Our Team


Clovelly Child Care Centre  offers professional, high quality child care in a nurturing, safe and meaningful environment. Our philosophy is informed by strength-based practice and this  is incorporated  into the daily program.

The Directors


Debbie Zerbst

Deborah Zerbst first qualified as a Montessori directress in 1983. Deborah worked in South Africa in Early Childhood Education until her family immigrated to Australia in late 1996. While living in South Africa, Deborah worked in both Montessori and traditional settings. Her perspective, however, was significantly broadened as a result of the political climate in South Africa at that time. Underprivileged children living there experienced a history of neglect due to the political ideologies of the apartheid government. Deborah developed strong views on social justice and worked tirelessly to close the gap in early education, believing that all children have the right to quality education and care. In Australia, Deborah obtained her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care. Her work experience in Sydney has included working at Montessori East in Stage 1. That position was held for 5 years before she was offered a teaching position at The Early Learning School at Reddam House. Deborah was responsible for setting up the creative arts program using a multi-theorist approach. She incorporated key perspectives and insights from Montessori, Reggio Emilia, the Steiner Waldorf school movement and learning through nature. Deborah later went on to become the Principal of the Early Learning School Reddam House in Lindfield.

Deborah joined the Clovelly Child Care Centre’s team in 2016 as an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) and is now the Director of the centre.

Deborah’s passion for working in the Early Childhood sector has never wavered and she is determined to consistently strive for greater outcomes for children, families, the environment and teaching teams .


Our Educators

The Puggles Room (0 – 2 years)

jodi Jodie Gewohn

Jodie is an Early Childhood Teacher with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education (Birth-12). She has been connected to the vibrant Clovelly Child Care community from her first University Practicum in 2009, and has experience with the ‘Reggio Emilia’ child – centered approach to learning. Connection to nature and the environment, ethics, and ‘life curriculum’ are central to her Early Learning Philosophy.”



Sally Anderson 

A highly experienced mother craft nurse, Sally has been at the Centre for 30 years and has cared for children that have since come back to the Centre as educators, including her own daughter Claire. Sally has a Certificate III in Children’s Services Mothercraft qualification.




Hawraa  Sabbagh 

Hawraa is a recent graduate of the Certificate III course and has been working in the Puggles since the middle of 2016. This is her first full time position and she is developing into a very competent educator.




Melody Stitt

Mel has been working at Clovelly Childcare Centre since September 2017.  She loves working with this age group and she believes that the early years in a child’s life are very  important.   She brings her passions in music, art and the outdoors into her daily practice with the children.





Sandra Fang






The Plateenas Room (2 – 3 years)


Paula Guimaraes Mittereger

Paula studied the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care in Melbourne, where she has lived and worked in the industry for 2 years.  She is now a room leader in Plateenas room.   Paula loves to understand different cultures, as she implemented behavioural changes in different organisations when she used to be a Human Resources consultant. She likes to spend her leisure time meditating, cooking, swimming and snorkelling. For her, life is a continuous learning process.



Evelyn Guan  

Evelyn began working as a casual when her son was enrolled at Clovelly.  She has been working in Clovelly Child Care Centre for 12 years in different room.  She has a wonderful positive attitude and cheerful manner that has led her to be engaged as a permanent educator. She has a Diploma in Children’s Services. Evelyn wants to ensure that we provide a warm, nurturing environment for all children and takes her responsibility as an educator very seriously.


suzanneSuzanne Palmer 

Suzanne grew up in the area & has a strong connection of this land as a child.  She has a Certificate 3 of Early Childhood Education and working towards finisher her diploma.  She has been at the centre for 13 years.  She believes children are capable, wonderful, intelligent human beings and can achieve all they set out to do.  She is passionate in supporting & guiding them to reach their full potential.  She takes her passion in music, arts, kindness, love and caring into her daily practice as an educator.



Jacqueline Rigby

Jacqueline currently undertaking her traineeship in Certificate 3 of Early Childhood Education here at Clovelly Childcare Centre.  She is ecstatic to be part of the team and to be able to learn from many exceptional educators has her even more excited to start her career. It has always been a passion of her to be a part of Children’s early lives and to help them form foundations that they will use for the rest of their lives.


The Joey’s Room (3 – 6 years)


Vanessa Smith 

Vanessa began her career as a primary school teacher in England. She moved to Australia 6 years ago with her family from England.  She has a Diploma in Children’s Services to enable her to have specific early childhood qualifications. Vanessa is a room leader and she leads many art experiences, in particular a clay program.  She is a ceramicist in her spare time and she loves that she can share her passion for the arts with the Joeys everyday.  She also likes to snorkel and explore the rock pools at Clovelly with her children at the weekends.




Victoria Gray 

Victoria began her teaching career 12 years ago,  at Waiheke Kindergarten, New Zealand.  She holds a Post Grad Diploma in Early Childhood, in addition to a Masters in Tourism and Commerce Degree majoring in marketing. Prior to teaching Victoria working in tourism marketing and media research in New Zealand and London.  Victoria is a passionate supporter of the environment, and when not found inspiring children to love nature, she can be found scuba diving in and around Sydney.



Luke Azzopardi  

Luke has a musical background.  He attended Newtown Performing Arts High School majoring in Classical Voice and Saxophone. He then went on to The Conservatorium to further his musical knowledge. He also plays piano and guitar.  Luke holds the degree of Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood.




Lorraine Cope

Lorraine began working as a casual at the end of 2006 while studying for a Diploma in Children’s Services at Randwick TAFE.  She stepped into a permanent part-time roll in July 2017 in the Joeys room and is presently working toward a Degree in English Literature with Macquarie University.  Lorraine’s focus in the Joey’s room are STEM subjects and literacy. Her goal is to provide a multitude of interest-based experiences in a fun and positive way, nurturing the children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder.


Kitchen Garden Program

In 2013 Clovelly  began a pilot Kitchen Garden Program. The aim of which is to support sustainable practices in a practical and educational way and to embed the culture within the daily program. The program is facilitated by Athe, her credentials below! She is supported in this role by the educational leaders team, the cook and in general by all the educators.


Athe Arifin  

Athe began working as a casual at the centre, then stepped up to fill a maternity leave position. She proved herself a flexible and creative team member, with an impressive work ethic. She is also an award winning photographer.  Athe has a Diploma in Children’s Services and a Diploma in Advertising.  She has led the Kitchen Garden Program and it received an ECEEN Award in 2014.


Our Cooks


Bronwyn Jefferys 

Bronwyn has a background in catering and a genuine love for fine food. She contributes and compliments the Kitchen Garden Program beautifully. Bronwyn takes the time necessary to make sure the food is prepared and served in a way that will appeal to children and educate them about good eating.




Jason Stephens 

Jason has been in the hospitality industry for many years. He now works 2 days a week with us and brings to the job, not just his broad experience in the kitchen, but also natural handyman skills!




We have experienced staff to support the administrative functioning. They look after fees, enrolments, CCB, financial housekeeping and all the other office tasks.


Catherine Wisker 

Catherine has been with us for 5 years. She has a Diploma in Business Studies. She has recently upgraded this knowledge through TAFE. She is the ‘go to’ person for your billing and account inquiries. She can multi-task and knows where most of the utilities outlets are located!




We also have a  team of casual staff that work with us from time to time, some of which have been with the Centre for over 10 years.

For more about the Governance and Parent Management Committee at the Centre read Parent Involvement.

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