Staff Directory

Our staff are a committed group of Christian professionals. Staff can be emailed at: [firstname]@cornerstone.ac.nz or [firstname].[lastname]@cornerstone.ac.nz

Senior Leadership

Principal

Chris Mitchell

Nau mai, haere mai ki te te kura o Ihu Karaiti te Kamaka! It is an honour and a privilege to be a teacher and educational leader here at Cornerstone Christian School. I can honestly say that I have spent the last twenty years doing my dream job – teaching students across the wider Manawatu region – five of those as Teaching-Principal at Awahou School in the Pohangina Valley, and here at Cornerstone Christian School since mid-2008. In 2016, I was appointed to the position of Deputy Principal and in January 2020 I assumed the role of Acting Principal. As a school, we tend to focus on the holistic development of each child – or to put it more simply, their ‘discipleship’. I believe that discipleship is simply learning to live the way that God wants us to live and I love being part of this process in our students’ lives. Ultimately our key desire is that every Cornerstone student comes to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and develops their own relationship with God. We have a strong character development focus with an emphasis on our values of respect, diligence, kindness and integrity with an underpinning value of humility before God. Although our children achieve highly in their academic education and our school achieves excellent results on a national level, I believe that it is more important to focus on their developing character than their academic grades. In our modern world, learning can occur wherever and whenever you like, but good character develops when you are young, so that is our focus; good grades, and achieving to one’s best, are a natural outflow of developing good character. On a personal level, I am married to Anne-Marie Mitchell who is also on staff here at Cornerstone Christian School as a teacher aide. Together we have four grown-up daughters – two of whom are also teachers here in Palmerston North. When not in school you will find me gardening or looking after our lifestyle block just out of Ashhurst; casting a fly for trout down at some local river or walking the hills with a pack on my back. My office door is usually open and I love meeting people in our wider Cornerstone family. Please drop in and say hello if you are over near the administration office or if you see me wandering around the school grounds. Ngā mihi nui

Deputy Principal

James Rose

Tēnā koutou.

Thank you everyone for the wonderful welcome I have received starting at Cornerstone this year. I have been impressed by the many supportive staff, parents and students that have popped in for a chat or a handshake to express their greetings.

In coming to Cornerstone, I join the rest of my family here. Mrs Rose of course is the Team Leader in Year 7/8, and Harrison and Ashton have been attending Cornerstone since they started school.

From my point of view, it is a real joy to serve in the same school my family is part of. As such, in many ways, I am no stranger to the school. Over the years, it has been wonderful to stand on the sidelines of Hockey fields with other Cornerstone parents willing and cheering our sons and daughters on. Braving the fantastic winter weather that we enjoy here in Palmerston North and celebrating both the wins, and the character-building losses along the way.

I really enjoyed the junior prizegiving last year and seeing the numerous ways our students have “stepped-up” to serve and give expression to our school values.

I believe God created each of us in his image, yet unique, with our own talents, gifts, and personalities. Diversity is our asset in creation, we can’t all be feet or hands for example. Encouraging each person to follow Christ and use their gifts and talents as they do so will ensure that collectively we have the best chance to leave behind a “fruit that remains”.

To me, respect is the element that brings it all together, and remembering that each of us have
been created in the image of God.

Jesus commands each of us to ‘love thy God and love thy neighbour’. As we do so, we learn to receive – and give – forgiveness, which in turn makes a path for healing and restoration.

I come to Cornerstone from St Peter’s College where I served as the Deputy Principal – Head of Senior School and Curriculum. I have spent almost my entire career in Christian education and feel very blessed to continue that journey here at Cornerstone.

Thank you again for your warm welcome, and may God bless each of you in your journey with Christ.

Assistant Principal - Senior School (Years 11-13)

Natasha Casey

I have been teaching since 2002 and at have been at Cornerstone since 2017. The move to this school has opened up many opportunities for me to learn and grow in my craft of teaching but also to grow my leadership skills. 

As Assistant Principal, I am passionate about supporting teachers; helping them to grow and improve in their teaching practice at their pace. Our teachers are the experts at the coal face and need to feel as if they have room to experiment, trial, and be brave in seeking the best pathways for their students to learn. This is what we do so well here at Cornerstone. 

It is a great pleasure to use my skills and abilities to extend God’s kingdom in Palmerston North.

Assistant Principal - Middle School (Years 7-10)

Ian Groube

Kia ora koutou,
Before Cornerstone, I taught Mathematics for the past ten years at Feilding High School. I have also taught at Totara College in Dannevirke. I have always been passionate about Mathematics and I love teaching our young people how to problem solve using math skills. I am a firm believer that hard work is far more rewarding than luck.

I was a student Te Aute College, and from there I joined the Navy. I was the ship’s logistics manager, so numbers have always been a part of me. I am married to Heidi and we have three children: Courtney, Campbell and Devon.

I am looking forward to being part of the school’s growth, and to what God has in store for me. I also look forward to the different aspects Cornerstone Christian School will bring into my life and how my experiences and skills will be utilised to enhance the school.

Assistant Principal - Primary School (Years 1-6)

Raeleen Simpson

I have been a part of the Cornerstone Christian School community for a number of years, both as a teacher (full and part-time) and as a parent of five children who are past and present students of both the school and preschool.  

I enjoy teaching across all areas of the school and love being a part of children’s learning through their primary years. I especially enjoy tapping into each child’s strengths and building on those to further understanding. As the Primary AP, it is a privilege to lead an awesome team of passionate teachers dedicated to supporting children in their academic and faith journeys.

We are blessed at Cornerstone Christian School to be able to provide a Christian education for our children and to be able to place Christ at the centre of all that we do.

Director of Tribes and Events

Craig McDonald

Kia ora.

My name is Craig McDonald and I reside in G block as a Y7 homeroom teacher when I’m not being involved in the organisation of sports and tribes around the school.

I have taught every year group in the primary school, with no firm favourite level, just some interesting memories!

Over half of my teaching experience has been in Christian Schooling. I do my best to integrate our Christian Faith with what we are learning in the classroom about ourselves and the world around us.

As well as my teaching diploma, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education focusing on Christian Schooling, and a Theology degree. These are helping me to form my ideas about how to achieve a successful Christian Education.

Director of Pastoral Care, Teacher (PE)

Louis Jayasuriya

I have been teaching PE and Health since 2007, both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. 

I live in Palmerston North with my wife Emma and children Noah, Eliza and Harriet. I lead the pastoral care and PB4L teams at CCS as well as heading up the PE and Health curriculum areas. I enjoying playing sport, coaching sports teams and sharing my passion with my students. 

One of the key themes I promote in my teaching is that the students and myself as the teacher are in our education journey together as a team, because together we can succeed. The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team – Phil Jackson

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

SENCO/Special Education Needs Co-ordinator

Clare Long

I’m a special education teacher.

Primary School Leadership – Yr 0-6

Assistant Principal - Primary School (Years 1-6)

Raeleen Simpson

I have been a part of the Cornerstone Christian School community for a number of years, both as a teacher (full and part-time) and as a parent of five children who are past and present students of both the school and preschool.  

I enjoy teaching across all areas of the school and love being a part of children’s learning through their primary years. I especially enjoy tapping into each child’s strengths and building on those to further understanding. As the Primary AP, it is a privilege to lead an awesome team of passionate teachers dedicated to supporting children in their academic and faith journeys.

