaching.

As an educator I strive to build a safe environment for which children can grow. I pride myself on forming authentic connections with children to help support them through their learning journey and feel as though they can be themselves. I aim to build strong relationships throughout the community and in the classroom.

Outside of school I love to spend time with family and friends. I enjoy music, dancing, reading and photography.

I am looking forward to meeting you!

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