Our team

At St Mary's School we have a team of teaching and support staff who are dedicated to guiding students through their educational journey. They are high-qualified and enthusiastic.

Get to know some members of our team, by reading our light-hearted staff interviews below:

Mrs O'Connell

PE teacher - Junior School and Senior School


What were your favourite subjects at school? PE, Drama and RE

How did you get in to teaching? Inspired by my PE teacher at senior school, who introduced me to hockey, I was set on teaching sports from the age of 11. My evenings and weekends at boarding school were filled with all kinds of sporting activities including hockey, tennis and judo and later on I discovered during a summer at an activity camp that I loved working with younger children. When I finished my A Level studies I went straight to Teacher Training College in Eastbourne.

What’s your favourite thing about working at St Mary’s School, Cambridge? When I first arrived I was daunted by the number of different locations where I would be teaching, but now I love the variety of locations, scenery, and the fact that in one day I’ll go from teaching Reception pupils, to Year 10 gymnastics. My favourite thing about working at this school is the creativity of the girls, who often amaze me with their gymnastics and dance routines. I also love taking Year 9 and Year 10 girls to Holland on the hockey tour!

Favourite things! What’s your all-time favourite… 
 the Canadian short story writer, Alice Munro 
Poem: Snow by Louis MacNeice, which was read by a friend at our wedding 
Movie: there are two that make me laugh and cry – The Party with Peter Sellers and On Golden Pond with Peter Fonda and Katherine Hepburn 
Story: the inspiring Old Testament story of Esther – which is also one of only two biblical books named after a woman 
Joke: my 10 year old son who is quite small for his age makes me laugh with his favourite silly joke. 
“Knock knock” 
“Who’s there?” 
“The boy who is too short to reach the doorbell” 
Recipe: I spent part of my childhood in Japan, so I love trying different sushi recipes

What or who inspires you? As a teenager I was inspired by the story of Joni Eareckson. A diving accident at the age of 17 left Joni paralysed and her autobiography describes her struggle to find meaning and purpose in her life. I find everyday small acts of bravery and kindness inspiring and I feel fortunate to have family and friends who have inspired me in the past and continue to do so.

What’s your favourite hobby? I love hockey and spent pretty much every Saturday playing it from the age of 11, until I injured my knee playing in a veterans’ game about four years ago. I am a member of my local amateur dramatics group which is great fun and very recently I have also become interested in open water swimming.

What sort of music is your favourite? Magnum, Paul Simon and dare I say it, country music!

What has been your favourite holiday so far? One favourite holiday was a working holiday, in a place I love and have returned to several times; Baia Mare, a town in the north of Romania. The other favourite would be a fantastic family holiday with my kids to Fowey in Cornwall during Regatta week.

What’s your worst habit? Changing the lyrics to songs – it drives my friends and family mad.

Team trivia: (without looking it up) what is the 'perfect score' in a game of Ten Pin Bowling? 300, and I never get anywhere near it! [Correct answer from Mrs O’Connell]