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There are plenty of amazing teachers in the Cairns area, but here we highlight some terrific teachers of the month.

Terrific Teachers 

Kelly Evans

St Michael’s School, Gordonvale

“I was born and bred in Gordonvale. When I was a student, I was pretty quiet and didn’t speak too much, but I really enjoyed school. I always wanted to work with children. I love working in the education industry and I love the lightbulb moments when students finally understand something.

I currently teach grade 3, but I have been teaching for seven years. Some of my favourite memories are from the book week parades when we get to dress up. Since we’re going into reporting time now, a song that represents my life at the moment is Under Pressure by Queen.”

Shaneen Mason 

St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch

“As a student, I did all the arts subjects. I was quiet but driven and had my eye on the prize; to study a Creative Arts degree. I became a teacher because I thought it would be a job where I could be creative every day, work positively with students and instil them with performing skills and confidence.

As for funny memories, there are too many to name just one. When you work in an intimate environment like the Drama and Dance classroom, you are able to build a strong rapport with the students, so there are lost of funny moments and one liners said in the moment of spontaneity.”


Dean Garbellotto

Freshwater Christian College

“I get great enjoyment and am passionate about equipping students to reach their full potential and become all that they can be. Educating, guiding, nurturing and journeying alongside the next generation I find is very fulfilling.

My funniest memory was when I was teaching Grade 3 and a student’s tooth fell out. I told him to go wash his mouth out with water, and he returned with the front of his shirt totally drenched. I asked him if he washed his mouth or took a shower, and later that day, his mum said the same thing happens when he ‘brushes his teeth’ at night.”

Hayley Leonardi 

Good Counsel College, Innisfail

“After working as a Teacher’s Aide in Learning Support for seven years I went on to become a Youth Support Coordinator and worked across four different schools. I decided that I could make more of an impact as a teacher so I completed my GDTL at the grand old age of 45. I have always loved working with youth so it was just a natural progression. My favourite subjects to teach are Humanities and Study of Religion.

One of my funniest memories is being asked how to spell KFC, but every day brings with it a laugh.”

Andrieka Knight 

St Joseph’s School, Weipa

“I never thought that I would be a teacher, but when I was provided with the opportunity to study at Notre Dame, it was just too wonderful an opportunity to pass up. This is where my journey started to become a passionate teacher, especially in the early childhood area. I have been teaching since 2012, all around Australia in different year levels.

I like teaching English to the younger years. It is so amazing to see their growth over the years. It is the little light bulbs that go on in their little heads when they start reading or writing. It’s pretty special.”

Kate Kilpatrick 

St Teresa’s School, Ravenshoe

“During my first degree, I developed a passion to teach children. I know what it’s like to be in the ‘learning pit’ and struggle, while also knowing what it’s like to have supportive mentors and teachers. My current theme song in life is Castles by Freya Ridings. Whatever comes my way, I’m going to build castles out of it!

I’ve been teaching for almost a year, and I think my favourite subject to teach at the moment is Maths. I love it, and my students love it too. I think the funniest memories so far is the amount of times the students call me Mum.”

Kristie Henderson

St Teresa’s School, Ravenshoe

“When I was younger, I was a very quiet and shy student going to school. I became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of as many children as I can. I love working with children and I enjoy looking back on their growth over the year. I’ve now been teaching for four years and I love teaching science; you can have so much fun!

It makes me laugh when the children call you mum, and then you see the shock on their face when they have realised what they just said.”

Emma Ryan 

St Joseph’s School, Parramatta Park

“I became a teacher because I was inspired by a drama teacher at school who had a very positive impact on my life. I hoped I could do the same for others, and I’ve now been teaching for 10 years.

One of my funniest memories was at the end of my first year of teaching. I surveyed my class to get some feedback, and asked them “What do you think Miss Ryan’s least favourite subject to teach is?” and one student’s reply was “Maths is her least favourite subject because she is not very good at it.”