Our Team

Debbie Zerbst

Centre Director 

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 .

Puggles Educators

Jessica Simpson - Room Leader

Jess grew up on south coast before moving to Sydney six years ago. Growing up the eldest of four siblings, Jess developed a natural connection and love for providing care to younger children. She completed a traineeship while working down the coast and has been in the industry for ten 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.

Alejandra 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.

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 day care, Kalani had always found herself 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.

Plateenas Educators

Suzanne 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.

Luke Azzopardi - Room Leader

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.

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.

Athe Arifin

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.

Ada Au Yeung

Ada is from Hong Kong. She completed her degree of Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Advanced Diploma of Children’s Services and Diploma in Sydney. She loves children and is passionate about children’s learning. She believes the way they relate to other people is very important and can directly and indirectly assist their social and language development. Ada believes that each child has the right to be loved and cared for in a happy and safe secure environment.

Joeys Educators

Rebecca Lawson - Room Leader

Having grown up in rural NSW, Rebecca moved to Sydney around 25 years ago and calls Bondi home. Rebecca lived in Switzerland for 6 years and during this time, 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. 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 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.

Sally-Anne Kenny

Sally-Anne ran a successful Family Day Care business for 14 yrs 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

Lenka Miklos

Being happiest in nature, Lenka is deeply passionate about helping each child to find their connection to the places they live and learn in. She is deeply committed to helping children to grow the skills of noticing, presence and connection, which enable them to develop a deep sense of being a part of the environment around them. Work in Early Childhood Education is a recent addition to Lenka’s work in the arts and background in sociology. She currently holds a Cert III (TAFE NSW) and is planning further study soon. In her spare time she loves swimming at Wylies’ Baths, walking, writing, knitting and sewing.

Relief Educators

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 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.

Gabriela Poblete

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.

Ruth Seagull

Ruth grew up in Israel and moved to Sydney in 1990. She operated a family day care in Bondi Beach for 10 years and completed diploma training. Ruth aims to provide knowledge, support, and education for all the children. Ruth is passionate towards arts and crafts, and she love the outdoors play.

Kitchen Garden & Chefs

Sally Anderson

Sally is our Kitchen Garden coordinator. 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, one of our chefs, 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!

Gabriela de Carvalho


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

Catherine Yuan

Catherine works part time in Accounts and Payroll and is a qualified member of CPA Australia. Her first job in Australia was in the Early Childcare Education Accounts team, and has been passionate about working in the education sector, particularly in finance and accounts. In her spare time, she enjoys taking her son to participate in Community Sports such as Nippers and Cycling.

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 from the nursery to the preschool room. 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 administrator.