We are blessed at Cornerstone Christian School to be able to provide a Christian education for our children and to be able to place Christ at the centre of all that we do.

Aroha (Y0-2) team leader

Karen Burrows

It is a privilege to be the Aroha team leader at Cornerstone Christian School.

Teaching is my passion. I have over twenty years’ teaching experience, mainly teaching five and six year old children. Seeing curious, engaged children with a passion for learning excites me, and I want to be part of their amazing learning adventure. I feel honoured to be able to share the love of God and help nurture their God given gifts. I am looking forward to the exciting adventures ahead.

Manahau (Y3-4) Team Leader

Jane Sutherland

I joined the staff at Cornerstone in 2008 and currently teach one of the wonderful Year 3 classes. I enjoy teaching all curriculum subjects and specialised in music and technology at Teacher’s College. I am the team leader for Manahau (Joy) team which consists of the Year 3 and 4 classes at the school. I have also been privileged to be the staff trustee on the Board of Trustees for two terms of office.

Joy is a heart attitude we want the children to develop. The age of the children in our team is perfect for encouraging an enjoyment of learning. We want them to confidently take ‘ownership’ of their learning and celebrate their progress as they see it unfolding. Even mistakes need to be seen as positive opportunities to grow rather than failures to be upset about. Each child is a special gift and we seek to work with parents to help each child reach their full potential in God.

Tumanako (Y5-6) Team Leader

David Henderson

I have been teaching at Cornerstone since 2009 and the time certainly has flown. I want the children in my class to learn about the world God created and deepen their understanding of Him. I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum and especially enjoy teaching sports, learning in the school garden and using computers to assist with learning.

I have four young children and love the fact that they can attend Cornerstone.

Middle School Leadership – Yr 7-10

Assistant Principal - Middle School (Years 7-10)

Ian Groube

Kia ora koutou,
Before Cornerstone, I taught Mathematics for the past ten years at Feilding High School. I have also taught at Totara College in Dannevirke. I have always been passionate about Mathematics and I love teaching our young people how to problem solve using math skills. I am a firm believer that hard work is far more rewarding than luck.

I was a student Te Aute College, and from there I joined the Navy. I was the ship’s logistics manager, so numbers have always been a part of me. I am married to Heidi and we have three children: Courtney, Campbell and Devon.

I am looking forward to being part of the school’s growth, and to what God has in store for me. I also look forward to the different aspects Cornerstone Christian School will bring into my life and how my experiences and skills will be utilised to enhance the school.

Whakapono (Y7-8) Team Leader

Tarryn Rose

My name is Tarryn Rose and my family consists of my husband James (who is also a teacher), our two boys and our dog Jack. Palmerston North is my home city, but I have also lived in Whanganui, Africa and the
Philippines.

I began teaching almost 20 years ago after graduating from Massey University in Palmerston North. My degree was in Education and my major was in P.E. I enjoy encouraging the students with the idea we focused on in Term 4 2015: “Fit Body, Healthy Mind, Honours God”. 2016 is my second year at Cornerstone and I look forward to all that it holds for the Whakapono Team. The Year 7/8s have a fabulous year ahead, with some of the highlights being: sharing and hearing God’s word in our team assemblies, camp at Vertical Horizon, sports events, celebrations, classes with specialist teachers here at Cornerstone.

Y9-10 Team Leader, Teacher

Heslia Swanepoel

I started teaching at Cornerstone in 2016 and am currently teaching English and Humanities in the Secondary School. I am also the school’s Specialist Classroom Teacher, a support and mentoring role to assist other teachers. Before moving to Palmerston North in 2015, we lived in Auckland for 20 years. My children and I were at KingsWay School where I was Head of Middle School.

I enjoy being back in the classroom teaching English and Social Studies and I also enjoy working alongside teachers, supporting them in their very demanding roles as educators in their subject areas, role models and character shapers of the young people they work with.

In my opinion, being an educator is a most worthwhile career path and I have been enjoying myself over the past few decades.

Senior School Leadership – Yr 11-13

Assistant Principal - Senior School (Years 11-13)

Natasha Casey

I have been teaching since 2002 and at have been at Cornerstone since 2017. The move to this school has opened up many opportunities for me to learn and grow in my craft of teaching but also to grow my leadership skills. 

As Assistant Principal, I am passionate about supporting teachers; helping them to grow and improve in their teaching practice at their pace. Our teachers are the experts at the coal face and need to feel as if they have room to experiment, trial, and be brave in seeking the best pathways for their students to learn. This is what we do so well here at Cornerstone. 

It is a great pleasure to use my skills and abilities to extend God’s kingdom in Palmerston North.

NCEA Principal's Nominee, Teacher (Mathematics)

Dr Bronwyn Boddy

I joined the Cornerstone staff in 2015, after teaching at Queen Elizabeth College since 2009. I am excited to be a part of the growing secondary area of the school in Mathematics and using my skills in the running of the Student Management System, KAMAR. 

My favourite moments in teaching are helping students make the connections to become confident and independent learners. 

Aside from teaching and caring for my two young daughters, I love being a part of church worship teams on Sundays, and also play the flute in a local orchestra and flute/piano for musical theatre shows.

Secondary Leaders

Director of Life Lab, Head of Art

Erika Snedden

I joined the Cornerstone Community in 2015 to establish and develop the Secondary Art Department. Since 2017 I have been the Director of Life Lab – responsible for facilitating Christian discipleship, life direction and academic mentoring programmes for the secondary students. I have also had the privilege of establishing and leading our Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Scheme.

Within New Zealand and overseas I have had experience as a Secondary Art and Art History teacher and Head of Department.

As an A/r/tographer – artist, researcher and teacher, I have a passion to support and development research inquiry within learning communities.

At the core of my leadership style, practice and faith is a belief in allowing and empowering others to lead.

Head of Science

Hayden Hewitt

I joined the Cornerstone Christian School community at the beginning of 2017. Prior to this I have taught Science and Biology for ten years, including a year teaching in the UK. Before teaching, I worked for as number of years as a Science Technician at Massey University and within the dairy industry.

I am passionate about Science, and its relevance to all of us in our everyday lives. I love the way that we can see the Glory of God displayed in everything from the complexity of a single cell, through to the beauty and vastness of space.

I am inspired by the idea that the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. In my teaching, I hope to stoke the fires of interest and curiosity about the amazing world around us. I love being part of an enthusiastic and committed staff here at Cornerstone Christian School and belonging to the wider school community.

I enjoy spending time with my wife and children, and cooking and eating food – especially dishes from other countries. I love being outdoors in God’s good creation, and I’m a keen deer stalker and fisherman.

Learning Support, Careers Advisor, Teacher

Carl McIntyre

I began teaching at Cornerstone Christian School in 2014, having previously spent nine wonderful years teaching English, Social Studies, Religious Studies, Health and History at St. Peter’s College. I feel immensely blessed to serve the Cornerstone community in the teaching and guiding of our first secondary classes.

I’m really enjoying the challenge of establishing our secondary curriculum in the areas of Social Studies and History. I’m also passionate about ensuring students are as happy and successful in their learning as possible – and about equipping them with the life skills they need to spread that happiness and success into the world around them.

I look forward to Cornerstone continuing its expansion through secondary school, along with the outpouring of God’s grace that will enable us to excel even further!

