Academic Staff:

Katherine Riley, Upper Primary Class Teacher

Post Graduate Diploma in Education, Edith Cowan University, W.A.
​Bachelor of Business, Edith Cowan University, W.A.
Zoo Docent Training, Perth Zoo, W.A.

After living a corporate life, the arrival of her beautiful bouncy children opened Kathy’s eyes to the precious joy of educating children. So she went back to school herself and then set about applying her many skills in the education setting with gusto. Before joining Helena River School in 2017 she taught a multi-aged group in a mobile school (homeschooling while travelling around Australia!) and has a great enthusiasm for the creativity and vast scope of the Steiner curriculum. She cycles, scuba dives, canoes, builds things great and small, plays guitar (and ukelele and recorder and bongos!) and every day in her classroom is an adventure.

Melissa Harvey, Lower Primary Class Teacher

Grad. Dip Steiner Education, Rudolf Steiner College, W.A.
A. (Sociology), Macquarie University, NSW
A. (Creative Writing and Theatre), Griffith University, QLD
Cert IV Training and Assessment (MIRO)
Graduate Business Certificate (HR/Marketing), Curtin University Business School, W.A.
Dip.  Ed (Primary) (TBC)

Melissa has spent almost a decade in Steiner Education and is a passionate advocate for this deeply enriching curriculum. With a strong professional and academic background in Creative Arts, Sociology, Marketing and Education, she completed her 3 year Diploma in Steiner Education between 2011- 2013. Melissa was an active and valued member of the Silver Tree Steiner School Staff Faculty from 2009- 2017, teaching alongside some of Perth’s most vibrant educators. She joined the team at Helena River Steiner School in 2018. Melissa specialises in teaching our lower primary classes a rich, creative and inspiring Steiner curriculum. Melissa is also a story-teller extraordinaire and the Chairperson of the Storytellers Guild of WA!

Jessica Coker, Kindergarten Teacher (3.5 – 6 year old)

Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, RMIT University, Melbourne
Diploma of Early Childhood Education, NMIT, Melbourne

​Jessica spent several years studying human behaviour in all its forms (working in hospitality!) before being drawn like a magnet to the pint-sized ones in our society.  She has taught in Victoria in community kindergartens and began her Steiner education adventure here with us in 2017.
When she is not bringing her gracious guidance to our kindergarten children, she enjoys exploring around the world, walking her dog, Tilly, and making and creating things.

Susannah Sirolli, Kindergarten Teacher (3 year old & Friday 5-6 year old)

Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching)
Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood

Susie began her teaching career in the country town of Harvey, Western Australia where she spent 3 years teaching children from 8 years to 12 years of age. Teaching then took her overseas to Singapore where she taught English to children from ages 3 to 8 as well as travelling Asia and Europe. On return to Australia, Susie taught in a multi age group setting in a local suburban primary school which focused on inquiry based, cooperative learning. Susie’s most valued and rewarding experience came in the following years through raising her own 3 children and experiencing the challenges and joys of motherhood. Susie has been blessed to be able to experience a variety of learning environments and methods through relief teaching in many local schools while raising her young children and is very enthusiastic to begin her Steiner journey here at Helena River through the guidance of our experienced teaching staff.

Anna Edwards, French Teacher

Grad Dip Education (Secondary), Edith Cowan University, W.A.
TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Edith Cowan University, W.A.
PhD, University of Western Australia
B.A. French Literature and Language (Hons), Le Mirail University, France

Anna’s passion for the French language is highly contagious and our students gain more and more confidence each week. Anna taught university level French for several years, then high school and now she loves teaching the language in creative and fun ways with primary children. If you walk past a room with lots of loud laughter, that will be Anna’s class!

Nicole Peterson, Eurythmy Teacher

Diploma to Perform and Teach the Art of Eurythmy, The American Eurythmy School, California
Bachelor of Movement Arts, Prescott College, Arizona
Masters of Teaching (in progress), University of Notre Dame, W.A.

Canadian born and Perth raised, Nicole first discovered Steiner education through the live-in intensive foundation year in a Steiner education college at Le Foyer Michael in France in 2003. She later went on to complete her four year full time Diploma of Eurythmy in California, graduating in 2011. She also holds a Bachelor of Movement Arts from Prescott College, Arizona and is currently studying for a Master’s of Teaching at Notre Dame University.  She has a further 6 months training in the art of speech formation in Dornach, Switzerland.  She was teaching and performing Eurythmy in Canada, Europe and more recently Castlemaine, central Victoria until returning to her home town of Perth in 2017 to welcome her first child into the world.

Debby Van Trigt, Kindy Assistant

Bachelor of Teaching, Ipabo University, The Netherlands
Creative Therapy, Christian HBO, The Netherlands
Certificate of Dental Assistance, Alwaark College, The Netherlands

Debby taught in a range of schools in the Netherlands –particularly with children with special needs and disengaged students- before meeting an Aussie and heading to our southern shores. Since being in Australia she has taught Dutch language in school settings, kindergarten and playgroup and is currently undergoing Steiner teacher training. Debby is a horse-rider, sailor, traveller and gardener.

Carol Fuller, Art and Craft Teacher and Kindergarten Assistant

Foundation Studies in Steiner Education, Rudolf Steiner College, W.A.

Carol comes to us with a wealth of experience.  She worked in the public school system in Western Australia for 15 years as an education and special needs assistant.  Carol is an artist who works with many mediums and has an infinite source of creative inspiration, which she now brings to our children. Carol is a born nurturer who can see each child’s individual needs and gifts.

Lesley Willow, Playgroup Leader

Dip. In Early Childhood Education, Rudolf Steiner College, W.A.
Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner College, W.A.
Dip. General Nursing, W.A.

Lesley Willow returns to us after two years away. Lesley is a Community Health Nurse and Registered Midwife and school pastoral care provider with over 10 years’ experience as a Steiner playgroup leader.


Tanami Magnus, Principal

B. Ed K-7, University of Notre Dame, WA
Steiner Teaching Diploma, Taruna College, NZ
CELTA (Teaching English as a second language), Phoenix College, WA

Tanami’s passion for holistic education began in 2001 when she began her Steiner teacher training in New Zealand. Although her previous professional life was as a chef and then clothing designer her calling now became helping to nurture and guide young children through their childhood in creative ways. She has a degree from the University of Notre Dame in primary education with specialisations in Early Childhood and Aboriginal studies. She has been working in the primary educational setting as a class teacher and special needs teacher, both in Steiner and government schools.  She is a co-founder of this school and started its first playgroup in 2013. She can now be found behind a desk in the office!

Tammy McCallum, Personal Assistant to the Principal (Reception & Administration)

Tammy joined our school in 2019 and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in Office Administration gained through more than 30 years in the Financial Services and Utilities sectors. She is not only passionate about all things administration, she also loves working with children and watching them learn and grow. When she is not up to her elbows in paperwork (in the office) she loves spending time relaxing with her dog, family and friends.

Rabia Vapiwalla, Finance Officer

BSc (Hons) Applied Accounting, Oxford Brookes University, UK
ACCA Member, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK
CAT, Certified Accounting Technician, UK

Rabia’s role as the Finance Officer at Helena River Steiner School is of an all-round nature. With 10 years of experience as a strategic finance executive she has a broad range of domestic and international exposure which includes manufacturing, education and aged care sectors. Rabia has been of invaluable help in getting our school’s financial processes and procedures in ship-shape and prepared for the growth to the next level.