Teaching Staff

Meet Our Team

Tracy Thorn


Principal, Te Rōpū Hautūtanga

Tena koutou katoa.

Ko Taranaki te Maunga

Ko Ngamotu te moana

Ko Tracy toku ingoa.

Ki to tatou tumuaki i tenei kura o Miritana.

Hi everyone!

I am Tracy and I feel very grateful to be the Principal of Milson School. 

I come from New Plymouth and although I have lived in Palmerston North for more years than New Plymouth, I still consider Taranaki my home.

It is a pretty special thing to follow your dreams, and when I was five, I had dreams of becoming a teacher. Glad to say those dreams came true.

I value relationships and creating those educationally powerful ones between our students, their whānau and school is something that I am hugely passionate about.

I’d like to say I like long walks along the beach – but I don’t, I hate the sand and the wind and can doggy paddle and that’s about it! I love cooking and baking and have a soft spot for raw mixture – shortbread would be my fav! I like walking my dog who has trained me to give him human food and pretty much is the boss of me!

My whole theory around school is simple - children (and families) need to be happy. Happy children will learn.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

What is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

It is the people, the people, the people.

Cass Kaiuha


Deputy Principal, Te Rōpu Hautūtanga

Room 11, Years 5/6

I am Cassandra Kaiuha,

My passion in Teaching lies within building strong connections with whānau and students. This is the part of my job I love the most. I also love Artwork, Mindfulness (Hauora), Sports and Maths.

I am married to Patrick. We have three very active boys - Cobe, Deacon and Quin. We love tramping, sports, movies and visiting places here in Aotearoa.

I look forward to working alongside you in 2023.

Kia Kaha

Kia Māia

Kia Manawanui 

Katrina Wood


Deputy Principal, Te Rōpū Hautūtanga

Room 6, Year 0/1

Kia ora, Talofa, Namaste, Hello

Ko Katrina tōku ingoa. 

I love mathematics! I love teaching mathematics as well as learning more about how to teach mathematics as effectively as possible. I am crazy about spreadsheets and anything that involves data! I am also passionate about building strong relationships with our students and their whānau.

I had the privilege of attending Milson School as a child, and I want every child that comes to our school to love their time at Milson School and know that they matter, can share their feelings and have a positive attitude towards learning.

I am a mum, and attempt to juggle all of the passions of our kids as well as making time to fill my own bucket - by studying, driving our open top cars or relaxing at home.

Teresa Wood



Learning Support Coordinator, Te Rōpū Hautūtanga

Kia ora koutou,

Ko Teresa tōku ingoa, and I am the Learning Support Coordinator (Kairuruku Tautoko Akoranga).  I have always had a passion for Learning Support and Special Education and have previously worked as classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, Specialist Teacher with ORS funded students and SENCO at a number of schools in the Palmerston North and surrounding area.  My role at Miritana is to work with teachers, students and whānau to find ways to adapt programmes for students who do not receive individualised funding, but who still need support. When we work as a team, we can achieve so much more. 

Ehara taku toa, i te toa takitahi, engari he toa, takitini - Our strength does not come from ourselves alone, our strength derives from the many.

I am originally from Hastings, and I still have most of my family in that area. I am married to Peter and we have 3 adult children. 

Billy Walker


Room 1, Year 2

Koru Team

Kia ora Tātou,

Ko Ruapehu te maunga,

Ko Aotea te awa,

Nō Whanganui ahau,

Ko Jenna taku wahine

Ko Billy tōku Ingoa,

Tēnā koutou e te whānau. I am very fortunate to call the Milson community my Whānau. This year you can find me learning alongside our Year 2 ākonga in Rūma 1. My passion for teaching was created by working closely with Milson students and staff which lead me to complete my teaching studies and become a teacher at this amazing kura. I am passionate about building a positive and safe learning environment where students have the opportunity to gain independence whilst engaging in activities that are fun yet challenging.  "Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia ō tāto" – Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.

Sherry Fink


Room 2, Year 2

Koru Team

Hi I am Sherry, the teacher of some of our lovely 2 student. I have two children (who are not really children anymore) Bailey who is 19 and Ashlee who is 18 years old. In my spare time, I love taking my dogs down to the river for a walk. I also build lego, do a little bit of painting and read. 

My philosophy in teaching is that building relationships with our students are important for supporting them in being successful learners who take risks and make mistakes. I love working alongside our kids and seeing them grow and change over the years. I love laughing with my students and building a fun, inclusive learning-centred environment.  

Sonia Monk


Room 3, Year 1

Koru Team - Team Leader

Kia Ora my name is Sonia Monk,

I have been teaching for 23 years from year 0-8 and this is my 6th year teaching at Milson School. My strengths are around Digital Technology, Literacy and building strong connections with whānau and students.