Head of Technologies

Gareth Bell

Kia ora Koutou

I have the privilege and joy of teaching Computing and Mathematics at Cornerstone. In the past I have taught at Freyberg High School and Limapela School in Zambia. I am proud to say I studied teaching at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, where I enjoyed examining concepts like the difference between a teacher who is a Christian and a Christian Teacher.

I became a teacher because I’m passionate about young people. I love helping my students find their own passions and abilities, as well as develop character. I believe the teacher-student relationship is a key foundation for learning, and strive to model the concepts I teach.

I live with my wife and cat. One likes to send me to school with baking in my bag, the other with cat hair on my clothes. I enjoy walks with my wife, playing a bit of music and cycling.

Gareth Bell

(TBC)

Head of Department - English

(TBC)

Teachers – Learning Support

Learning Support, Careers Advisor, Teacher

Carl McIntyre

I began teaching at Cornerstone Christian School in 2014, having previously spent nine wonderful years teaching English, Social Studies, Religious Studies, Health and History at St. Peter’s College. I feel immensely blessed to serve the Cornerstone community in the teaching and guiding of our first secondary classes.

I’m really enjoying the challenge of establishing our secondary curriculum in the areas of Social Studies and History. I’m also passionate about ensuring students are as happy and successful in their learning as possible – and about equipping them with the life skills they need to spread that happiness and success into the world around them.

I look forward to Cornerstone continuing its expansion through secondary school, along with the outpouring of God’s grace that will enable us to excel even further!

SENCO/Special Education Needs Co-ordinator

Clare Long

I’m a special education teacher.

Special Education Teacher

Mary Nelmes

ESOL, Teacher

Christina Havill

I am currently teaching Drama and English part time in the Year 8 classroom and am covering teacher release at various levels.

My husband and I are new to Palmerston North and we are really enjoying our new environment. Our daughter, Samantha, is at this school and we are so excited to have her part of the Cornerstone community too!

For the last four years we lived in Brunei Darussalam where I taught English (Years 7-10) in the local secondary schools. This was a very rewarding and enriching life experience. Prior to that I taught in the KingsWay Middle School Department in Auckland for seven years. I was a Year Seven Homeroom Teacher in charge of Performing Arts for all the Year 7-9 students. I also taught English, Mathematics and Social Studies.

It is exciting to be back in Christian education and I consider it a privilege to teach from a biblical worldview.

Special Ed. & Release Teacher, Kāhui Ako Across School Lead

Catherine Forrest

Learning is an absolute adventure. It is about making discoveries, growing, and ultimately positively impacting the world around us. Learning is not, nor needs to be, a dull endeavour.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” William Butler Yeats (Poet). Growing the person as well as the learner is a philosophy I hold to rather strongly.

I have had the pleasure of teaching at Cornerstone since 2007 and consider it a privilege to work in an environment where viewing life and learning through a Biblical lens is celebrated. Prior to 2007, I worked in various roles within the ‘Learning and Behaviour Difficulties’ sphere. Unlocking learning and success for those who struggle is a particular passion of mine. We have such a wonderful family feel community here at Cornerstone. I love the home/school/God partnership that grows our students. “Mā te pā te tamaiti e whakatipu. It takes a village to raise a child.”

Pastoral Care Team

Secondary Dean, Teacher

Karina Anderson

My family and I moved from the Kapiti Coast to Palmerston North last year because we wanted our girls to attend Cornerstone Christian School. It has been a pleasure to join the school community as a teacher. I enjoy relating to teenagers and consider it a privilege to be able to teach in an environment where Jesus is central to life, learning, faith, community and growth.

One of the main scriptures that energises my teaching is Colossians 2:3,
“In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Guidance Counsellor

Kirstie Brooking

Kirstie joined our guidance counselling team in 2021.

Director of Pastoral Care, Teacher (PE)

Louis Jayasuriya

I have been teaching PE and Health since 2007, both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. 

I live in Palmerston North with my wife Emma and children Noah, Eliza and Harriet. I lead the pastoral care and PB4L teams at CCS as well as heading up the PE and Health curriculum areas. I enjoying playing sport, coaching sports teams and sharing my passion with my students. 

One of the key themes I promote in my teaching is that the students and myself as the teacher are in our education journey together as a team, because together we can succeed. The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team – Phil Jackson

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Secondary Dean, Teacher (Science)

Sarah Sisson

I have been part of the Cornerstone team since 2018. I live here in the Kelvin Grove community with my husband and 2 girls who also attend CCS.

I love teaching and inspiring young budding scientists! I am passionate about helping students observe the world around them and opening their eyes to the miracles of Creation. I am especially interested in developing their literacy and critical thinking skills which will benefit them through their lives. I also consider it a privilege to help students navigate the challenges they face through my role as a Secondary School Dean.

“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: who created these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 (NIV))

Pasifika and Māori Faufautua

Sio Vaelua

Teachers – Yr 0-6

Manahau (Y3-4) Team Leader

Jane Sutherland

I joined the staff at Cornerstone in 2008 and currently teach one of the wonderful Year 3 classes. I enjoy teaching all curriculum subjects and specialised in music and technology at Teacher’s College. I am the team leader for Manahau (Joy) team which consists of the Year 3 and 4 classes at the school. I have also been privileged to be the staff trustee on the Board of Trustees for two terms of office.

Joy is a heart attitude we want the children to develop. The age of the children in our team is perfect for encouraging an enjoyment of learning. We want them to confidently take ‘ownership’ of their learning and celebrate their progress as they see it unfolding. Even mistakes need to be seen as positive opportunities to grow rather than failures to be upset about. Each child is a special gift and we seek to work with parents to help each child reach their full potential in God.

Tumanako (Y5-6) Team Leader

David Henderson

I have been teaching at Cornerstone since 2009 and the time certainly has flown. I want the children in my class to learn about the world God created and deepen their understanding of Him. I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum and especially enjoy teaching sports, learning in the school garden and using computers to assist with learning.

I have four young children and love the fact that they can attend Cornerstone.

Release Teacher

Kathleen Christensen

Kia ora!

I am excited to be joining Cornerstone Christian School and look forward to being part of the Aroha team.
I have worked at Cornerstone Christian Preschool for the past eight years. I love working with young children; they are like sponges, as they are eager to absorb information, to learn and question, to ponder about life and where they fit into this amazing world that God has created for us to enjoy.

I have a passion for supporting children and their families to transition from early childhood to school and to make that transition as smooth as possible. I have built a good partnership between preschool and school and now, teaching in both sectors, I will endeavour to strengthen that transition process to help ensure that everyone has a great start to their school journey. I will do this by valuing their current knowledge and experiences and incorporating these into more formal learning.

My other passion is working with children who have special needs and supporting them to have a good start to learning.

I believe in working in partnership with their families to ensure that they have every opportunity to succeed in their learning journey. I believe in fostering close relationships with children and their whanau; to be positive, engaging, and to have fun, encouraging and supporting them to become confident and capable learners in mind, body and spirit. Children need to know you care, respect and value them as individuals as we learn and grow together.

Aroha (Y0-2) team leader

Karen Burrows

It is a privilege to be the Aroha team leader at Cornerstone Christian School.

