Meet the Team

Welcome to St Joseph’s, Orakei Catholic School, where our mission is to be a place of learning where everyone grows towards their full potential in a Catholic environment.

Sue Bennett


I have a strong connection with St Joseph’s having taught year 5/6 here as Deputy Principal, and recently DRS, since 2008. I was drawn to this Catholic School for the sense of close community that exists between the students, teachers, and whanau. I am enriched by the diverse cultures represented in our school. The people here combined with the open spaces and beautiful natural surroundings, make coming here every day an absolute pleasure and delight. Being a Principal for St Joseph’s is an honour and a privilege, I am looking forward to leading this wonderful school into the future.

Bridget Casse

Assistant Principal SeNCo

Kia ora to all our current and future St Joseph’s whanau! I am Bridget Casse and I have been teaching in Auckland since 2003. Most recently, I was Assistant Principal at a very large school of almost 700 students and I am very much enjoying being part of our smaller, more intimate community. I am mum to Phoenix who is 10 years old and partner to Byron (who is also a teacher).

Teaching, learning and education has always been my calling and I thoroughly enjoy the challenges and delights this career presents me with daily. I live very close to St Joseph’s, and in fact grew up in the street I now live in so I am very conscious of the unique environment we are blessed to enjoy. I am passionate about teaching our children the value of nurturing and caring for our environment. I am also very enthusiastic about children having fun with, and being active participants in their learning.

It has been wonderful getting to know our St Joseph’s family and I am looking forward to sharing exciting learning journeys with our tamariki.

Carol Trotter

Classroom Teacher – Room 6, Year 4&5

I think life is fun and children are fantastic. I love discovering their personalities and their uniqueness. I believe relationships are key to successful teaching and learning and I love to empower students in their education so they realise that they are capable learners. I love being there when they are delighted with what they have discovered for themselves. Students develop so many new skills as they transition from Year 3 into studying at the senior end of the school. I enjoy seeing their independence and their sense of self evolve as they realise they can have opinions and they can think, adapt, negotiate, problem solve, make decisions, and learn, learn, learn.

My previous experience is classroom teaching in Christchurch across the year levels (particularly Years 2-6). I have Reading Recovery training and have led a Fostering Strengths programme that has helped develop and grow individual learners.

Recently I took a break from teaching to serve in the church in various roles from parish administrator to national resource person for the Anglican Schools’ Office. I have been involved in organising national conferences and developing the RE curriculum for Anglican primary schools.

I love developing an opportunity for children to think about themselves, their relationship with others and with God.

I moved to Auckland with handsome hubby Phil in 2018 to pursue study at St John’s Theological College. Our move here has the wonderful bonus of being close to our eldest son and only daughter, and their spouses, with our three beautiful mokopuna. Family and teaching are my passion and I was drawn to teach at St Joseph’s School because of this. St Joseph’s School puts the children at the centre of all we do. And in partnership with parents we ensure an environment of rich learning.

Mary Pithey

Classroom Teacher – Year 1&2

My name is Mary Pithey and I am very excited to be joining the wonderful Saint Joseph’s School and community here in Orakei. I have moved up to Auckland from Christchurch with my husband, Richard and son Ryan. We have been here for two years and love the beaches, warm weather and the friendly people in our neighbourhood.

I have taught in both the junior and senior areas of primary school for nearly twenty years both here and overseas. I have a special interest in how boys and girls  learn differently and believe that “physical literacy” is just as important as reading, writing and mathematics. I also incorporate art and drama in my daily teaching. My other interests are in ICT and I am currently completing a Postgraduate certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning. I am so looking forward to continuing my learning journey at St Joseph’s School and helping the students be the best they can be!

Christine Chauca

Classroom Teacher

My name is Christine Chauca (say Chow-ka) and I am delighted to be teaching Room 7 at St Joseph’s Catholic School.

I have taught mainly in Catholic Schools since I began teaching over 35 years ago. I have been in senior management positions both as a DRS and Deputy Principal. About 18 years ago I left teaching to work with my husband, who I met while travelling in Peru, which is where he was from, hence my unusual surname. Sadly he passed away unexpectedly in 2003, so I returned to the classroom for my second life as a teacher.

In more recent years I have been doing a mixture of day and long term relieving, along with classroom release for teachers, in a few schools, including St Joseph’s. This has enabled me to spend more time with my family, including my grandchildren who joined the school this year.

I am happy to be back as a classroom teacher at St Joseph’s and look forward to getting to know the school community more closely.

Whaea Deb

Teacher Aid / Support Staff

Shirley-Ann McCrystal

Teacher Aid

I am delighted to work as a Teacher Aide in the classroom and to look after the Library at St Joseph’s. I qualified as a teacher and have been a Teacher/Librarian for 27 years. I spent 10 years at Dilworth School as the Librarian.

I have three adult sons, two are in the medical profession and one is a freelance writer. I am the proud grandmother of ten grandchildren. Widowed in 1991, I have since married Bruce, a yachtsman and we enjoy sailing, cruising and racing aboard Paramour our 36- foot Lidgard modern classic yacht.

Angela Babich

School Secretary

I have been working at St Joseph’s for three year’s now and I just love the children, the parents and the special community that we have here. It’s a lovely school to work at and the Catholic Character that is instilled in our children shows in their kindness, empathy and compassion. Every day here brings something different and the children never cease to amaze me. It is wonderful being part of such a great community.

Seti Kigitama

Meet our Board of Trustees