We have an amazing team here at Russell Street school who are 100% committed to making every learner reach their potential! Meet them all below.

Teaching Staff


B.Ed / Dip.Teaching

I am extremely privileged to be back teaching again full-time at RSS. I zipped off for a while to have my own lovely children and now love being part of the team again here. I am thoroughly enjoying teaching an energetic, talented group of Year 1 children in Waka Huia. Their passion for learning never ceases to amaze me – they make my day every day with their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I have strengths across the curriculum with a strong focus on literacy, numeracy, and health and well-being. Feel welcome any time to come and visit, pop in, view and comment on our class blog or email. I am currently acting as the Transition to School Coordinator.

Email Nicole


B.Ed. / Dip. Tchg

Kia ora koutou

My name is Bianca Caske and I spent the first 16 of my teaching career in Wellington where I grew up. I was fortunate to relieve and RSS when my family and I first moved to Palmerston North and grab the opportunity to make that a more permanent placement. I have been lucky enough to teach a wide range of year groups within primary schools and I love each one for their own special phase in that child’s stage of learning. RSS is rich in our Māori culture and I love learning and developing this knowledge further alongside our tamariki. This year I have the exciting opportunity to teach a class of year 1 students alongside Nicole. I will encourage them to see that learning does not just happen in the classroom.

Email Bianca


Dip.Tchg (Primary); B.Ed

Kia ora, I am Carolyn. I have been fortunate to be a part of this wonderful community since 2008. This year I will open our second new entrant class, in Waka Huia. Journeying with the five-year-olds and their families as they begin their schooling is a joy and a privilege. I also have the opportunity to spend time with many other students at RSS, as I relieve in the school and lead an annual art extension project while I wait for my class to open. One of my favourite parts of school life is our buddy-class system; the children here really look out for one another. My teaching passions are the arts and literacy and I am currently immersing myself in researching the benefits of play-based learning. Learning is lifelong, after all. I look forward to meeting you!

Email Carolyn


B.A. / GradDipTchg(ECE) / MTchgLn(Primary)

Ko Tararua te maunga
Ko Hokio te awa
Ko Kurahaupō te waka
Ko Kohuturoa me Kawiu ngā marae
Ko Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Pariri me Ngāti Tamarangi ngā hapū
Ko Muaūpoko me Ngāti Apa ngā iwi
Ko Lucy Marshall ahau

Tēnā koutou e te whānau. I spent my primary school years at this amazing kura and feel so lucky to now be back as a kaiako. I started my career in Early Childhood Education where I developed a love of building relationships with all tamariki and their whānau. I’m also passionate about Te Ao Māori, pursuing children’s interests, our beautiful RSS values, and having fun while we learn! This year you will find me working alongside the amazing tamariki in Nīkau (Room 3). I’m always up for a kōrero so feel free to visit our class for a chat. Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia o tātou mahi – Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.

Email Lucy


Tori will be joining us in 2022 and teaching in Room 4.

Email Tori


Paige will be joining us in 2022 and teaching across Poutokomanawa.

Email Paige



B Ed / Dip. Education Studies

Kia ora, I am Samantha Leighton. This year, I’m teaching year 2/3 children in room 4. I am released every Tuesday where Hannah teaches our class because I am the school’s SENCO (special educational needs coordinator). I have been part of the Russell Street School whānau for 4 years. I have been teaching since 2012 and am passionate about making a difference in children’s learning. I love learning alongside the children, whānau and teachers. I feel strongly about integrating real life contexts into our learning to make it the most meaningful and relevant for the children.  A bit about me – I live with my husband Drew, my daughter Jaida and my two dogs, Bella and Loki. I have a love of all animals and have decided to dabble in teaching myself how to crochet.

Email Samantha


B.Mlsc / MTchgLn(Primary)
Kia Ora, I am Matt Budd and I feel extremely privileged to be able to join the Russell Street team and the wider whānau. This is my first year at Russell Street but I have been made to feel extremely welcome by both staff and students alike. I have previously been teaching at a Year 7&8 level at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School. This year I am teaching in Room 5 or Ruru. I am excited to be able to take the ākonga in Ruru on a journey to discover their passions and find out more about who they are as people and how they can help develop a wonderful culture of learning in our kura. I have a background in science and have 14 years of experience working in a medical laboratory so I am very passionate about teaching science and inspiring a new generation of forward thinkers, which in our current climate is proving to be crucial. I believe that teaching students to be curious about the world they live in enables them to become critical thinkers who seek out innovation in their own lives. Through fostering strong positive relationships with students I strive to build their confidence in their own abilities and see that they can achieve greatness. My door is always open so feel free to come and see me and have a chat.

