Biraban Public School

Respect | Responsibility | Personal Best

Telephone02 4959 1902

Our staff

Get to know our school staff. We're all here to help.

Our professional, university-educated teachers encourage students to develop a love of learning and a desire to succeed. They maintain the highest integrity and concern for your child’s wellbeing.

The principal is responsible for the educational leadership and management of our school. If you would like to speak to the principal, please contact us to make an appointment.

Our school administrative staff can answer inquiries or direct you to the appropriate staff member for help.

Allison Pattison - Principal

My name is Allison Pattison and I am a proud Wiradjuri woman who has lived on the Central Coast all my life. I went to Tuggerawong Primary school which had approximately 80 students at the time and then continued onto Wyong High School. 

I graduated from Newcastle Ourimbah campus in 1997 with a Bachelor of Teaching / Bachelor of Arts (Special Education ) as a mature age student. I  graduated with honours and received a Deans merit award for my results. I worked at Kanwal public school running Aboriginal Literacy and Numeracy Programs and I worked at the local Aboriginal homework Centre at Gorokan Public School before I was offered a permanent teaching position at Tuggerah Public School in 2004. I worked hard and was very proactive in making sure Aboriginal Education was everybody’s business. I was and still am an active member of the NGARA  AECG and work tirelessly to make sure all Aboriginal students are supported both academically and culturally.

I became an Assistant Principal in 2008 and then Deputy Principal in 2016 at Tuggerah Public School before gaining a promotion as Principal of Biraban Public School in Term 3 2018. I have been an instructional leader and have expertise in Learning Language Literacy (Kindergarten and Stage 1), Focus on Reading, Targeting Early Numeracy (TEN), MiniLit, MacqLit, Reading Tutor Program, Phonics, Seven steps to writing success, Pirozzo, Literacy and Numeracy Progressions and Best Start Assessment.

I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two children Zahlee and Jonte and have three sisters and four brothers.  We enjoy camping and traveling overseas together.

Tamaryn Ryan (Curry) - Assistant Principal & OC Wolombai


My name is Tamaryn Ryan (Curry) and I am excited to join the team at Biraban Public School this year. 

I have 14 years experience teaching and leading in primary schools across Newcastle and the Hunter. I am passionate about creating safe, fun and challenging learning environments for students and ensuring equitable access to quality education for all children. I have worked extensively with the NW Department of Education and University of Newcastle in researching and training teachers in Quality Teaching and collaborative practice.

Prior to becoming a teacher I worked as a journalist, editor and in communications so it will come as no surprise that I love words – reading, writing, talking and storytelling! I hope to foster a love of reading, learning and curiosity about the world in my students.

When I am not at school, I like to read, go to the beach and spend time with my sons Patrick and Joey and my cavoodle, Phantom. 

I am very much looking forward to an exciting and busy year with 4/5 Kaiyiba, where I am teaching with the wonderful Mrs Shinae Parberry.

Miss Melissa McDonald - Assistant Prinical Wellbeing


My name is Melissa, I am originally from Dubbo NSW and moved to Newcastle in 2016 to begin University. I graduated from The University of Newcastle in 2019 with a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) (Honours). I was very excited to have accepted a position at Biraban in October of 2019. I am very passionate about with working with children and helping them reach their full potential.

I taught ballet for 6 years and always enjoyed working with children in this capacity and knew that teaching was something that I was very interested in. Before beginning university, I was an SLSO at Bunninyong Public School and worked with the Aboriginal Education Team in supporting students with literacy, numeracy and life skills such as cooking.

I believe that all students bring a different set of skills to learning. I teach using a strengths-based approach to learning which capitalises on what students are already capable of and builds upon this. I love listening to my students and making learning fun and engaging. My learning environment is bright, fresh, organised and reflective of what my students have been learning in class.

I am very excited to be at Biraban for 2020 and beyond, and look forward to working with everyone, in all capacities.​

Aaron Quinnell - Assistant Principal Curriculum and Instruction

Amanda Gregory - Assistant Principal Curriculum & Instraction (Years 3-6)

Over 18 years in education, I have had proudly supported young people with the care and education they need to have the best chance of a successful future and to enable them opportunities to enjoy a fulfilling life as an active member of society.

