Amesbury School

Creating life-long learners

Our Team

Lesley MurrihyAngela JohnstonUrs CunninghamDemelza Murrihy ToppHelene RobinsonErica MeadsCrisanna NelFiona White

Lesley Murrihy - Principal. Lesley is an experienced leader of teaching and learning, with a Doctorate in Education. She was formerly Principal of Manunui School in Taumarunui and has a wealth of experience in developing 21st Century learning environments with flexible structures that enable personalised learning programmes to meet the needs of students.

Although she has been living in Taumarunui for many years Lesley is no stranger to Wellington, having graduated with  Bachelors and Masters degrees from Victoria University. She also completed her teacher training at Wellington Teachers College.

Angela Johnston - Associate Principal
Angela was the Assistant Principal at Bellevue School in Newlands for seven years before coming to Amesbury School. She led Literacy and Numeracy in the Junior area of the school, and brings effective and current methods of developing authentic integration of ICT in classroom programmes and helping others to do the same. Angela is passionate about Literacy, in particular reading, and is skilled with collecting, collating, analysing and interpreting data to diagnose next learning steps for students.

Ursula Cunningham - Associate Principal
Urs was an Associate Principal in a large Wellington School for five years prior to joining the Amesbury team. Like Angela, Urs has a personal passion for Literacy and is particularly skilled at teaching the building blocks of reading and writing. She has had significant experience in team teaching approaches and personalising learning.

Michael Young: Michael came to us with experience in early childhood. He works in our junior area. As an artist, Michael brings a strong creative background and a strong interest in developing children’s creativity. Michael has worked for a number of years painting sets for TV and film in both Auckland and Wellington. He has strong input in developing a learning environment which encourages the development of children’s creativity.

Matt Ives: Matt came to Amesbury School from Palmerston North, though he has taught English as a second language for a number of years in Taiwan and South Korea. Matt received the strongest possible recommendations from his College Appraisers and his associate teachers. He has a strong background in drama and languages, is able to speak basic Mandarin, plays the guitar and is a keen sportsperson. 

Lisa Bengtsson: Lisa is currently on maternity leave and will return to Amesbury in Term 3 to work in Harakeke Hub (Year 3-6).  She is a highly respected local teacher who knows the Churton Park community. She was the ICT lead in her previous school and was involved in implementing significant changes to the delivery of ICT. Lisa is strong in personalizing learning and providing differentiated teaching and learning programmes. She is passionate about giving students “voice” in their learning and allowing them to drive learning activities. She effectively shifts achievement in maths and literacy. 

Demelza Topp: Demelza has strong experience in working in a 21st Century Learning environment. She is experienced in organizing learning in a variety of ways and using flexible learning spaces, as well as planning and teaching collaboratively. She is our Maths lead teacher and has high levels of curriculum knowledge.  She uses this effectively to shift learning – particularly in maths. Demelza is an experienced athlete, having represented NZ at world championship level on a number of occasions. She also has an interest in soccer.

Amaria Picard: Amaria previously taught at a primary school in Newlands for a number of years, and is also a member of the local Churton Park community. Amaria is working with students in Harakeke Hub (Year 3- 6). 

Andrea Smith: Andrea joined the Amesbury Team in 2013 after teaching in the UK for nearly five years. She was a lead teacher in Health and Social Well-being, Student Leadership and School Council. Before leaving for England, Andrea worked at Pauatahauni School were she was responsible for Sports, ICT, developing the school inquiry model and Team Leader for the Year 5 to Year 8 hub. Andrea is passionate about developing student voice and developing confident, independent learners. She is one of the team members of the Harakeke Teaching Team (Year 3-6).

Helene Robinson: Helene has been teaching for many years and for the last six years was HOD Year 5/6  at KingsWay School in Auckland. In the past two years she has been involved in moving Kingsway Primary to a new modern 21st learning building. This has involved opportunities to visit schools around New Zealand and one of those schools being Amesbury itself. Over her teaching experience her portfolios have involved lead teaching in literacy, numeracy, arts and netball. Last year involved a huge shift in her technology into the classroom involving a chance to go to many workshops to help in this area. To join the team at Amesbury is definitely a highlight in her career as this style of teaching opens so many opportunities for students in the future and one she strongly believes in.

Erica Meads: Erica is an experienced junior teacher who has taught in schools in Feilding, Wellington and the UK. She has a particular interest in the teaching of literacy in the early years. Erica has a passion for dance and drama and enjoys working with students to put together productions.

Crisanna Nel: Crisanna is an experienced primary teacher who has taught in Japan, the UK and New Zealand. She has a passion for Te Reo Māori me ōna Tikanga and, since having her young whanau, has become a specialist teacher in this area.

Fiona White: Fiona has been teaching for over 20 years, mostly in the Wellington region.  She taught at Amesbury fulltime in 2012-2013, and currently works part-time teaching photography as part of Thursday specialist rotations. 

Julia Avia: Julia is our specialist music teacher who takes group lessons on Thursdays and Fridays.

Merrick Keenan: Merrick has a strong background in coaching having worked for a number of years as a football coach. This is his second year at Amesbury. Merrick particularly enjoys helping students both to develop individual skills and work together as a team.

Gail Greenslade - School Administrator: Gail has 12 years administration experience in the education sector, and a further 20 years administrative experience in the corporate sector in England, France and Belgium.  She moved to New Zealand in 2008 with her husband and two daughters, and loves working in the primary school environment and being a part of the school community.