Email Matt


B.A. / Grad Dip.Tchg / PSTF Alumnus Award 2012 / ACET 2014 / Fulbright DAI award 2021

Hi, I’m Joy Kitt. My class and I learn to notice things in detail. Becoming accomplished explorers and explainers of the events and artefacts we see and learn about gives us the opportunity to develop our science skills, gives us rich literacy experiences and opens our eyes to the everyday wonders in the world around us. We are also keen to discover ourselves and what kind of learners we are. Once we know that the sky is the limit.

Email Joy


B.A. / Dip.Tchg 

Hi, I am Robin Baker and I teach with Sandi Baldwin in Room 7, also known as Tohoranui. Sandi and I have been job sharing at Russell Street School for many years, primarily at the New Entrant level. My three children have attended this school. Teaching literacy is my passion and I particularly enjoy helping children to express themselves through story writing. I teach the literacy programme between 9 am and 11.50 am everyday. This year we are teaching a class of Year 1/2 learners.

Email Robin


B.A. / Dip.Tchg

I teach Year 1/2, job sharing with Robin Baker in Room 7. I also teach English as a second language. I am a mother of three children and grandmother of two. My children all went to Russell Street School. I like to cycle, walk, read and I am learning Te Reo at Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Having taught at this school for 20 years I have seen many changes including the introduction of ICT, agency and the emphasis on how to learn, rather than just acquiring knowledge. I believe every child is gifted in some way and my aim is to develop self confidence in my students.

Email Sandi



B.Ed. / ACET

Kia Ora, I’m Brenda and this year I am teaching Tīrama Whetū in Room 8. I have always loved teaching and since becoming a mum, I have a new appreciation of how special our jobs are as teachers. I am passionate about students being curious about their world. I enjoy helping students to develop their self-belief and wairua. With this confidence to take risks, students are able to give new learning a go. He iti te hau marangai, E tū te Pāhokahoka. Just like a rainbow after the storm, success follows failure.

B.Sc. / Dip.Tchg
Hi, I’m Kerri and I teach in Tautoru or Room 9.  I am looking forward to learning with a fabulous bunch of Year 3/4 students as we explore agency (making choices to drive our own learning) and bring the school values to life. I love working in the RSS community where we all work together, supporting and encouraging each other to learn, grow and become better citizens. Feel free to come and take a look at the learning happening in our class and take a look on our class Seesaw.

Email Kerri


Dip. Tchg

Kia ora, I’m Trent and I teach in Rākaunui (Room 10) alongside Year 4/5 learners. I was fortunate enough to complete my final practicum at this amazing kura last year, and even more fortunate to begin my teaching journey here in 2021. I am passionate about creating strong relationships with our ākonga and their whānau, which will help build confidence and a sense of belonging in our space. I am also passionate about fostering an environment where they have the agency and independence to explore their passions and spark their interest in learning in fun and engaging ways. I absolutely love the Russell Street School community and look forward to working alongside everyone this year. As always, feel free to drop into Rākaunui anytime for a kōrero and see our learning.

Email Trent


B.Ed. / Dip. Tchg

Kia Ora koutou. You can find me learning alongside the amazing tamariki in Te Pakoko and also in collaboration with Rosie with Te Korowai and Eileen with Te Whariki all in Poutokomanawa. I am passionate about creating learning environments that encourage children to be confident and courageous learners with a ‘can do’ attitude. Offering opportunities for children to explore their passions and a love for learning while developing positive social skills and self management is what I aim for in my teaching and learning space. Come in and join us anytime.

Email Ebony

Ko Mangere te maunga,
Ko Manukau te awa,
Ko ‘Boeing 747’ te waka rererangi,
Ko Tan te whānau,
Ko Fulian tōku tipuna,
Ko Ping raua ko Yary ōku mātua,
Ko Michael taku tāne,
Ko Benjamin rātou ko Isabelle, ko Lucas aku tamariki,
Ko Eileen taku ignoa.
I joined the Russell Street whānau in 2015 and upon my very first interaction at the school, I knew this was a place I would come to love. I have a passion for Te Ao Māori and also about encouraging the children to explore and appreciate the diversity of culture we are surrounded by. Throughout my teaching career, starting in 2007, one of my favourite parts of ‘the job’ is that I get the opportunity to get to know these precious tamariki and guide them into fulfilling their potential – not only in their learning but also in their social and emotional lives as well. I am in my third year of teaching in Poutokomanawa and thoroughly enjoy working alongside Rosie, Ebony and Whaea Metarina. Feel free to come and have a kōrero, the door is always open!