I grew up in the beautiful Manning Valley on Biripi land being watched over by the majestic Bulga Plateu and Middle Brother Mountains, enjoying water sports on the Manning River and the nearby beaches with my family and friends. I am passionate about the great outdoors and coming from an Environmental Science background I use this to inspire student learning and impart this care and love for our unique Australian animals and environment on everyone I meet.

Having lived in many places, I now call Newcastle home and consider myself so very fortunate to have been chosen to join the Biraban Public School team and to see all of the smiling faces of our students coming into the school each and every day.

Jacqui Watsford - Assistant Principal (Special Education) & Yimaliko (Thursday & Friday)

My name is Jacqui Watsford and I have been proudly teaching for over 25 years.  In that time, I have taught a variety of settings including mainstream classes from kinder to year 6, in support teacher roles, as an early intervention teacher both for not for profit organisations and with the Department of Education. For the past 8 years I have been fortunate to teach students in support classes and lead special education staff in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley.  I have been fortunate in gaining a role at Biraban Public School to co-teach Yimaliko with Miss Conley, and to guide the special education stage as the Assistant Principal for Special Education. 

Wellbeing and emotional regulation, neuro-diverse learners and students that learn best a little bit out of the box is my passion.  I truly believe that for students to learn they need to be able to regulate and build relationships before they can reason and become engaged in their learning.  Assisting students to develop their own toolbox of strategies to assist them be in a state where they are ready to learn underpins my education beliefs.  It impacts how I set up my classroom, the style in which I deliver and guide learning content and how I encourage students to have high expectations of themselves. 

Behind the scenes I have lived in the Lake Macquarie area for 28 years,  with my very supportive family – my husband and our 4 children, who have all grown up understanding that it is important to have a passionate teacher to help individual students reach their best potential. I love how they all will ask me around the dinner table how my day was, and that I can genuinely say that I am so lucky to be part of the Biraban Public School team. 

Mrs Erin Bellwood - Assistant Principal Attendance/Support class Malang


My name is Erin Bellwood and I have been at Biraban Public School for 3 years. I grew up, and still live, on the Central Coast with my 2 children.

I completed my Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) at the University of Newcastle in 2009 and began working at Tuggerah Public School as a temporary teacher on Kindergarten for 4 years. From there I was lucky enough to gain a permanent position at Hornsby South Public School for 7 years where I worked on Grades 1-3 and then moved into the role of Learning and Support Teacher for the last 3 years. I have also studied a Food Science and Nutrition degree.

At Biraban I work in the Support unit teaching students with various disabilities. I absolutely love my job and come to school everyday ready for a challenge.

In my spare time I enjoying running, camping, going to the beach, playing footy and spending time with my family and friends.

Miss Ellissa Knox - Leonard - ED Nungkiliko


My name is Ellissa, a proud Toronto girl I have lived here almost my whole life. I graduated from Newcastle Ourimbah campus in 2019 with a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) (Honours). As a former Biraban student myself I have completed the full circle and extremely proud of it. Bringing to Biraban my positive attitude, warm heart, enthusiasm and a firm, fair and fun approach to life/ work.

I have worked at Toronto pool since I was 14 years of age as a lifeguard and learn to swim instructor. Along with completing 2 trainee ships; cert 3 in Aquatics and Cert 4 sport and rec. Once I completed high school at Toronto High, I travelled overseas where I was fortunate enough to do a 3-month summer camp at New Hampshire. It was after that I realised, I was truly passionate about teaching and needed to peruse my career. Whilst completing my degree I worked as a teacher’s aide at Dora Creek Public School working with Indigenous students to increase literacy support, Rathmines Public School in the special education unit and Biraban on 1G. These positions have equipped me with skills and practices that has benefited me at the end of my degree before gaining a temporary position at Biraban Public. 

