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New Staff Welcomed 2024

New Staff Welcomed 2024


Ofa Afungia

Kia ora koutou, Mālō e lelei,

My name is ‘Ofa Afungia. I am excited to join Sacred Heart College with a strong teaching background from St. Peter's College. With over 20 years of expertise, I will bring a love of mathematics and a strong dedication to student success to our community.

I am originally from Tonga, and I have seamlessly integrated my cultural background into the fabric of teaching, providing students with a unique and enjoyable learning experience. 

I'm looking forward to an exciting experience with you at Sacred Heart College, where the future of education is bright and our students are inspired to accomplish their best.

Amanda Clarke

My name is Amanda Clarke. I have loved being a primary school teacher in the UK and Italy since 1997 but after arriving in New Zealand in 2021, I found my new passion working as a learning support coordinator at Glendowie College. As my contract neared its end, I was lucky enough to meet Daria Spence, Head of Learning Support here at Sacred Heart College, and now feel blessed to be working with her.

I live locally and enjoy exploring Auckland with my husband and my 15-year-old son. When I am not doing yoga or meditation at home, I am most likely to be seen walking Monty the labrador or paddle boarding around St Heliers and Glendowie.

Amanda Clarke


Jason Farley

As an old boy of the College, graduating in 1997, it is my immense pleasure to be returning to Sacred Heart College as the new Assistant Head of Faculty for Religious Education. Since my time at Sacred Heart I have studied at The University of Auckland and Good Shepherd College, and have previously taught Religious Education, History and Social Studies at Baradene College and Diocesan School for Girls.

My wife, Rachel, and I have three children, Katherine, Lilith and Alexander, who are all at Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School in Takanini, where Rachel works as a Teacher Aide and I am a member of the school board. We attend St Mary’s parish in Papakura, where our eldest, Katherine, is currently undertaking the Sacramental programme. It has been a joy to see the respectfulness and studiousness of the boys has not changed since my days here, and I already feel part of the Sacred Heart whanau once more.

Jessica Ho

My name is Jessica Ho. I was born in Taiwan and moved to New Zealand almost 30 years ago. I have a 22-year-old son. I gained all of my qualifications in New Zealand. They include a Bachelor of Arts (Chinese), a Postgraduate Diploma in Language Teaching and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary).

I am very excited to join Sacred Heart College and its community as a teacher of Chinese and English Language Learning. I taught at Western Springs College and ACG Strathallan for a few years.

Teaching and learning are my passion. My inclusive approach is to appreciate each student’s unique strengths, personalities and backgrounds, and positively impact them to bring out their true potential.  



John Houston

Hello to all in the Sacred Heart College family! My Name is John Houston and I am a Year 7/8 teacher who joined the college in late 2023.

I moved to New Zealand with my family in 2014. Born and bred in Birmingham, UK and from Irish heritage I have two children (twins) that attend Sacred Heart College and Baradene College.

Having studied in Leeds in Yorkshire for four years gaining a Bachelor of Education degree I have been a teacher for over 30 years. I have had the privilege of working in a variety of schools in Birmingham and Worcestershire. Before starting at SHC I had the role of Team Leader at Remuera Intermediate School. 

I have very much enjoyed my time at Sacred Heart College to date and I look forward to working with the boys, their families and colleagues in making a positive impact in my time here at the College.

Charlotte Kan

Tēnā koutou, my name is Charlotte. I am joining the Sacred Heart College Whānau as a Year 7 Homeroom Teacher. I was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, though my background includes Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. In the past, I have been involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Auckland Catholic Youth Ministry as I enjoy volunteering and growing in my Catholic faith. 

I studied for a Bachelor of Education in Teaching degree at the University of Auckland and have recently graduated. Since then, I have been relieving at schools in Auckland and Tauranga. I am passionate about the success of all learners and firmly believe that all relationships are reciprocal, where there is always something to learn from one another and with the right resources, everyone can achieve excellence. I am big on all things sports and have participated in several National and International Tag Rugby competitions, as well as local Muay Thai fights. 

I look forward to meeting and learning new ideas from all the other Kaiako and Ākonga I meet at Sacred Heart College, while upholding the values for which the school is known for.



Kevin MacKenzie

My name is Kevin Mackenzie. I am a new Year 8 teacher for Sacred Heart College. I originate from a small farming community in South Africa but have now settled here in Auckland with my partner.  I started my teaching journey in South Africa at a small rural school before deciding to stretch my wings and experience new things. I decided to travel to a new country and started working as an English teacher in South Korea where I lived for 4 years.  

Building relationships and learning about different places and cultures has always been a passion and I believe it provides me with new perspectives and opportunities to grow. I have really enjoyed my time already at Sacred Heart College and will continue to strive to make a positive impact on the students, staff and community.  

I am very much looking forward to getting fully involved with all aspects of Sacred Heart and supporting the boys in becoming young Marist Men.

Yuvraj Patel

I’m a newly minted teacher that specialises in Biology and Science. I have an undergraduate degree in biological and environmental sciences alongside a new teaching graduate diploma. 

