St Patrick's School


Amherst St
Katanning WA 6317
T: (08) 9821 2281
F: (08) 9821 4281


St Patrick's School


Our Staff

Mr Chris Smith – Principal

My name is Christopher Smith and I am the Principal at St Patricks Katanning.

I have been in Catholic Education for 27 years starting my career as a Physical Education teacher at St Kieran Primary School. I am married to Natalie, a very clever Early Childhood Educator and together we have four gorgeous children Xavier, Noelle, Sebastian and Evangeline, 3 of whom currently attend St Patricks. In the past I have worked as an Assistant Principal in St Gerard’s Majella, Our Lady of Grace, St Dominic’s and Our Lady of Mercy Primary School in Perth. Moving to the country has been a wonderful experience for our family, opening our world up to new adventures and experiences.

I am very passionate about education and meeting the needs of students in the classroom. I have a particular interest in the Social and Emotional development of the students in my school and making sure that they feel supported through their journey here. I strive to help my teachers be the best they can be, fostering best teaching practice, with the child at the heart of all we do. I love to be fit and active and enjoy playing tennis, golf and cricket. To relax, you will find me down at the beach fishing or spending time with my family. I am really blessed to be at St Patrick’s Katanning and to be part of such a wonderful community.


Mrs Debra Bearcroft – Assistant Principal

My name is Debra Bearcroft. I have been involved in Catholic education in Western Australia both as a parent and educator for over 20 years. Originally born in London my family immigrated to Australia when I was nine years old. I am a proud Mum of twin 21 year olds. My daughter is a graduate teacher and my son is studying Sports Science at UWA.

My educational philosophy is aligned with the holistic approach to learning. That is, a child’s mind, body and spirit must be nurtured in the teaching and learning process. I have taught all ages and subjects and have had the privilege of preparing students for all three Sacraments, which include Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation.

I am a qualified teacher of Dance. I love teaching Drama, Dance, Music and Visual Arts. I have worked as a Performing Arts specialist teacher for a number of years and have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on The Catholic Arts Committee as Discipline Head of Dance. I am excited about the possibility of nurturing the creative gifts and talents of the students at St Patrick’s.

I am looking forward to exploring Katanning and getting to know all the students and their families. I am so excited to be joining the community at St Patrick’s. Please come and say “Hi”.

“ Creativity is intelligence having fun “ – Albert Einstein


Mrs Helen Robinson – Administration Officer

I was born and raised in Katanning/Broomehill – growing up on a family farm and completing my primary school education in Broomehill. After completing my high schooling in Katanning, the big lights of the city called, but could not stay away and moved back after my daughters where born. Before I started working at St Patrick’s in 2012 part time as an Administrative Officer, I was working for a local business that supplied agribusiness products but was looking for a new challenge. I enjoy all the various aspects of my roll from administrative matters, student welfare and to attempting to keep the staff room kitchen clean! When not at work , I enjoy relaxing, gardening, being outdoors and spending time with my husband Grant and 2 daughters Makayla and Georgia.


Mrs Emily Holmes – Year 6 Teacher

I was born in Katanning and attended St Patrick’s for all my primary schooling. In Year Seven, I was elected to the McLeod Faction captain position. I then completed my secondary schooling at Katanning Senior High School before going onto Notre Dame University to study a Bachelor of Education degree in Fremantle. I returned home to complete my internship at St Patrick’s before being offered a position to commence teaching Year Six.
My personal interests include HOLIDAYING, going to the beach, jet skiing, shopping, reading, walking with my dog, fishing, snorkelling, swimming and now snow skiing after my trip to Switzerland in January 2016. I have recently travelled to New York City with my husband Josh and saw the 2016 New Years Eve glass ball drop from the middle of Times Square, which was amazing!
We are privileged to have wonderful students who are eager to learn, supportive parents and truly dedicated staff here at St Patrick’s.


Ms Carly Vartesi

I moved to Katanning from Perth for my first teaching job in 2011. Before completing my Early Childhood Teaching Degree, I studied Japanese at university, which included a one year exchange to Kobe, Japan. 
Since moving to Katanning, I have taken up hockey and squash, two sports I knew absolutely nothing about until living here!
I love to cook, drink far too much tea, and am not to be trusted in a bookstore with a credit card.


Mrs Nadine Rundle- Year 2 Teacher

I have lived in Katanning for the past 20 years, marrying a local farmer, and raising our 3 children. During this time, I have worked in all three of the primary schools in our town, as well as the Katanning Community Kindergarten. For the past 7 years I have been teaching at St Patricks, and currently teach the Year 2 Class. I have worked in Early Childhood settings for many years, and have a keen interest in this area. I am currently undertaking study to further my knowledge of this important stage in a Child’s development.