My passion in education is creating a safe and engaging learning environment providing all students with an equal opportunity and setting them up for success in the future. I am extremely passionate about staying active in physical education and incorporating as many physical activity lessons within the school terms in a fun, physically challenging and engaging way so that the students become lifelong healthy active participants in the community. I love to inspire children to not only do their personal best at all times but to challenge themselves and chase their dreams. My favourite thing about teaching children is celebrating the successes that they make in life, whether it is big or small. 

Rheannan Wells - ED Booran

My name is Rheannan Wells and I am new to Biraban PS. I grew up in Lake Macquarie and graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2010 with a Bachelor of Education (Early Chidlhood). I have worked in Hay, Broken Hill, Newcastle and I have worked in a Special Needs American Summer Camp. I completed my Master of Special and Inclusive Education in 2019 and transferred to Biraban PS this year. 

After spending several years in Broken Hill, red dust and no water, I am enjoying being back on the coast! Seeing my family and friends and getting out on the lake paddle boarding and swimming. I'm excited to be working at Biraban and look forward to all the new opportunities and experiences.

Miss Melissa Anderson - K/1 Kalabara


My name is Melissa Anderson and I am new to Biraban PS. I spent my childhood telling everyone that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up so it was no surprise when I graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Teaching (Primary). After working at Tuggerah Public School for a year, I decided it was time to pack my bags and move to the UK (another lifelong dream). I spent 5 years teaching in London and travelling around Europe every chance I could before making the choice to return to Australia in 2020.

I am excited to be working at such a positive and inclusive school like Biraban PS and look forward to seeing how much we achieve in Kindergarten and Year 1 this year. At the weekend, you will find me taking a relaxing stroll with my dog, Molly, or curled up with a good book, a habit that I plan on passing to all of my students. ​

Jenna Turner - 1/2 Milaba

My name is Jenna Turner and I have been working at Biraban Public school since the beginning of 2022. I did my very first casual teaching day at Biraban and I’ve stayed here ever since. 

I grew up in Tea Gardens and in 2011 I moved to Sydney to complete a traineeship in a preschool, where I obtained a Certificate III in Children’s Services.

From 2012-2021 I worked full time in Early Childhood Education. During that time, I studied part time at the University of Newcastle, and after a long 6 years I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood & Primary).

In 2017 I had my beautiful baby boy Louie-J and in 2021 I married my husband, Michael.

I have always loved working with children in early childhood and I have developed the same passion working with primary school aged children. I believe in inclusive education, respect, trust and building reciprocal relationships with children and their families.

Outside of school, I enjoy being with my family and friends, going to the park, beach, pool, movies, having fires and toasting marshmallows.

I am looking forward to watching all the children at Biraban Public school learn, develop, and reach their personal best in all aspects of education.

Shinae Parbey - 4 Kaiyiba

My name is Shinae and I am from the Central Coast, NSW. I graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2017 with a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) / Bachelor of Arts (with distinction). After graduating, I started my career as a casual teacher, working in various schools on the Central Coast. I began working at Biraban Public School in 2021 and I have never looked back.

I am passionate about teaching and providing educational opportunities to all students. I love reading and enjoy sharing my love of books in the classroom when teaching Literacy. I love all things netball and I am the Vice President of my local netball club. 

Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I have 2 primary school aged children, Abby and Zac. 

Lachie van Dartel - RFF

I'm Lachie van Dartel,  I've got a serious passion for teaching and learning, and I love sharing that enthusiasm with my students!

I'm genuinely pumped to guide my students on this wild educational adventure. Together, we'll explore new ideas, take on challenges, and celebrate every single win along the way.

I believe that when kids feel happy, supported, and valued, they can achieve amazing things. So, I'm all about creating a positive and inclusive classroom where everyone feels safe to be themselves.

But it's not all books and assignments! I'm also a big fan of sports and music. I think sports teach us valuable lessons about teamwork, determination, and staying active. And music? Well, it's like magic for the soul! I love incorporating these interests into our learning, so we can have a blast while expanding our horizons.