I’ve had a passion for teaching ever since I did my apprenticeship for being a Sensei of Karate and I can’t wait to continue my work at Sacred Heart College. Besides teaching I also love cricket and acting in stage shows in my free time. Both things I hope to help with during my time at Sacred Heart College. 



Deenishnee Naidoo

Hello my name is Deenishnee Naidoo and I am a Teacher of English and Geography and a graduate of the University of Natal (SA) 

Inspired to pursue a career in both Urban and Regional Planning and Education to help curb the spatial and educational inequalities that exist in South Africa, I was blessed with many opportunities to give back in service to the impoverished communities for 17 years. 7 years ago I chose to leave everything familiar and found myself at the tip of NZ, in the beautiful City of Wellington.  

I believe in simple practices of smiling, gratitude, humility and acceptance of all things being the Will of the Creator to restore my Divine Nature. My goal is to make a difference on our precious Earth and treat all Humans who are uniquely different with love and respect.

Esther Prendergast

My name is Esther Prendergast, and I am excited to begin teaching at Sacred Heart in the Year 7 & 8 team. I have just returned to Auckland after spending a few years teaching in the Hawkes Bay and the Waikato. Prior to becoming a primary school teacher, I studied music at the University of Waikato, and in 2019 returned to study to complete my Masters in performance flute.  I love teaching, and especially enjoy building strong relationships with students that help them learn. 

In my spare time I enjoy baking, spending time at the beach, and walking my dog in pretty places. 



Beverly Reddy

My name is Beverly Reddy, and I am a teacher with several years of experience. I have a university degree and a Postgraduate degree where I majored in Psychology, Religious studies, English and Science.  In my spare time I love to do hikes, baking, exercising, and listening to all genres of music. I am passionate about adding value to the people around me. In South Africa I was also greatly involved at our local community church assisting with all forms of outreach and community efforts.

I emigrated from South Africa in 2023 with my husband and two kids on a new adventure to beautiful New Zealand which has breath taking natural beauty, friendly people and is family orientated. New Zealand was handpicked by God for us, through prayer and we love it here.

I feel blessed to be a part of the Sacred Heart College family. Making a difference in the lives of my students is top on my list and this college gives you that platform. 

A personal philosophy which I have adopted is “in a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind.” 

Xavier Silk

My name is Xavier Silk. I am a new technology teacher here at Sacred Heart College. I am a graduate of Auckland University of Technology and hold a Bachelor of Creative Technologies. As an old boy of the college I am excited to be back and I am looking forward to what the teaching side of the school has to offer.

I am a Glendowie local and outside of school I enjoy going on walks with my dog and swimming. In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with friends as well as watching cricket and rugby with my dad.

I look forward to getting to know you.



Janette Vercoe

My name is Janette Vercoe and I feel blessed to have joined the Sacred Heart College family this year.  I am the Year 8 Dean and also teach a Year 8 class.  

I have taught in Catholic schools for over 30 years. Most recently, I taught Religious Education at De La Salle College. I was at Sancta Maria College for 17 years before that, teaching a number of subjects across multiple year levels. My teaching career started at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Avondale.

I have two beautiful daughters who are both working in hospitals, one in London and the other in Christchurch.  My husband and I have lived in East Auckland for over 30 years, currently with two black labradors to keep us company.

I am looking forward to getting to know and helping my students to become the best versions of themselves and amazing Marist Men.

Sammy Wang

I am a science teacher, and I am very excited to join the warm community at Sacred Heart College. 

A little bit about me; I was born in Taiwan, grew up in Howick, studied in Dunedin and in Palmerston North, before spending most of my young adult life in Wellington. Prior to returning to Auckland and joining SHC, I taught at two schools in Wellington, St Oran’s College and St Patrick’s College, Kilbirnie. 

I enjoy a lot of things in life, but right now, I enjoy forging new relationships and making a positive and lasting difference for our learners.



Bing Zhou

Ni Hao! Hello! My name is Dr Bing Zhou. I am a history/social studies teacher at Sacred Heart College. Previously, I was a university professor of history in Shanghai, China, where I originally come from. In New Zealand, I have worked at the University of Auckland for over 10 years, in teaching Chinese language and supporting local schools to develop their Mandarin language programmes.

I’m married with two sons -- one in university and the other in college. It’s an honour to join the school and become part of its community. I look forward to working with the boys on their learning journeys.

Matthew Holder-Smith

Kia Ora Koutou. My name Matt Holder-Smith. I hold the position of a seasoned Physics and Science educator, with 18 years teaching experience spanning Intermediate and High School levels. I've had the opportunity to teach in a variety of educational environments all over the world thanks to my teaching adventure. 

My goal now is to use my varied teaching skills to support students' excellent learning outcomes here at SHC. In addition to conventional classroom instruction, I've actively participated in teacher training and curriculum development initiatives, enriching my expertise across multiple domains. I firmly believe that these rich experiences endow me with a unique vantage point to effectively guide and inspire students of diverse ages and abilities. I eagerly anticipate embarking on this new chapter alongside the esteemed Sacred Heart community.