Our Executive team ensure the smooth daily operation of The Nature School. With combined experience across the education and finance sectors, they work together and report directly to the Board.
Catherine Shaw (previously Oehlman) is the founding Head of The Nature School. She was a finalist in the 2021 Australian Education Awards (Primary Principal of the Year), and in 2022 received a National Award for Services to Outdoor Education Australia. Catherine is an accomplished educator, writer, poet, and self-confessed bird nerd. During the last twenty years she has taught across almost all grades and contributed to English Syllabus development in NSW. Catherine also writes for a range of publications online and off, and presents regularly at conferences. She advocates for the use of quality Australian literature and has an enormous collection of nature-related books. She is passionate about Australian wildlife and habitats, and believes education about our unique endemic species is key to their protection and survival. When she isn't writing about teaching or teaching about writing, Catherine is probably bushwalking with her two teenagers or chasing endangered Swift parrots with her camera and photographer husband.
Karen Marlin joined the Executive Team in 2019 as our inaugural Business Manager – and we’d be lost without her! Karen holds a Bachelor of Commerce and is an experienced CPA in the education sector. For the past 18 years she has worked in Independent Schools in NSW. In addition to roles such as Head of Finance of a large school, Karen was instrumental in starting two new schools for Indigenous students on the Central Coast. This involved funding, registration, community engagement, land acquisition and Council DAs. She has served as a member of the Association of School Business Administrators (ASBA) National Conference Committee, and is currently the ASBA Regional Chair for the Mid North Coast. She has vast experience in strategic planning, financial management, government funding, risk and compliance, grant applications, IT system implementation, recruitment and HR, and financial modelling for multimillion dollar educational buildings. Karen’s skills and experience are invaluable as we grow The Nature School. A country girl at heart, the move to Port Macquarie has allowed Karen and her family to return to a more relaxed lifestyle out of the city.
Teachers at The Nature School are vibrant educators passionate about both learning and the environment. They are creative in their approach to curriculum, experts at integration across subjects, and are reflective practitioners at every level. Several contribute to curriculum work beyond TNS. Their diverse interests enhance our school community and benefit students. We have staff skilled in species identification, permaculture, fermentation, bush tucker, marine biology, ornithology, basket weaving, floristry and more. In their spare time they are surfers, bushwalkers, birdwatchers, gardeners, artists, musicians and eco-warriors. Our teachers are assisted by dynamic support staff who also love learning and the great outdoors.
Teacher & Curriculum Lead
Specialist Teacher (music)
Our amazing educators in the Early Learning and Play Team work across our Early Years Bush Skills program for 3-5yr olds, and our Vacation programs for 5-12yr olds. They are knowledgeable about natural environments and adept at managing outdoors in all weather. Our team work closely with families and understand the importance of early years development. Outside of work, they can be found diving, dancing, gardening, meditating, and adventuring around the beautiful mid north coast.
Our friendly and approachable admin team provide support to staff, students and families across all of our programs.
The Board of The Nature School Incorporation consists of passionate members of the community with various professional backgrounds. The Board is responsible for governance of the organisation, while day to day operations are managed by the Executive Team. Each Board member signs a confidentiality agreement with all matters within the Board and concerning their workplaces. We are grateful for the voluntary service of our wonderful Board members.
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