Michael Kelly - 5/6 Nupaliko

My name is Michael, I have lived in the Newcastle area for most of my life. I graduated from The University of Newcastle in 2022 with a Bachelor of Education (Primary). I was lucky enough to accept a full-time position as a teacher at Biraban at the end of the same year. I am a passionate teacher who is enthusiastic about helping students in all areas of school life. 

Through university I worked casually in a variety of jobs, including an OOSH educator, a bartender and a labourer. I worked full time on Newcastle’s beaches as a lifeguard for three years, and still work casually there. 

I love to play sport and be outdoors, which is something that I try to involve in my lessons. I also love to learn and try to encourage my students to have the same positive outlook on their learning. To do this, I emphasise fun engaging lessons so that students get the most out of their learning. I make an effort to build and maintain positive respectful relationships with individual students so that they enjoy coming to school and feel connected in my classroom.

I am very excited to be working at Biraban in 2023 and look forward to working with the school and community this year and into the future. 

Lara McConville - 2/3 Minamba

My name is Lara Dorey, and I have been working at Biraban Public School since the beginning of 2023. I grew up on the Central Coast and graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree with distinction.

I have a background in dancing and spent 13 years of my life competitively dancing. I was able to travel to America, perform on X-Factor in 2015, and competed regularly in eisteddfods. Later, I became a dance teacher, instructing students from 2 years old to 13 years old. I look forward to instilling a love for the creative arts in my students.

I have always wanted to be a Primary Teacher for as long as I can remember. I have a passion for equitable education for all students, and I hope to inspire my students to pursue their dreams, showing them that anything is possible.

Outside of school, I enjoy walking my Great Dane puppy, reading, and spending time with my husband, family, and friends.

Miss Laura Crowley - RFF

My name is Laura Crowley and I have been teaching for six years and have worked in a variety of school across the Newcastle and Sydney regions. I grew up in Nelson Bay and moved to Newcastle when I was 11 years old to attend Hunter School of Performing Arts for dancing.

After completing my degree in a Bachelor of Primary School Teaching/ Bachelor of Arts, I moved to the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney where I worked at Botany Public School for three years. After three years in Sydney, I decided to move back home to Newcastle where I worked at Eleebana Public School for three years. On the last day of school I received the exciting news that I was successful in gaining the permanent position at Biraban Public School. I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl and I look forward to my next chapter at Biraban Public School. 

Oscar Shearman - 5/6 OC Wolombai

 My name is Oscar Shearman, and this is my second-year teaching at Biraban Public School. I grew up in Newcastle and graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) last year. I am very fortunate to be working with the OC Class this year and have a passion for pushing students to reach their full potential. I’m super excited to be working in this classroom Implementing Maths, HSIE, CAPA and Physical Education. I love all things sport and am thrilled to be working with the sport team to help organise carnivals, events and knockout competitions throughout the year. 

 Mrs Alison Brigden - RFF /Intervention Teacher

After graduating from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Education in 1989 I accepted my first permanent teaching position at Brewarrina Central School in 1990. In 1994 a received a transfer to Eleebana Public School where I taught for some time before taking some time away raising our three children. During this time, I spent some time in private industry running a ‘kindygym’ before deciding to return to the teaching that I love.

I’m so pleased to be part of Biraban Public School this Year.

Miss Caren Buckley - School Admin Manager


-       Alison Brigden

-       Laura Polamalu

-      Lachlan Van Dartel


-       Janelle Heaven

-       Nova Sarkata

-       Sandra Millard

-       Emma Nash

-       Sean Lancaster

-       Callan Nicol

-       Kallie Atkins

-       Jane Soorley

-       Matt Simons

-       Cohen Patterson

School Chaplain – Yvette Tawse

School Administration Officer

-       Chris Jordison 

-       Teara Zieleman 

-       Holly Stewart

General Assistants

-       Jeff O’Connor

-       Bernie Taylor

School Counsellor – Lauren Cohen (Tuesday)

Assistant Principal Learning and Support – Diane Burns

Home School Liaison Officer: Lisa Gallagher