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.

Principal - Allison Pattison

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.

K/1 - Kalabara - Miss Melissa Anderson


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. ​

1/2 Milaba - Miss Melissa McDonald


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.​

5/6 Wolombai - Miss Laura Crowley

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. 

Nungkiliko - Miss Ellissa Knox - Leonard


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. 

4/5 Kaiyiba - Mr Darren Croft

After working for 20 years in the private sector and having a family of my own I thought it was time to chase a long held ambition of mine to become a primary school teacher. I embarked on the required university studies before graduating and finally entering the exciting and challenging world of primary school teaching.

I started as a casual teacher, teaching around the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle area. In 2018 I was fortunate to be offered work at Biraban Public School on a 3/4 class. I have continued as a teacher at Biraban and now enjoy my role teaching Science and Technology across all year level as well as looking after the library.

The change of Career has been an exciting journey and continues to make me smile every day. I look forward to helping develop learners at Biraban that are well equipped to make exciting and valuable contributions to the world in which we all live. 

RFF /Intervention Teacher- Mrs Alison Brigden

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.

Malang - Mrs Erin Bellwood 


My name is Erin Bellwood and I am new here at Biraban Public School. I grew up and still live on the Central Coast where I went to school at both Berkeley Vale Public School and High School.

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. 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.

This year I am working with the Year 1 and 2 students with writing and spelling, as well as helping the Year 3 students get familiar with the NAPLAN test they will undertake in May this year. 

In my spare time I enjoying running and spending time with my young family which includes my husband and 2 children Josie and Jameson. We enjoy camping and going to the beach together.

Aaron Quinnell

Assistant Principal Curriculum and Instruction 


My name is Aaron Quinnell and I am lucky enough to be the Assistant Principal Curriculum and Instruction at Biraban Public School. I grew up in Newcastle and attended Plattsburg Public School and Wallsend High. I graduated from Central Queensland University in 2002 and have taught in a range of settings. My teaching career began in Bourke and Wanaaring (western NSW) before moving back to Lake Macquarie. I have held a range of school leadership positions at Toronto PS, Stockton PS, Blacksmiths PS and Cooranbong PS.  More recently I was the Instructional Leader at Boolaroo and Argenton Public Schools.  

I enjoy spending time with my family. I have 4 boys; Dylan, Daniel, Angus and Henry. You’ll find us most weekends playing footy, cricket, tennis, camping or wrestling a dog or two (Molly and Denver). It is such a pleasure to be teaching at Biraban Public School with such a committed, professional and welcoming staff and community


Amanda Gregory

Assistant Principal and Instruction  

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.

Miss Caren Buckley - School Admin Manager

Support Staff:

Aboriginal Learning and Support Teachers - Community and Culture: Mr Matthew Simon 

Student Learning and Support Officers (SLSO): Nova Sarkata,  Jane Soorley, Sandra Millard, Joshua French, Cohen Patterson, Hollie Eddon, Jessica Cavanagh, Oscar Shearman

Administration Staff

Senior Administration Manager: Miss Caren Buckley

Senior Administration Officer: Mrs Chris Jordison 

Para Professional Student Learning Support Officer: Mrs Janelle Heaven

General Assistant: Bernie Taylor, Jeff O'Connor

School Counsellor: Louise Pratt (Tuesday)

Assistant Principal Learning and Support: Diane Burns

Home School Liasion Officer: Ann-Maree Day