Heads of Schools

Ms Fiona Cottam
Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal

Fiona is the Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal, appointed in 2018. Fiona comes to us with several years of senior leadership experience. This includes roles as Associate and Acting Principal at Botany Downs Secondary College and Deputy Principal at Epsom Girls Grammar School for eight years.

During a practicum at St Cuthbert’s in 1989 Fiona was quickly spotted as a talented History and English teacher and was appointed in 1990.  Fiona left St Cuthbert’s in 1995 to become the first full-time female classroom teacher at Auckland Grammar School, then went on to teach at Diocesan School for Girls where she was a Dean and Acting Head of Senior School. From there she broadened her teaching experience at Sacred Heart College and Epsom Girls Grammar. Fiona also did a stint teaching the Communications trainers for the New Zealand Police after the disappearance of Iraena Asher in 2004.

With broad experience in co-ed, single sex, state and independent schools, Fiona is well versed in all sectors and is passionate about educating girls. She believes that for girls to learn to the best of their ability, they must feel comfortable to test themselves in an environment that nurtures them and encourages challenge. Fiona’s interest in girls’ education as a precursor to women‘s leadership is evident in her participation as a foundational member of the committee for Women In Educational Leadership in New Zealand.

Fiona also believes that the continuous development of teachers through the constant review of what and how we teach, is essential to the ongoing improvement of outcomes for students.

Fiona loves baroque music and is an inaugural member of the Advisory Board for NZ Barok, New Zealand’s authentic baroque orchestra. Fiona is an active member of Auckland Land Search and Rescue. She is quite comfortable dangling from a helicopter, crawling through dense bush or searching suburban sections in the hope of bringing the lost person home to their family. Fiona is married to Kerry Atkinson, with a large family spanning four generations.

Ms Judi Paape
Acting Head of Middle School

As the Acting Head of our Middle School, Judi Paape will be a familiar face to many of you.  Judi has worked in senior roles within our school since March 2013 and brings to our school a wealth of knowledge, having previously held the position as Principal of Kristin’s Junior School for 11 years, as well being a teacher at King’s School.

Her responsibilities include leading and developing curriculum, reporting and assessment, staff professional development, budgeting, developing education outside the classroom programmes, and staffing in the Middle School. Together with Assistant Head, Sue Elgar, Judi also oversees the Middle School pastoral network, recognising the complexities and overlap of the pastoral and curriculum roles in the Middle School.

Ms Kerry Oldman
Head of Junior School

Kerry Oldman is the Head of Junior School and joined St Cuthbert’s in early 2019.  Kerry has had extensive international private school teaching and leadership experience, working at some of the UK’s top preparatory schools, most recently as the Assistant Head of The Study Preparatory School in Wimbledon, London.  She also taught at Thomas’s London Day Schools for 8 years, and at Eaton House Preparatory in London.

Kerry’s role at The Study involved overseeing the day to day running of the school, including taking a leadership role with staff professional development and pastoral care programmes; showing particular interest in the well-being of children in her care.  During her time at the school she oversaw the teaching and learning curriculum across all year levels, including successfully implementing the new National Curriculum.

In her role with Thomas’s London Day Schools, Kerry was the lead in many school initiatives across the four schools (Battersea, Kensington, Clapham, and Fulham), including international residential and academic monitoring programmes.  She was also the lead teacher for Year 4. Kerry played a strong role in pastoral care, the school’s charity work, and was the Head of Sustainability and Environment.

Kerry brings a wealth of deep experience within the independent sector, and she is a warm and caring person, who has a strong understanding of the wrap-around approach we have at St Cuthbert’s. She is passionate about children having experiences outside the classroom, which is an important part of preparing our girls to be confident and well-rounded young women.

Kerry grew up in New Zealand and gained a Bachelor of Education from the University of Waikato and is excited to be living back in New Zealand,  ‘I am thrilled to be home and am excited to be part of the St Cuthbert’s school ‘family’.  I am in awe of the exceptional education taking place in the Junior School and the obvious curiosity St Cuthbert’s girls have in their learning’.