Teaching is my passion. I have over twenty years’ teaching experience, mainly teaching five and six year old children. Seeing curious, engaged children with a passion for learning excites me, and I want to be part of their amazing learning adventure. I feel honoured to be able to share the love of God and help nurture their God given gifts. I am looking forward to the exciting adventures ahead.

Special Ed. & Release Teacher, Kāhui Ako Across School Lead

Catherine Forrest

Learning is an absolute adventure. It is about making discoveries, growing, and ultimately positively impacting the world around us. Learning is not, nor needs to be, a dull endeavour.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” William Butler Yeats (Poet). Growing the person as well as the learner is a philosophy I hold to rather strongly.

I have had the pleasure of teaching at Cornerstone since 2007 and consider it a privilege to work in an environment where viewing life and learning through a Biblical lens is celebrated. Prior to 2007, I worked in various roles within the ‘Learning and Behaviour Difficulties’ sphere. Unlocking learning and success for those who struggle is a particular passion of mine. We have such a wonderful family feel community here at Cornerstone. I love the home/school/God partnership that grows our students. “Mā te pā te tamaiti e whakatipu. It takes a village to raise a child.”

Teacher (Y3)

Christine Little

I have been teaching at Cornerstone Christian School since 2004 and love being a part of this amazing community.
Having spent my first 20 years of teaching in secular schools, I find being able to freely share God’s word and explore His world with the children so exciting.

Teaching is an absolute passion for me and I particularly enjoy working at the year 3 level. I enjoy all learning but my main areas of interest include Literacy, Social Sciences, The Arts, Science and more recently exploring the use of Information Technology. During the past ten years I have also been involved with the school choirs and the Gifted and Talented programme.

I am delighted to have a wonderful bunch of eager learners in D2 and look forward to encouraging each one towards reaching their full potential in God.

Teacher (Y3)

Claire Thompson

I have been teaching at Cornerstone since 2014 and consider it a blessing to have the opportunity to teach at this God-centred school. I am a part of the Manahau team and teach a wonderful group of Year 3 in D2. Our days are filled with many learning adventures.

I love creating lessons that inspire and encourage children to do their best; and it is hugely satisfying to see children grow in their learning. I love being able to share God’s word with children and see them grown in their faith.

I have three children who attend Cornerstone and it’s great to be a part of this wonderful community as a teacher and as a parent.

Teacher (Y4)

Vicki Campbell

I joined the staff at Cornerstone Christian School in 2016, having spent the previous 4 years at Cornerstone Christian Preschool. I was blessed with the opportunity to open the new entrant classroom known as A2+ midway through the year, helping the new children to transition into school life.

I am now teaching the year 4 children, as one of the teachers in Manahau team. It is awesome working alongside 8 and 9 year olds as they learn, serve and grow in God. I am learning plenty too!

I have a passion for music and love our morning worship sessions. It is a pleasure to being a part of the amazing things God is doing at our school.

Teacher (Y2)

Gemma Stewart

It is an absolute privilege and a joy to be part of the teaching team at Cornerstone Christian School, where I began my teaching career in 2003. I am a passionate teacher who enjoys seeing my students achieve success in their school endeavours.

My goal for my Year 2 class is to see children develop a love for learning and for God. I believe it is so important that learners gain the foundational academic skills they need, particularly in literacy and numeracy, to set them up for future schooling success.  My personal passion is in the area of Structured Literacy, and I have recently taken on the role as literacy specialist and intervention teacher for our year 3 and 4 students. I am also currently working towards my ADA accreditation which will enable me to effectively teach individuals with dyslexia or other related literacy learning difficulties.

I look forward to working alongside families and inspiring and equipping our children to reach their full potential in God.

Teacher (Y5)

Gareth Smith

Kia ora,

My name is Gareth Smith and I am currently teaching year 4/5 students in room D6. I have almost completed ten years of teaching: my first year teaching Years 1 and 2 at Somerset Crescent School and my subsequent years teaching Years 4 and 5 here at Cornerstone Christian School.

I am really enthusiastic about teaching my students all subjects and am most enthusiastic about music, ICT and learning languages; as Te Reo Maori is one of New Zealand’s official languages, we try our best in C2 to include it wherever possible.

I am extremely proud and honoured to be part of such a wonderful team here at Cornerstone and I look forward to the continued learning, serving and growing both my students and I will be doing throughout my time here.

Assistant Principal - Primary School (Years 1-6)

Raeleen Simpson

I have been a part of the Cornerstone Christian School community for a number of years, both as a teacher (full and part-time) and as a parent of five children who are past and present students of both the school and preschool.  

I enjoy teaching across all areas of the school and love being a part of children’s learning through their primary years. I especially enjoy tapping into each child’s strengths and building on those to further understanding. As the Primary AP, it is a privilege to lead an awesome team of passionate teachers dedicated to supporting children in their academic and faith journeys.

We are blessed at Cornerstone Christian School to be able to provide a Christian education for our children and to be able to place Christ at the centre of all that we do.

Release Teacher

Trish Gunning

I’m a release teacher for each primary class a few days each term.

Release Teacher

Julia Cameron

My name is Julia Cameron and I am the release teacher for many of the classes from Years 1-6.

I am enjoying getting back into the classroom after taking time out from teaching while our boys were little.

I am also enjoying getting to know all of the students and becoming part of the Cornerstone whanau.

Teacher (Y5)

Jae Lee

I was very fortunate to be a student teacher at Cornerstone Christian School in Term 3 – 2019. I learnt so much in that time and, with the environment aligned with my faith, I felt for the first time a sense of freedom at a work place. Starting every day with devotions and prayer took my love for teaching to another level and, as my placement came to an end, I thanked God for allowing me to experience a school like this one. However, God apparently hadn’t planned for me to stop my involvement with Cornerstone there, and here I am. Newlywed, new career, new house and all glory to God for all the hard and joyful days to come! Amen.

Teacher (Y2)

Nicola Waitoa

Whaea Nicola joined Cornerstone in 2021 as a Year 2 teacher, having formerly taught at Cloverlea School.

Teacher (Y1)

Nicole Koolhoven

Nicole joined Cornerstone in 2020, after teaching for several years in the Waikato.

Teacher (Y5/6)

Bronte Tongs

As an ex-student of Cornerstone, I am delighted to return to school as a qualified teacher. I am very excited to be a Year 5/6 teacher, as at this age the students are learning to manage themselves and make their own choices in their learning, which I value in my classroom. I am passionate about involving student voice in learning and I am certified in Flipped Learning. I love teaching anything to do with The Arts; I have grown up in a very musical family, and I have also previously been a Speech and Drama teacher. I love seeing students find their gifts and giving them opportunities to express these in front of others.

I am looking forward to continuing my teaching at Cornerstone, and seeing students grow in their knowledge and relationship with the Lord. Hei kororia ki te Atua runga rawa!

Teacher (Y1)

Rachel Girling

Teacher - Year 2

Hayley Roff

Teacher - Year 2

Kiri Parkinson

Teacher - Year 5/6

Rachel Hockly

I’ve had the privilege of being involved with Cornerstone Christian School since 2011, when I was a Year 4/5 teacher in the Tumanako team. Since then, my husband Scott & I have lived in different locations around New Zealand and had 3 children of our own.

With all our kids now at school, it has enabled me to dip my toe back into teaching, and what a blast it has been! The Cornerstone students and the Cornerstone environment are like no other. It is a pleasure to spend time teaching, and learning from, Cornerstone’s kids.