Mrs Nerida Campbell – Year 1 Teacher

I moved to Katanning in 2001 as an intern at Woodanilling Primary School, after completing an exchange teacher programme in Maritius. I finished my Bachelor of Education Early Childhood Studies while completing my internship and met my now husband Jason Campbell. After having our two beautiful children Montanna and Chace I bought and managed the Bright Start Childcare Centre for seven years. During this time I was able to further my studies in Early Childhood Education and was fortunate enough to win the WA and Australian Childcare Director of the Year in 2010. After winning this award I realised that teaching was my real passion, and I was fortunate enough to gain a position at St Patricks. It is my goal to make sure each child I teach is treated with care, respect and all their individual needs and abilities are catered for. I am very passionate about Early Childhood and working at St Patricks has given me the opportunity to fulfil my passion.


Miss Lauren Courtney – Kindergarten Teacher

My name is Lauren Courtney and I am excited to become part of the St Patricks School community teaching Kindergarten this year. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and will bring passion and enthusiasm for teaching young children into my classroom. I enjoy swimming and netball and have a love of all animals. I aim to create an engaging and multisensory classroom for children to explore, discover and stimulate their curiosity and exploration into their interests. I am looking forward to the year ahead and immersing myself into the Katanning community.


Miss Emma Ackland- PE/ICT/ Lit-Maths Support

Hello, my name is Emma Ackland and I have a passion for sport, physical activity and working with children of all ages. I love living a happy and healthy lifestyle through playing netball, attending yoga and Pilates, as well as riding my bike wherever I can. I have lived 5 minutes from the beach for most of my life and enjoy swimming, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding. My other interests include reading, sewing, photography and listening to a range of music genres. I have recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor of Health and Physical Education. During my degree I was awarded the Health Sciences Dean’s Award and first class honours for my undergraduate thesis on social inclusion within Integrated Football. I value all of the students that enter my classroom as I aim to create a fun, engaging and inclusive learning environment. I look forward to meeting all my new students and being involved in the community.


Mrs Julie Poett- Education Assistant Special Needs

I have worked at St Patrick’s School as a Teacher Assistant for the past 8 years and I love my work, and the challenges that my work brings every day. It is very rewarding to work with the children knowing that I am able to make a difference in some small way, even if it is only saying “Hello” or “Good Morning”. My work in the special needs area I find very challenging and enjoyable, it has been a huge learning curve. 
I have had a long association with St Patrick’s school as all my children went to St Patrick’s. I was actively involved in the school with Board, P&F, and canteen. I have always been biased about St Patrick’s being the best school! 
The loves of my life: Are my family, especially my 4 beautiful grandchildren, my faith, work, reading, swimming, gardening, sport and the children’s beautiful smiles, even when they “Ask are you getting old”!!


Mrs Paulette Sugg – Education Assistant / 
GECKOS Aboriginal Co-ordinator

Hi my name is Paulette Sugg and I am a Teacher Assistant at St Patrick’s School. I have a strong passion and connection towards St Patrick’s school through my work and also because it is where my siblings, children and I, completed our primary school years. I commenced at the school in 2002 as the Administrative Assistant and in 2013 after further studies, I started working as a Teaching Assistant fulltime. I love working with the staff and students at our school providing support in the classrooms, and am constantly striving to be the best at what I do, to meet the needs of all our children.


Mrs Steph Pontillo – Education Assistant Pre-Primary

After a long association with the St Patrick’s community through our children’s education, I joined the school as a staff member in 2009. I have worked in the Pre- Primary and Kindergarten classes. I am married (to Domenic), with three children (Cassidy, Regan and Jacinda).
What thrills me: Family, Gardening, Footy (West Coast Eagles), baking (and eating…),and my job,( of course!)
What chills me: shopping trolleys abandoned in supermarket car parking bays because people can’t be bothered walking the 20 paces to the trolley bay! Grrrr!
My wish list: Finish house renovations, holiday in Mauritius, have more than $10 in the bank (these are in the wrong order, I think!)


Mrs Keira-Jane Willey – Education Assistant Kindergarten

I came to Katanning from New Zealand when I was six, and started my schooling at St Patricks with my 2 older brothers. I have always enjoyed working with small children, starting at the local day care centre for 6 years. My husband and I brought our own small motor business in 2000. After working at other local primary schools, I started at St Patrick’s kindergarten in 2012. I really enjoy working with small children, watching them learn, develop, and being able to assist with their learning. In my spare time I like to play sport ,swim, watch footy (Fremantle ) and ride my road and dirt bikes with my husband and my two kids, Ashlyn who lives with her daughter in Albany, and Declan who attends school in Albany.



St Patrick’s Catholic School in Katanning aims to emulate Jesus through its motto of CONCERN by engaging children, teachers, parents, community and the parish to work together in a supportive and happy environment.