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 (Room Leader)

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_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.

JackieJacqueline 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.


Kalani Silvester

Kalani has her certificate III in early childhood education. Kalani is ecstatic to learn and build on her knowledge whilst working in the puggles room! she was working as casual during 2020 and is now part of our team as a full timer!

Kalani grew up surrounded by children as her grandmother owned a daycare, kalani had always found her self wanting to help engage with the children, leading her to find her passion in working in the early childhood industry! 


Cèlia Pibernat Trias 

Cèlia is an enthusiastic and multilingual Early Childhood Teacher. Her strengths arise in her ability to be present, adaptable and dynamic with a variety of children. When utilizing their interest as a vehicle to understand, integrate and build strong relationships in environments, with the endeavour for children to have the best start that prepares them for life. She is passionate about building connections and understandings about Indigenous perspectives, as well as sustainability and social justice. Her philosophy is inspired by Forest Schools, Reggio Emilia and the Aboriginal 8 ways of learning amongst others, as her learning also continues.

The Plateenas Room (2 – 3 years)

suzanneSuzanne Palmer (Room Leader)

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 (Room Leader)

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.


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.

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.

The Joey’s Room (3 – 6 years)

rebecca Rebecca Lawson (Room Leader)

Having grown up in rural NSW, Rebecca moved to Sydney around 25 years ago and calls Bondi home. Having just returned in January 2021, from 6 years in Switzerland, Rebecca is excited to begin her new role in the Joey’s room. During her time in Switzerland, Rebecca worked for a German Montessori school, as Assistant Teacher (year 1,2 & 3), whilst also working as a Head Pedagogy Teacher for children in the 0-5years room, in the daycare centre affiliated with the school. This was both a daunting but exciting experience for a country girl who spoke limited Swiss German & German! None the less, it strengthened her respect & appreciation for our multicultural and diverse community we now live in.  Rebecca has a Diploma in Early Childhood and is currently studying her Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood at Macquarie Uni.
Rebecca worked at Tigger’s Honeypot (UNSW) for 12 years in the 3-5 “Narra” room. Rebecca has a strong passion for Social Justice, anti-bias and inclusion.  Rebecca is a mum to 4 children and will continue to use a guiding approach when working alongside children, as co-collaborators and co-researchers.

jodieJodie Coper

Jodie began her journey at Clovelly CCC in 2009 in our Puggles room on her first Uni practicum placement. After completing her Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education (Birth-12) and gaining experience in different early learning settings, she is back to her Clovelly CCC home. 

 Her passion are sustainability, creative thinking, and honouring an Indigenous perspective in our curriculum. The formative years (birth- 5) is such an incredible time for developing a sense of identity, being, belonging and to develop dispositions for lifetime learning. I love being part of every child and teachers journey as we learn and grow together. 

Sally KennySally-Anne Kenny

Sally-Anne ran a successful Family Day Care business for 14 yrs in Kingsford before joining the team at Clovelly Child Care Centre in April 2021.  She is a busy mum to 2 teenagers and is passionate about the environment, sustainability and enjoys walking, cooking and early morning swims at Coogee beach.  Sally-Anne completed her Certificate lll in 2012 and recently her Diploma in Early Childhood in November 2020.  Sally-Anne sustainable practices and knowledge of the different educational philosophies supports her holistic approach to early childhood education.  Combined with a business acumen gained from running a small business in the early childhood space, Sally looks forward to deepening her knowledge and engagement with the families at Clovelly Child Care Centre.


Jo 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


Gabriela Poblete Morales

Gabriela is from Chile, South America, therefore she has a strong and energetic English accent.   She has a primary school Teacher degree from a renowned university – Catholic University of Chile (PUC). She is a permanent part-time in Plateenas room; a room that she loves because she knows the importance of learning and developing skills at this age.   Gaby always does her best to support, guide and teach the children in Plateenas with knowledge, love and support.

VictoriaVictoria Kolevich

Vicky is originally from Argentina and she has moved to Australia 3 years ago. Since early age Vicky was very curious about languages and different cultures so she decided to come to the other part of the world to explore it. She has a Cert III in Early Childhood Education. Back home, Vicky holds a degree in Architecture, however while studying she discovered her true passion was Education. Since then she followed her heart into this beautiful journey of learning. Vicky believes every child is unique and capable of achieving what the heart desire. She likes to guide children`s in mindful way, listening to their body and inner voice to develop their strengths and capabilities. She really enjoys doing art & design, getting her hands on, getting dirty with clay and paint, connecting with nature and the ocean.

Jen  Jennifer Mather

Jen was born and raised in Hong Kong/England and arrived in Sydney in 2005. She has a degree in Biological Sciences and Postgrad in Chinese however never used those subjects in her career in advertising/marketing! Jen switched careers recently and completed her Diploma in Early Education and Care start of 2020 – chose to work at Clovelly for her practical work experience as she loves everything about CCCC especially Beach Kindy!

Jen strongly believes in learning through play/nature and art as this invites children to experience learning through exploration, improvisation and their imagination. She is passionate about being outdoors and risky play – she thinks the most valuable learning happens during unstructured free play when children are given the time, space and guidance to explore and investigate their interests. “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious (Albert Einstein) and hope to inspire that curiosity, especially during Beach Kindy, with the Joeys”. Outside of work Jen loves hanging out with her boys outdoors at the beach/bush walking, photography, reading and eating yummy food.

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. Sally also 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.



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!

zeeZehavit Alkobi

Zee’s inspirations have always come from the heart and are deeply connected to the power of food.   Over the last two decades as a qualified chef, Zee has brought people together through her cafes, Moroccan restaurant and in her work as a private chef.  Her passion has also blossomed into the area of wellness. Zee is a qualified yoga teacher and wellness coach and shares her passion with select clients to enhance their well-being through a special blend of breath, food and movement programs.  “Zee’s Love in a Jar” product line, her latest self-expression, once again brings people together to create memorable moments –  at the kitchen table, family gatherings and professional functions


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!

Leticia 1

Leticia Sousa

Leticia holds a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and has four years of experience in the industry as an educator working with various age groups, from nursery to preschool. She is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in 2016 she decided to move to Australia with her husband for different experiences and they felt in love with this country. Back home, Leticia has a degree in Theology and Business, but being surrounded by children has always been one of her favourite things. Leticia joined the CCCC team as administrative assistant. 

Relief Staff

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.

fernandaFernanda Lena

Fernanda Lena started her career in Early Childhood in her native country Brazil until her arrival in Sydney in the early 90”s.  In Australia Fernanda has spent 25 years working in many areas of Early childhood education for Local Government Children’s services and the Inclusion and Support Agencies.  She has worked in many different  areas such as  community engagement, caseload management, education and training, project management and children services coordination.   Fernanda has a degree in Pedagogy ( Early Childhood Education) a Diploma of Children’s Services and a Masters in TESOL (UTS).  Her passion within Early Childhood Education is in the areas of Home language Maintenance, Bilingual Children and Social Justice.  Fernanda aims to provide  a safe and respectful environment where children are inspired to connect, learn and have fun.  If not working with children Fernanda is travelling, tour guiding,  at the cinema or learning another language!

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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