Meet the Team
We are proud of our team.
Our teachers, specialists, leadership team, and support staff are some of our best assets, and some of the best in the business. Accomplished, approachable, experienced, and caring, they are globally-minded innovators dedicated to the educational principles of the International Baccalaureate and the latest educational pedagogies.
Get to know them a little better here.
Senior Management Team
Maria Coate: Principal
Maria’s passion has always been teaching, learning, and educating children to become life-long learners and active global citizens. She has worked in a variety of Secondary Schools, both as a teacher and in leadership positions. These schools include Willetton SH, St. Mary’s Anglican School for Girls, Presbyterian Ladies’ College, All Saints’ College, and St. Andrew’s Grammar.
As a passionate economics teacher, Maria wrote three economics textbooks, and was President of The Economics Teachers Association of WA. She also taught Modern Greek for the Hellenic Community of WA in their after-school language and cultural programmes. At the tertiary level, Maria taught Economics at Curtin University’s School of Business.
I would describe myself as an authentic leader and I am very much enjoying my role as Principal of The International School of Western Australia.
Maria Coate, Principal
Ian Short: Business Manager
Ian is originally from the United Kingdom, and migrated to Australia in 2005. Ian is a finance professional with over 25 years’ experience in both the commercial and educational sectors. These include Senior Management positions at Edith Cowan University, and more recently, St George’s Anglican Grammar School. Ian holds professional memberships to both CPA Australia and CIMA (UK). Although Ian is not an educator, he is a highly valued member of ISWA’s Senior team, working closely with the Principal to provide commercial acumen and insight to the school’s operations and finances. As a genuinely international member of staff, Ian’s global experience resonates with the school community.
Paul O’Brien: Head of Primary School
Originally from Perth, Paul began his teaching career working in independent schools across Western Australia, before moving to international schools in London and Beijing. Paul has worked in several International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools, in both local and international school contexts.
Paul has a deep knowledge of the beliefs and values and philosophies that underpin the IB programmes, as well as the framework of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and believes this is core to teaching and learning. He believes deeply in the attributes of the IB Learner Profile and its role in developing internationally-minded, open-minded, and culturally-minded citizens who actively work to improve the lives of the people around them. Paul understands that best practice in teaching and learning occurs when students work through a process of inquiry that is conceptual, transdisciplinary and collaborative, reflecting the skills, knowledge and understandings students will need in the future. At the centre of this is student agency in which students have voice and choice in their learning.
Paul has a Bachelor of Education: Primary (Hons) with a Masters in Leadership and Change. He is also an IBO Workshop Leader, working with teachers in international schools to continually develop their pedagogy and teaching practice.
Janice Murray: Acting Head of Secondary School
Janice Murray is a confident, innovative and positive staff member with drive and energy. She has taught in Australia, the United Kingdom and Singapore, providing outstanding support to students, educational institutions and their leaders. Janice is entering her 5th year at our school, 9th year in International Baccalaureate education, 10th year in international schooling and her 15th year of education. She has an excellent understanding of the framework and curriculum offered within our Secondary School and previously took on the role of Student Wellbeing Coordinator in our last academic year.
She prides herself on working effectively with students, colleagues and parents, and feels that relationships are the foundation to a positive educational facility. She has strong leadership qualities built on her Theatre education background which have provided her with excellent collaborative, organisational and communication skills.
She is looking forward to her new role of Acting Head of Secondary and looks forward to new initiatives, ensuring excellent teaching practises and the effective education of our Secondary students.
Middle Management Team
Fleur Churton: Deputy Head of Primary/ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator
Fleur Churton teaches Year Four at The International School of Western Australia, as well as being our PYP Coordinator. Fleur worked in schools across the globe, including New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Barbados, before ending up in Perth. Fleur originally qualified in teaching in New Zealand, and more recently obtained a Masters of Education with a focus on pedagogical leadership and digital technology integration into teaching and learning.
Fleur has worked in international schools for most of her teaching career. She is passionate about inquiry learning and the International Baccalaureate Programme. With two children her own, she understands the importance of developing the whole child, and of providing a rich and challenging learning experience.
Fleur looks forward to fostering a strong relationship with you and your child throughout the year.
Faye Mellican: PYP Early Years Coordinator
Faye was born in Perth however lived in Melbourne for 14 years. Here, she taught at an IBO school as an Early Years teacher and across the Primary School as an ICT specialist teacher. Faye completed a Bachelor of Education (Hons) at Melbourne University. She also studied Biological Sciences at Curtin University and Early Childhood Development through Open Universities Australia.
Faye is passionate about Early Years Learning and the ways that children inquire through play. She is a keen PYP teacher and uses her knowledge of current research and evidence in child development to inform her teaching practices. Faye believes that teaching is a role that embodies the notion of continuous learning. She is enthusiastic about working with Early Years teachers to provide the best learning opportunities for all students.
Faye is currently a Year Two teacher and the Early Years Coordinator at ISWA.
Laura Nicholson: Deputy Head of Secondary, International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator and Careers/College Counsellor
Laura Nicholson is originally from England and comes from a strong background in curriculum management and administration. Having recently worked in two middle management roles and with staff from all levels, she has developed a supportive and highly collaborative teaching and leadership style that values change, diversity, and develops resilience.
As well as being a highly effective teacher in Humanities and Social Sciences with outstanding Senior Secondary results, her previous roles involved overseeing curriculum development, staff Professional Development, and monitoring of students’ academic progress in Years 7-12. This included developing, implementing, and leading the Australian Curriculum (AC) action plan in the Middle School to drive pedagogical change. Laura has enormous experience and has shown initiative as an ICT integration teacher and leader. She was also responsible for counselling students on appropriate selection of Year 11 and 12 courses, including careers counselling and planning future tertiary pathways. One of her many achievements includes establishing an international sister school network which was the focus of a three-week student tour to Hong Kong and China.
Megan DePiazz: Registrar
Megan is your first point of contact to learn more about ISWA and enrolment processes. Megan spent eight years teaching in primary schools, both in Australia and overseas. She made a career change and has spent over ten years in marketing and community relations. Her role as Registrar at ISWA now combines her knowledge and passion of both areas. She is a great ambassador for the school, and her bright and cheery persona will make you feel excited and relieved to join the ISWA community. Megan lives in the northern coastal suburbs with her husband and 13 year old son.