Teacher - Y 0/1

Aileen Theron

Teachers – Yr 7-13

Secondary Dean, Teacher

Karina Anderson

My family and I moved from the Kapiti Coast to Palmerston North last year because we wanted our girls to attend Cornerstone Christian School. It has been a pleasure to join the school community as a teacher. I enjoy relating to teenagers and consider it a privilege to be able to teach in an environment where Jesus is central to life, learning, faith, community and growth.

One of the main scriptures that energises my teaching is Colossians 2:3,
“In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Head of Technologies

Gareth Bell

Kia ora Koutou

I have the privilege and joy of teaching Computing and Mathematics at Cornerstone. In the past I have taught at Freyberg High School and Limapela School in Zambia. I am proud to say I studied teaching at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, where I enjoyed examining concepts like the difference between a teacher who is a Christian and a Christian Teacher.

I became a teacher because I’m passionate about young people. I love helping my students find their own passions and abilities, as well as develop character. I believe the teacher-student relationship is a key foundation for learning, and strive to model the concepts I teach.

I live with my wife and cat. One likes to send me to school with baking in my bag, the other with cat hair on my clothes. I enjoy walks with my wife, playing a bit of music and cycling.

Gareth Bell

NCEA Principal's Nominee, Teacher (Mathematics)

Dr Bronwyn Boddy

I joined the Cornerstone staff in 2015, after teaching at Queen Elizabeth College since 2009. I am excited to be a part of the growing secondary area of the school in Mathematics and using my skills in the running of the Student Management System, KAMAR. 

My favourite moments in teaching are helping students make the connections to become confident and independent learners. 

Aside from teaching and caring for my two young daughters, I love being a part of church worship teams on Sundays, and also play the flute in a local orchestra and flute/piano for musical theatre shows.

Assistant Principal - Senior School (Years 11-13)

Natasha Casey

I have been teaching since 2002 and at have been at Cornerstone since 2017. The move to this school has opened up many opportunities for me to learn and grow in my craft of teaching but also to grow my leadership skills. 

As Assistant Principal, I am passionate about supporting teachers; helping them to grow and improve in their teaching practice at their pace. Our teachers are the experts at the coal face and need to feel as if they have room to experiment, trial, and be brave in seeking the best pathways for their students to learn. This is what we do so well here at Cornerstone. 

It is a great pleasure to use my skills and abilities to extend God’s kingdom in Palmerston North.

Teacher

Michael Doody

Michael Doody here!

My role is to grow the Performing Arts at Cornerstone Christian School. I am Teacher in Charge of Music, Drama and Dance. I am grateful to be in this position where I can build up the Performing Arts at the school and can give back from my passion for singing, dancing and acting.

Why I back the Arts? Performing Arts is a very powerful tool which allows people to exercise their creativity, expressing their thoughts and feelings in a unique way, and to be able to tell the stories of ourselves and others. Also, in this school, the Performing Arts help us to find out a little bit more about our students’ DNA and who they are in Christ. Something that was said to me at drama school that has stuck with me is “Nothing to prove, only to share!”

Outside of teaching, I reside with my wife and two young sons.

Teacher

Anna Fletcher

I am passionate about teaching, especially helping students to develop enjoyment, skills and understanding for the world of Science and Chemistry that God created for us. My role is to help your children learn and grow to be the best person that they can be.

I grew up in Lower Hutt and attended Sacred Heart College before moving to Palmerston North to complete my Science degree majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics. I taught Science and Chemistry at Palmerston North Boys’ High School from 2006 and I started teaching at Cornerstone Christian School in 2018.

My husband and I are blessed to be active parents to three young children. When I find some free time, I enjoy playing football, being outside and reading a good book.

Assistant Principal - Middle School (Years 7-10)

Ian Groube

Kia ora koutou,
Before Cornerstone, I taught Mathematics for the past ten years at Feilding High School. I have also taught at Totara College in Dannevirke. I have always been passionate about Mathematics and I love teaching our young people how to problem solve using math skills. I am a firm believer that hard work is far more rewarding than luck.

I was a student Te Aute College, and from there I joined the Navy. I was the ship’s logistics manager, so numbers have always been a part of me. I am married to Heidi and we have three children: Courtney, Campbell and Devon.

I am looking forward to being part of the school’s growth, and to what God has in store for me. I also look forward to the different aspects Cornerstone Christian School will bring into my life and how my experiences and skills will be utilised to enhance the school.

Teacher

Naomi Hall

Kia ora!

I love to teach food technology as it combines my passion for nutritious food with my passion for teaching & learning. It’s always a thrill to stand in the kitchen with a group of students and some good ingredients and set about preparing a tasty and healthy meal together.

My husband, Robert, and I work together at Wholegrain Organics café & training kitchen, supporting the young people of Palmerston North. We are very interested in sustainability and health – which leads to innovative and exciting developments in the kitchen. We love seeing young people become animated about creating, testing and discovering, all with the purpose of contributing to a healthier more sustainable future for all.

3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”

ESOL, Teacher

Christina Havill

I am currently teaching Drama and English part time in the Year 8 classroom and am covering teacher release at various levels.

My husband and I are new to Palmerston North and we are really enjoying our new environment. Our daughter, Samantha, is at this school and we are so excited to have her part of the Cornerstone community too!

For the last four years we lived in Brunei Darussalam where I taught English (Years 7-10) in the local secondary schools. This was a very rewarding and enriching life experience. Prior to that I taught in the KingsWay Middle School Department in Auckland for seven years. I was a Year Seven Homeroom Teacher in charge of Performing Arts for all the Year 7-9 students. I also taught English, Mathematics and Social Studies.

It is exciting to be back in Christian education and I consider it a privilege to teach from a biblical worldview.

Head of Science

Hayden Hewitt

I joined the Cornerstone Christian School community at the beginning of 2017. Prior to this I have taught Science and Biology for ten years, including a year teaching in the UK. Before teaching, I worked for as number of years as a Science Technician at Massey University and within the dairy industry.

I am passionate about Science, and its relevance to all of us in our everyday lives. I love the way that we can see the Glory of God displayed in everything from the complexity of a single cell, through to the beauty and vastness of space.

I am inspired by the idea that the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. In my teaching, I hope to stoke the fires of interest and curiosity about the amazing world around us. I love being part of an enthusiastic and committed staff here at Cornerstone Christian School and belonging to the wider school community.

I enjoy spending time with my wife and children, and cooking and eating food – especially dishes from other countries. I love being outdoors in God’s good creation, and I’m a keen deer stalker and fisherman.

Director of Pastoral Care, Teacher (PE)

Louis Jayasuriya

I have been teaching PE and Health since 2007, both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. 

I live in Palmerston North with my wife Emma and children Noah, Eliza and Harriet. I lead the pastoral care and PB4L teams at CCS as well as heading up the PE and Health curriculum areas. I enjoying playing sport, coaching sports teams and sharing my passion with my students. 

One of the key themes I promote in my teaching is that the students and myself as the teacher are in our education journey together as a team, because together we can succeed. The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team – Phil Jackson

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Teacher, IT Lead

Paul Jorgensen

I began teaching at Cornerstone Christian School in 2016. Prior to this, I have gained experience at three other high schools in the Manawatu area and one in Wellington. My teaching areas include Digital Technology and Robotics. I have a real passion for teaching and am committed to journeying with the students as they develop their own passions and identity in Christ.