I have 3 children; Alicia, Nicole, and Riley.

Outside of school I enjoy the performing arts, music and spending time at the beach.

Christina Wingfield-Smith



Koru Team

Hi I’m Christina and I enjoy working with children in their first few years of schooling. I love to see the progress they make and the enthusiasm they have for learning. 

I am married and have 3 teenagers who are currently at high school and university. I’ve been connected to Milson for many years with all three of my children being past pupils of the school. In my spare time I enjoy reading and going for walks. My favourite place is the beach where I spend as much of my spare time as possible.  

Fiona Jensen


Room 6, Years 0/1

Koru Team

Sangeeta Sharma


Room 6, Years 0/1, & Release Teacher

Koru Team

Hannah Kirk


Room 7, Years 0/1

Koru Team

Kia ora, my name is Hannah and I am currently working with the new entrants in Koru Team.

Before moving to the Manawatū I lived and studied in Christchurch, where my family are based. I live on a farm in the Pohangina Valley where I like to take walks with the dogs and ride my horse.

For myself teaching is about building strong connections with students and their whānau, to empower students to see how capable they are. I love to see children believe in themselves and have a go at new and exciting learning. I enjoy teaching art and seeing how one activity can inspire so many different and beautiful perspectives from the children.

Martin Vickerman


Room 7, Years 0/1 - Friday

Koru Team

I've been working at Milson School since 2017, first as a reliever and then as Mr Friday in the Koru Team.

 I have a passion for seeing new entrants develop their oral language and social skills through Discovery play.   Outside school I am a Driving Instructor and Defensive Driving Tutor.  I'm also involved singing with with Manawatunes Barbershop, acapella, Chorus and as a Sound and Video operator at my church.

Jay Duxfield


Room 9, Years 5/6

Huia Team

Hello everyone.

My name is Jay Duxfield.  I am originally from Whanganui.  I am married to Denise and we have two children (Charlie and Amelia).  As a Whānau, we love getting out to explore the area.  We often spend our weekends at the beach or going for walks in the park. 

My big passion in learning is finding my students’ strengths and incorporating them into my lessons. I love it when students are excited about their learning and I hope that I can be a part of facilitating this. I also have a background in English language teaching and enjoy working with ESL students.

Lerina Jacobs


Room 10, Years 5/6

Huia Team

Melissa Colville


Room 11, Years 5/6 & Release Teacher

Huia Team

My name is Melissa Colville also known as Mrs C. I have been a teacher here at Milson for the last 9 years and been teaching for over 15 years. I look forward to another year working as a PCT  release teacher. I enjoy teaching Science and  I believe positive relationships are the foundation of learning and I can not wait until next year to spend time learning and growing with your child.

I am originally from Auckland. I moved to Palmerston North 13 years ago with my family and live on a small lifestyle block. We have cats, chickens and sheep.  I also breed Monarch Butterflies which I send all over New Zealand. I enjoy fitness classes and shopping.

Shayna Gleeson-Long


Room 12, Years 2/3

Koru Team

I am from Palmy and a mum to three boys. I am a keen water enthusiast and spend most of my spare time in or around water.  I have an extensive background in swim teaching which I enjoyed for 14 years prior to becoming a school teacher. I love the progression and fun you can have in the junior school and have a real passion for literacy. 

Chaliaan Du Plessis


Room 13, Years 3/4

Huia Team

Jarrod Campbell


Room 14, Years 4/5

Huia Team

Ian Eaton


Room 15, Years 3/4

Huia Team

Scott Higginson


Room 17, Years 3/4

Huia Team - Team Leader

I have been teaching at Milson School since 2017, spending four years at Newbury School before that. I feel very lucky to be able to lead and support our Manawatū (Year 2-4) Team. I thrive on the supporting students to find their confidence as learners, breaking big challenges down into small steps, and helping them to feel in control of their learning. When I get the chance I enjoy hanging out with my whānau (Pieta - my wife of 17 years, William - 14, and Lucy - 12) at the beach or watching a movie. When I get the chance, I also enjoy avoiding them to play the guitar or drums, or to work on projects to fix up our home and garden.

Sarah Leishman



Elisha Williams


Release Teacher

Stacey Turner


Room 20

ORS Additional Teacher

I am originally from Taranaki where I grew up in a small rural community. After finishing high school I worked with special needs students, as a teacher aid. This eventually led to Teachers College. After many years, teaching across all year levels in the Manawatu and Horowhenua, I have come full circle, and am now working with students with special needs again as an OR's teacher. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, spending time with family and friends, and in winter skiing with my children and extended family. 

Cheryl Shirriffs


Room 20

ORS Additional Teacher

I have been teaching for many years with children with special and amazing abilities. I love being inspired by them  over and over again. 

Teaching is all about teamwork and I enjoy being part of Milson's Team.