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 Director

IMG_4893Debbie 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)

IMG_4874Jessica Cram

Jess grew up on south coast before moving to Sydney six years ago. She found a connection to Clovelly and is grateful to return for her fifth year. 

 Growing up the eldest of four siblings, Jess developed a natural connection and love for providing care to younger children. 

 She completed a traineeship why working down the coast and has been in the industry for eight years. 

 Jess is always open to further her knowledge and skill set within the industry. She aims to provide quality, supportive and nurturing environments for all children to thrive in. 


IMG_4833Sally 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.


IMG_4863Alejandra Gracia-Loch

Alejandra has Certificate III in Early Childhood Education.  She moved from Chile to Australia 14 years ago.  She is a mother of two beautiful children and speaks Spanish.  On her spare time, she loves camping with her family, go to the beach and doing crochet.  She believes children are unique with their own strengths and interests.  She believes by creating a joyful, stimulating and safe environment, children can shine.


IMG_4852Jacqueline Rigby

Jacqueline has Certificate III in Early Childhood Education.  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.


PHOTO JPEG 1Lis Subota

Lis has a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and is working towards her Diploma. She completed her traineeship with Clovelly Child Care Centre in 2018.  Lis believes that children learn through plan base learning and hands on experiences.  She brings an instinctively nurturing and very responsible approach to the care and well being of children.  She is warm, funny and loves being around children of all ages.  She spent a gap in the UK working in a primary school as a teachers aid and assisting in the boarding house.  Her passions include music, arts & crafts and sports.


The Plateenas Room (2 – 3 years)

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 finishes 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.

IMG_4856Victoria 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.


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.

IMG_4864Hawraa  Sabbagh 

Hawraa started working in the Puggles room since mid-2016 and have recently moved to the Plateenas room. She has Certificate III in Early childhood education and always had a connection with children by giving them that sense of security, care, enthusiasm and patience. She believes that all children deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that they also have a voice of their own to be listened upon. Her main priority is to create a nurturing, loving and supporting environment for children to learn and develop. Her interests outside of work include long walks, dancing and cooking.


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 Clovellywith her children at the weekends.


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.



IMG_4887Shaye Corrochano

Shaye has recently moved from Brisbane, Queensland with her family to the Eastern suburbs. She has been in the Early Childhood industry for 11 years and holds a Diploma and is finishing her Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood. Prior to working in Clovelly she was Director and Educational Leader at her centre where their philosophy was based on “Reggio Emilia”. I have a great passion for children’s social and emotional wellbeing and how this can influence their learning and engagement.

graceGrace Manolas

Grace has her Diploma and is completing her Bachelor in early childhood, education and care. She has been working in other nearby early childhood centres for nearly 6 years, adding to her own personal philosophy as she goes. Grace understands the importance of providing children with meaningful experiences, learning through play and having a nurturing environment to come to. Grace has grown up living within the local area and wondered for years what it was like on the inside of Clovelly Childcare. As of early 2019 she has been apart of the team and is loving her new role.

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.  This program won the SPROUT award in 2014. Athe was leading this program until last year before deciding to take on a new role as the administrative assistant this year.

IMG_4833Sally Anderson

Sally is taking on the role of Kitchen Garden coordinator this year, as well as being an educator in the Puggles room.  Growing up in the country, gardening is part of her life.  She loves nature and being in the garden with the children. 



Our Chef & Cook


Jason Stephens 

Jason, our chef, has been in the hospitality industry for many years. He now works 3 days a week with us and brings to the job, not just his broad experience in the kitchen, but also natural handyman skills!


SamiSamantha Schwartz

Samantha joined us in 2020 and works 2 days a week. Born in Colombia and a mother of 2, she has a passion and love for food and also runs her own business “Healthy Home by Sami” which provides in-home cooking services for families, the elderly and those in need.




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 over 12 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!



Athe Arifin  IMG_4882

Athe began working as a casual at the centre, then stepped up to fill a maternity leave position. She proved herself as 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 since 2013 and it received the SPROUT Award in 2014.  She has now moved into assisting administration at Clovelly three days a week this year.


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.

a1Lorraine 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 runs the STEM subjects and literacy across the centre. 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.

JoJo Power

Jo is a kind and caring child care educator with a Certificate 3 in Early Childhood education.  She loves engaging with the children at her Clovelly Child Care family.  Her empathy and compassion make her a shining light





Beryl Mac Glashan

Beryl loves creativity.  She is joyous and passionate about the Early Childhood sector.  She is Diploma trained with over 20 years experience in long day care.   





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

2 thoughts on “Our Team

  1. michael LILBURN June 27, 2019 — 7:28 pm

    Hey you mob,

    When the centre first opened, I was in the opening intake of carers with the under 2’s, with Tanya. Co-conspirator with Maria.
    Please to see you have a couple of blokes still on board.
    I loved that ‘full of mayhem in the morning and full of love in the afternoon’ that we suffered then managed to establish.
    my subsequent motto – mum’s and bubs are the best people
    have worked happily in the community sector ever since

    my kindest thoughts to you for the opportunity you gave me in 1984/5.

    michael LILBURN
    CLARE SA 5453

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