I am also responsible for all things IT at Cornerstone; this provides a satisfying balance to my teaching workload. I have enjoyed carrying out a variety of projects to improve the level of equipment, the systems and the confidence of staff and students with each of these.

I count it an absolute privilege to be involved in Christian education and to serve the wider community as our school carries out its mission to equip our students to become confident followers of Jesus Christ to impact their world.

Dillan Korkie

Dillan joined our secondary teaching team mid 2022, from South Africa. 

Teacher

Amy Macaulay

Amy joined our teaching team in 2021.

Teacher

Leanne Mark

Hi!

I have been teaching Physical Education to high school students since 1995. When I began teaching I was employed at Nga Tawa Diocesan School for Girls. I then taught at Palmerston North Girls High School, Carnot Independent School for Girls and, in 2021, I finished six years’ teaching at Queen Elizabeth College.

I like the saying: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is how I feel about teaching PE. I’m looking forward to continuing my love of teaching Physical Education here at CCS. 

Leanne Mark

 

Teacher

Nicolene Marx

In December 2018, a two-year process came to a fast forward when my husband received a job offer in Palmy. Six weeks later, our family of arrived here on our first ever trip abroad!

We are truly blessed to be here doing what we love: inspiring through teaching and coaching.

My teaching career started in 2011 teaching English and Social Science while playing first class cricket. I was fortunate to share my passion for sport through not only co-ordinating sport but also coaching several school netball and cricket teams. I have been teaching at Cornerstone since 2019.

I believe that God has a plan with where we are, and I am excited for what He has in store for us within Cornerstone and the broader community in His greater plan.

Director of Tribes and Events

Craig McDonald

Kia ora.

My name is Craig McDonald and I reside in G block as a Y7 homeroom teacher when I’m not being involved in the organisation of sports and tribes around the school.

I have taught every year group in the primary school, with no firm favourite level, just some interesting memories!

Over half of my teaching experience has been in Christian Schooling. I do my best to integrate our Christian Faith with what we are learning in the classroom about ourselves and the world around us.

As well as my teaching diploma, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education focusing on Christian Schooling, and a Theology degree. These are helping me to form my ideas about how to achieve a successful Christian Education.

Learning Support, Careers Advisor, Teacher

Carl McIntyre

I began teaching at Cornerstone Christian School in 2014, having previously spent nine wonderful years teaching English, Social Studies, Religious Studies, Health and History at St. Peter’s College. I feel immensely blessed to serve the Cornerstone community in the teaching and guiding of our first secondary classes.

I’m really enjoying the challenge of establishing our secondary curriculum in the areas of Social Studies and History. I’m also passionate about ensuring students are as happy and successful in their learning as possible – and about equipping them with the life skills they need to spread that happiness and success into the world around them.

I look forward to Cornerstone continuing its expansion through secondary school, along with the outpouring of God’s grace that will enable us to excel even further!

Teacher

David Papworth

I began teaching at Cornerstone Christian school at the beginning of 2020. Before beginning my teaching career, I undertook a degree majoring in History at Massey University before completing a teaching diploma.

I believe strongly that education and spiritual growth are intertwined, and to develop a young individual with the core values of Respect, Diligence, Integrity, Kindness and Humility before God is of the utmost importance. Cornerstone is a place where I have found welcoming and loving staff, students who care for each other and work as a team to better themselves, and an atmosphere of love and respect.

Outside of school, I am always involving myself with as much music as I possibly can. Writing, performing, and using it as a medium for worship are my biggest passion. I also love the outdoors, and particularly getting out on the water wherever possible.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

Colossians 3:16

Whakapono (Y7-8) Team Leader

Tarryn Rose

My name is Tarryn Rose and my family consists of my husband James (who is also a teacher), our two boys and our dog Jack. Palmerston North is my home city, but I have also lived in Whanganui, Africa and the
Philippines.

I began teaching almost 20 years ago after graduating from Massey University in Palmerston North. My degree was in Education and my major was in P.E. I enjoy encouraging the students with the idea we focused on in Term 4 2015: “Fit Body, Healthy Mind, Honours God”. 2016 is my second year at Cornerstone and I look forward to all that it holds for the Whakapono Team. The Year 7/8s have a fabulous year ahead, with some of the highlights being: sharing and hearing God’s word in our team assemblies, camp at Vertical Horizon, sports events, celebrations, classes with specialist teachers here at Cornerstone.

Teacher

Nate Sextus

I began teaching at Cornerstone at the beginning of 2020. Before then, I had a range of teaching experience within the private education sector and then went on to teach technology at a state school. I am Palmy proud, having been born and raised here. I attended school and Massey University here and went on to study through Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI). It is exciting to be at Cornerstone Christian School as I can bring my whole mind and heart to the role!

I am passionate about worship and regularly lead worship at my local church. Most of all, I have a beautiful wife and I am proud father of a young baby girl!

John 1:16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Secondary Dean, Teacher (Science)

Sarah Sisson

I have been part of the Cornerstone team since 2018. I live here in the Kelvin Grove community with my husband and 2 girls who also attend CCS.

I love teaching and inspiring young budding scientists! I am passionate about helping students observe the world around them and opening their eyes to the miracles of Creation. I am especially interested in developing their literacy and critical thinking skills which will benefit them through their lives. I also consider it a privilege to help students navigate the challenges they face through my role as a Secondary School Dean.

“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: who created these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 (NIV))

Director of Life Lab, Head of Art

Erika Snedden

I joined the Cornerstone Community in 2015 to establish and develop the Secondary Art Department. Since 2017 I have been the Director of Life Lab – responsible for facilitating Christian discipleship, life direction and academic mentoring programmes for the secondary students. I have also had the privilege of establishing and leading our Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Scheme.

Within New Zealand and overseas I have had experience as a Secondary Art and Art History teacher and Head of Department.

As an A/r/tographer – artist, researcher and teacher, I have a passion to support and development research inquiry within learning communities.

At the core of my leadership style, practice and faith is a belief in allowing and empowering others to lead.

Teacher

Narrelle Soong

Kia ora,

I am privileged to be teaching Y7 at Cornerstone Christian School. My teaching focus is to create a student centred and collaborative learning environment that fosters independent and innovative learners who are passionate about their mahi and growing their God connection.

I grew up attending Christian schools and began my teaching journey at Totara College, Dannevirke. In London for 10 years, I taught in several private schools and a 6th form college before returning to Aotearoa to be close to family in Palmerston North. I have taught new entrants through to Y8 and have enjoyed being a performing arts teacher at primary and secondary levels. Taking time out of classroom teaching, I completed full time dance and Pilates training in London.

My husband Matt and I live in Kelvin Grove with our children, Sebastien, India and Ambrose.

Narrelle

Y9-10 Team Leader, Teacher

Heslia Swanepoel

I started teaching at Cornerstone in 2016 and am currently teaching English and Humanities in the Secondary School. I am also the school’s Specialist Classroom Teacher, a support and mentoring role to assist other teachers. Before moving to Palmerston North in 2015, we lived in Auckland for 20 years. My children and I were at KingsWay School where I was Head of Middle School.

