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.
Kavita Mathai: Head of Secondary School
Kavita’s commitment to an education for the future is at the heart of her educational philosophy. She has held leadership roles in independent schools in Australia and international schools in Asia.
Kavita has a deep understanding and appreciation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a model of best practice in education. She believes that to educate our young people for the world they will live in we must foster resilience, adaptability and imagination in addition to character and confidence. The educational programmes of the International Baccalaureate and the IB Learner Profile provide the framework to develop these skills and values.
Kavita’s educational qualifications include a Diploma in Education, a Masters in Literature and Linguistics, and an M.Phil in post-colonial literature. In her role as Lead Educator for the IB in Asia, Kavita has engaged with schools and teachers across the region. She is also a workshop leader and an examiner for the IB. Her personal interests are reading, yoga, and walking holidays.
Middle Management Team
Faye Mellican: Early Childhood Education 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.
Fleur Churton: 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.
Laura Nicholson: 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.
Paul Turner: International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) Coordinator
Paul Turner very much enjoys working with our IB Diploma students as the IBDP Coordinator, and as a Year 11 Homeroom teacher. Paul has taught Mathematics in Australia, the United Kingdom and international schools in Saudi Arabia, Germany, China, Taiwan, Brunei, and Singapore. He holds a teaching degree and a Masters of Education in Leadership. Paul has worked in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for eleven years, as a classroom teacher, pastoral leader, and IBDP coordinator. He values the global outlook that international school students have and how they learn from each other’s differences and similarities. Paul believes that our role as a school is not just to get our students into the university courses of their choice but to prepare them for their further studies and for life. He believes that no other education system does this better than the IBDP.
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.