While our facilities are world-class and our academic record unrivalled, it is our people who continue to help St Cuthbert’s girls become well-rounded, confident and amazing young women.
Our teachers and management team are talented and passionate about educating girls. Our school leaders are remarkable and inspiring. Our strategic direction is guided by the diverse skills and knowledge of our experienced Trust Board.
Ms Justine Mahon
Justine was appointed as Principal in 2018 after being the school’s Deputy Principal for 15 years.
Justine has been an integral part of both the leadership of St Cuthbert’s during this time and of the school’s consistent outstanding success – academically, culturally and in sport.
In her roles as Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School, Justine has led the development of the school’s strong pastoral framework which is fundamental to ensuring our girls have the resilience and skills to achieve their absolute potential.
Justine has also played a significant role in developing and mentoring our teachers, and in the strategic development of the school curriculum and programmes.
Justine brings a wealth of experience as an educator to the role of Principal, across the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors. Justine was previously a senior lecturer in education with the Auckland College of Education and is a leader in the development of strategies to ensure teachers are prepared for the classroom.
Justine has taught in schools in New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom where her teaching subjects were German, English, and Classics. She is a past member of the Executive of the New Zealand Language Teachers’ Association and, while Head of Languages at Birkenhead College, Justine was awarded a Goethe Institute Scholarship to study in Berlin. Prior to the reunification of Germany, Justine had worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the New Zealand Embassy in the then capital, Bonn, and later had a period as an actor and translator for a series for Cologne Television.
In her spare time, Justine enjoys anything to do with the arts, the written word or the sea. An Old Girl of St Cuthbert’s, she is married to Gregory Heap, and they have three children: Old Girl Celia Mahon-Heap, who is an architect currently based in Shanghai, and sons, William and Jonathan, who both qualified as lawyers and are working in London.
Justine has a Master of Arts (Hons) in German, a Bachelor of Arts in English and German, a Diploma of Teaching and a Post Graduate Diploma of Education majoring in Counselling.
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 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’.