I enjoy being back in the classroom teaching English and Social Studies and I also enjoy working alongside teachers, supporting them in their very demanding roles as educators in their subject areas, role models and character shapers of the young people they work with.

In my opinion, being an educator is a most worthwhile career path and I have been enjoying myself over the past few decades.

Teacher

Aneta Reuter

Aneta joined our teaching team in 2021.

Gosia Waitr

Teacher

Gosia Waitr

Support staff – Learning Support

Teacher Aide

Suseela Batchelor

My name is Suseela.

Palmerston North has been home for me and my family since 2004. Originally, I was from Malaysia. I live with my kiwi husband, two amazing children and a dog named Coco.

I have been part of the Cornerstone community since 2013, when my children were enrolled at the school. I have been privileged to work with amazing children and teenagers previously as a social worker.

Children ministry has been my favourite and the highlight of my work over the years. Big or small, do it with love.

I’m excited to step into my role as a teacher aide at Cornerstone Christian School.

Suseela

Teacher Aide

Helen Dobson

I have had a longstanding relationship with Cornerstone, starting with the preschool which my two sons both attended from 4 years old. While my boys went through the school (up to Year 8 at the time) I was working part time as an Optometrist, which gave me the flexibility to be in classrooms as parent help. I also served on the Board of Trustees for nine years and have watched the wonderful, rapid growth of CCS allowing more children access to Christian education.

In 2015, I was employed by Cornerstone as a teacher aide, assisting Year 4-6 children with literacy.

In 2016, I was given the privilege to serve in the secondary school. I am working alongside supportive staff providing quality education to students, and love to help individuals do the best they are able to.

I am passionate about Cornerstone Christian School and am blessed to be working in an environment that nurtures young people to grow and serve God in ways that will make an impact for Him in this world.

Teacher Aide & Sports Coordinator

Jannell Eade

I am very fortunate to have two roles here at Cornerstone. I am a special needs teacher aide and also the sports coordinator. These two roles encompass my two passions. I love being on the learning journey with the special young children I work with; witnessing their challenges, growth and achievements. I am rewarded daily with their accomplishments.

Sport is a massive part of my life too. I thrive on coaching, organising and encouraging students to explore all of the life lessons they can learn by participating
in team and individual sports. Our vision for sport at Cornerstone is to see the majority of our students involve themselves in a sport, in any capacity. We are fast becoming a very competitive Manawatu school in the sporting arena.

I love working in such a supportive, positive and encouraging school.

Teacher Aide

Barbara Hembrow

I have been a teacher aide since 2011, after spending many hours as a parent in the classroom and in various school activities.

My journey with Cornerstone started in 1996, when my daughter and, later, my son attended the Preschool in the Life Church crèche. I became involved with the fundraising group and learned how to parent help at the preschool, in new entrants and made my way up through the school years. My older children laugh because, although they still see themselves as Cornerstone Children, they have left school yet their Mum still has to go every day! My youngest child is in secondary at Cornerstone, so our Cornerstone story has not yet ended.

I completed a Teacher Aide certificate in 2013. I assist teachers in classrooms from Year 1 to Year 10, helping students who need extra support with literacy and numeracy.

I love how Christ is in every part of our day at school and how each child is celebrated as a special gift from God.

Teacher aide

Jasmine Hickmott

Teacher Aide

Maria McDonald

My name is Maria McDonald. I am truly privileged to be able to work in an environment where Jesus Christ is at the centre. It is exciting to see Jesus working
daily in the children’s lives.

I enjoy working alongside amazing staff members to make a difference in the lives of these young people and seeing their abilities grow and develop.

Teacher aide

Daniel McGaffin

This is my first time ever being a teacher aide and I am very excited to have my first opportunity here at Cornerstone. I look forward to be working in an environment where God is at the center of everything whether its teaching or relational. I have a background in working with youth and in a Christian context, youth development to a small degree. I have spent 10 years as a youth leader at my home church CCC and I have also headed up a Leaders in Training programme at the El Rancho kids camps where I helped junior high school aged youth learn about themselves, who they are in God and leading at kids camps.

I started a curiosity in teacher aiding last year while I was a lifeguard at Freyberg Pool. There I had some exposure to their learning support department when students would come in for swims. I enjoy getting to know students in learning support, figuring out what makes them tick and how to clearly relate with each one. In a big picture view, I just love to see youth start to figure out who they are and what God has given them, and to see them free in that and enjoy who they are.

Teacher Aide

Anne-Marie Mitchell

What an awesome privilege to be a part of the Cornerstone Christian School community!

I have been working as a special needs teacher aide since 2014 and find it exciting and fulfilling to help and encourage children both in their educationand in developing to their full potential in God!

Teacher aide

Katie Monaghan

am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Education at Massey University here in Palmerston North. I plan to do a post grad of teaching to get my teaching certificate and be able to be a primary school teacher. Currently, I am a teacher aide at Cornerstone and I’m loving every second of it. The kids are awesome and it’s so cool to be able to watch them grow into little superstars! I’m passionate about teaching and hope to be able to do it as a career for the rest of my life !

Chantelle Mulder

Teacher Aide

Chantelle Mulder

Linda Ng

I am very privileged to be part of the Cornerstone community, working here as a teacher aide since November 2020.

My husband and I came from Singapore to New Zealand in 2009.  We lived in Palmerston North for 6 years during which time I worked as a social worker with a child and family support service and as a teacher aide in a primary school.  As much as I enjoyed the work of supporting students with special needs I decided to stop work to be a stay-at-home mother.

My initial acquaintance with Cornerstone Christian School was a very pleasant one when my daughter started attending the preschool.  I was impressed with the quality of the early education provided and was happy to see Christian values and teachings being incorporated.  Since then, my husband and I have become convinced that this is the direction that we want for our children’s education.

In 2015, we relocated to Taupo where we enrolled our children at a Christian school.  We lived in Taupo for 5 years, and during this time I did a part-time Level 4 course in Education Support.  One of the course requirements was for me to attain some teacher aide work experience, which I did by volunteering at my children’s school.  I enjoyed being part of the Christian school environment and knew that this is what I would commit to do.

In October 2020, my husband found a new job in Palmerston North so we moved back to the city.  We have always felt Palmerston North is our hometown and that God has opened the doors for us to return, providing for our every need.  I am blessed to be given this role as a teacher aide at Cornerstone Christian School and to have this opportunity to support young people in their learning and relationship with God.

Teacher Aide

Ruth Oemcke

My name is Ruth Oemcke. I have worked as a teacher aide for over 20 years and prior to that was employed as a hospice nurse. I started my journey at Cornerstone 11 years ago and in that time have found the staff to be incredibly genuine.

I work with the special needs children. I have a passion to see the students excel in whatever they are able to do, helping them to increase their confidence and self-esteem. It is a privilege to work with the students. Being a mother of a daughter who has Downs syndrome, I know first-hand the importance of students being included and accepted in their school environment. I love seeing the children make progress.

Patience is on the top of the list, but when breakthrough comes, even in the smallest things, it is very much celebrated. It is also a pleasure to see the children enjoying their schoolwork, especially when they’ve experienced success at whatever level; their eagerness to learn obviously increases.

Because of the school’s Special Character we are able to talk openly about Christian things, which of course involves our character and how we are to treat others. I find this a really good tool to help other children to be inclusive of the children that require a little extra help. It is always wonderful to see children independently looking out for the needs of those who struggle and encouraging them.