Email Eileen


Tēnā koutou! I am the Learning Support Coordinator and feel very privileged to be part of such a dedicated team of teachers and staff. The best part about my job is that I get to work alongside teachers, students and whānau from across the school in a supportive capacity. As well as ‘living my dream’ of being a teacher for the past 15 plus years, I also enjoy time with my family, friends, a large dog and a very fluffy cat.  I am mum to a daughter who is now at University and a step-mother to a son at College. ​You can find me in the office area if you would like to pop in and say hi.

Email Lisa


B.Sc / PhD / Grad.Dip Tchg

Hi, I am John Smith and this year I wear two hats, I take students for our GATE programme as well as I am the MST (Maths Specialist Teacher) working in Years 3-6. Previously, I spent 20 years with Fonterra as a scientist and manager. Prior to that I lived in Canada – first in Edmonton and then in Montreal – studying chemistry. I enjoy watching and participating in sport and try to spend time every day either running or swimming. Together with my family – my incredible wife, Philippa, and my four beautiful daughters (all ex-Russell Streeters) – I aim to one day complete all of the Great Walks in New Zealand. I love to read and have a particular interest in history and current events. Perhaps not surprisingly, I also have a passion for maths, and science and enjoy sharing these passions in the classroom. At times I even turn my hand to a little acting! Mwah ha ha ha ha.

Email John


Victoria teaches for one and a half days each week in Waka Huia releasing Nicole.

Email Victoria


Assistant Principal

B.Tchg/Lng / Post Grad Dip. Ed (Māori Education)

Ko Hikurangi te maunga, Ko Waiapu te awa, Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi, Ko Rosie taku ingoa, Tēnā koutou katoa. I have loved teaching at Russell Street School for several years and I am the Assistant Principal. I am currently teaching collaboratively in Poutokomanawa with Ebony and Eileen. I predominately teach the Year 5/6 tamariki in our space, however I get to work with a range of tamariki from Yr2 – 6 everyday. I am passionate about Te Reo Maori me ōna tikanga, Kapa Haka, RSS values, high expectations, being creative, digital learning, thinking skills and instilling self-belief in the akonga I am teaching. I place an emphasis on the essence and importance of teamwork – tuakana/teina. This promotes a culture of learning, a culture of community – where individuals contribute their strengths for the benefit of us all. He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Nā reira, piki mai, kake mai ki te awhi, me te manaaki i ngā tamariki o ‘Poutokomanawa’.

Email Rosie


Deputy Principal



M. Ed / PG Dip Ed / B.Ed  / Dip. Tchg

Tēnā koutou katoa. I am honoured to be the principal at Russell Street. The school has a special place in my educational career; I started teaching here 25 years ago as a beginning teacher, both my wife Lynley and I taught here together, and I returned here as DP after teaching overseas. To come back as the principal has always been an aspiration of mine and now that goal has become a reality. I am committed to and excited by the challenge that lies ahead building on the great reputation that the school continues to have. I am always interested in your thoughts on how we can make Russell St an even better place for our learners, please do not hesitate to get in touch to share your thoughts. Ngā mihi nui.

Email Nick


Support Staff


Office A-Team

Email the Office


Office A-Team

Email the Office



B.Ed, Dip.Tchg

I have the amazing job of connecting the children, staff and families here at RSS with books! With over 8000 books in the Jean Wilkinson Library Hub we are sure to have a book for everyone. Most days I can be found in the Library after school and everyone is welcome to come in and browse our collection. Come and talk to me about what you would like to read! You can also visit our library online at http://nz.accessit.online/RSSS.

Email Rebecca


Teaching Assistant

Email Helen


Teaching Assistant & Library Assistant

Email Hannah


Teaching Assistant

Teachers’ Aide Certificate

Email Lorraine

Whaea Metarina

Kaumatua/Cultural Advisor

Email Metarina



Teaching Assistant

Email Amber


Teaching Assistant

Email Lisa


Teaching Assistant

Email Nicky