I really do love working here. In every class I have assisted in, the teachers are so encouraging and supportive of addressing the needs of individual children. They show a real empathy for the children and are eager to see them progress and be involved in as many areas as possible.

Teacher Aide

Destiny Pereka

Teacher aide

Laura Siegel

To be added

Science Technician, Teacher Aide - ESOL

Joy Soo

Mabuhay.

I moved to New Zealand from the Philippines in 2008 after getting married to a NZ-born Chinese. We have two active sons who both go to Cornerstone.

I have a degree in Food Technology. After graduating, I worked as a university researcher for two years. I then moved to the food manufacturing industry and worked for more than 10 years in several companies developing products from food sauces, to reconstituted liquid creamer and other dairybased products.

When my eldest son started school here at Cornerstone in 2014, I was very impressed with the culture of the school. There is warmth, kindness and friendliness from the school staff, the parents and the students. Now that I am part of the school, I am excited to work with a great team who work passionately towards one vision.

Teacher aide

Theo Tavita

Teacher aide

Roanne Thatcher

My name is Roanne Thatcher. I am grateful to God and the school for allowing me to be part of the Cornerstone team. My two children have really enjoyed attending Cornerstone so it is very cool that I can be a teacher aide in this community. I have been a teacher aide for almost three years and enjoy encouraging and growing children in their love for God and for learning.

Teacher aide

Rosie Thompson

To be added

Lieze Thomson

Teacher Aide

Lieze Thomson

Teacher aide

Sue Twigge

To be added.

Rebekah Yates

Teacher aide

Rebekah Yates

Hi there!

I recently started at Cornerstone as a teacher aide in Aroha Team. I attended CCS all the way from preschool until Year 13, so I have loved being back in this community! After graduating from Year 13 in 2019, I spent a year doing an internship at my church and loved the experience. I’m looking to study education in a couple of years’ time so I am eager to get back into school life and gain experience!

It’s such a blessing to be able to grow in a school that reflects the love of Jesus in so many ways. I have a heart for helping young ones learn and grow, not only in their math and spelling, but in their walk with Christ as well.

Teacher Aide - ESOL

Lixy Georgekutty

Teacher Aide - ESOL

Ana Muli

Support staff – Administration, Grounds, Library

Librarian

Katharine Bracey

I enjoy books and reading, and I started working in the school library on a voluntary basis in 2008. It was located in A1, the useable collection was tiny, and there were many books awaiting processing. The school had no one with the time and skills to do this. I had learned to catalogue books using the same library software as a volunteer at Freyberg High School. This was great for everyone: Mrs Jane Barker could buy more books knowing they would make it into the library, the students were able to read them and I had a part-time job!

I have seen the library move from A1 to the new Administration building and then on to G2. I look forward to returning the books to The Learning Centre in the Administration building.

In 2014, the foundation of the Secondary collection was a major emphasis for book purchases, together with requested items such as Geronimo Stilton, Lego books, the Brick Bible, Asterix and the Tintin series of graphic novels. My thanks goes to Anathea Jackson who, on a voluntary basis, has been reducing the time lag between books being purchased and arriving on our library shelves through 2014/2015.

In 2015, the emphasis has been on novels for the Tumanako and Whakapono students; many of these have been requested by staff or students.

I have been in the school long enough to see individual children’s reading abilities and tastes change as they mature. It is great to see children eager to read and to see their delight when books they suggested make it to the shelves.

Teacher Aide & Sports Coordinator

Jannell Eade

I am very fortunate to have two roles here at Cornerstone. I am a special needs teacher aide and also the sports coordinator. These two roles encompass my two passions. I love being on the learning journey with the special young children I work with; witnessing their challenges, growth and achievements. I am rewarded daily with their accomplishments.

Sport is a massive part of my life too. I thrive on coaching, organising and encouraging students to explore all of the life lessons they can learn by participating
in team and individual sports. Our vision for sport at Cornerstone is to see the majority of our students involve themselves in a sport, in any capacity. We are fast becoming a very competitive Manawatu school in the sporting arena.

I love working in such a supportive, positive and encouraging school.

Principal's PA

Rebecca Jorgensen

Eric Knowlton

Groundsman

Eric Knowlton

Caretaker

Kevin Randall

I am a South African who has been living in New Zealand for almost 14 years. It has been absolutely awesome! I am 10 years happily married to a cute Kiwi girl and we have a gorgeous 7-year old son called Joshua, who is also here at Cornerstone.

I joined Cornerstone Christian School as its new caretaker in December 2018. Little did I know that I would be going to school each and every day with my son Joshua! Just as Almighty God, in the beginning, created a garden and put Adam in it as his caretaker, I feel that I have the privilege of taking care of His property here at Cornerstone.

Please pray for me as I will be praying for you too!

Enrolment Registrar

Sarndra Rauzi

I joined Cornerstone’s staff in 2014, having previously been involved for many years as a parent and volunteer. It was a privilege to be involved in many areas of school life as a volunteer whilst my children were there and I am very thankful for many wonderful Christian teachers who taught, prayed for and influenced my family during those years. 

After working for eight years’ in the role of Principal’s PA, in which I was also involved with enrolments, I moved sideways to focus mostly on enrolments and also took up a part-time role with the Proprietor.

Cornerstone has an exciting vision and I enjoy being part of an organisation that seeks to partner with parents to help children “to be[come] confident followers of Jesus Christ, equipped and inspired to creatively impact our world.” 

Executive Officer

Vicki Scoggins

Vicki is our Executive Officer looking after payroll and finance.

Student Administration Officer

Ilona Shewell

I am originally from South Africa. My family and I have started a wonderful new life in New Zealand. We were blessed to have our two boys accepted into Cornerstone. We as a family have felt truly welcome and accepted.

My path at Cornerstone started with me being a Teacher aide. I absolutely loved being within the classroom environment and being involved with the students. When the position for student administrator became available, I knew that I had to apply, as my background is in administration. I had the best of both worlds available to me, administration and still being involved with the students. I feel as though I have found where I am meant to be. I am truly blessed to be part of an amazing team at Cornerstone.

As a mother of two boys that attend Cornerstone, I can honestly say that as a family we are truly blessed to be part of the school family. The school has provided my children with the Christian values that are so important to us as a family. It is a blessing to see how they have both grown as Christians and as individuals.

My position as student administrator provides me with the opportunity to meet not only the students, but also their families. I have the privilege of being one of the staff members that can first welcome new students and their families to the Cornerstone Christian school family. It is a truly humbling experience to see so many families walking down the same Christian path, wanting to instill the same Christian values.

Administration Officer

Cheri Yates

I have been part of the Cornerstone Christian School community as a parent since 2005. My five children have all attended both the preschool and the school, with the younger two still attending school here.

I joined the staff as Administration Officer in January 2022 and I am excited to be part of a dedicated team, serving and supporting our school community.

We are truly blessed with the calibre of leadership and teachers we have, amazing people who are passionate about both educating and discipling our children.

I am passionate about our school and the values we strive to attain; Respect, Diligence, Integrity, Kindness and Humility before God.

Cleaner

Sue Hill

Gary Scoggins

Cleaner

Gary Scoggins

Cleaner

Jessie Watson-Compton

Cleaner

Karen Watson-Lammas