The Okara Team

This is our team of teachers and staff at Educare Okara. Scroll through to find out more about our teaching team.

Cheri Jordan

Centre Manager
Kia ora I’m Cheri Jordan, Centre Manager at Eudcare Okara, and a Senior Leader within the Educare Company. I am very fortunate to have worked at Okara since we opened our doors in 2010. I have my bachelors degree in teaching (ece), first aid certificate and am a fully registered kaiako who has worked in this amazing industry for more than 10 years. I live here in Whangarei with my two tamariki Ruby and Noah. I look forward to getting to know you as we continue learning, teaching and growing alongside each other; forming strong whanaungatanga to best support your tamariki and their development. Is currently on maternity leave

Alicia White

Assistant Centre Manager- Registered Teacher
I joined the Okara whānau in 2017 and am excited to work alongside you and your tamariki.
I hold a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching (Primary) as well as a diploma in Early Childhood Education.
I was born and raised in Whangarei, leaving to study in Auckland then to travel and work around the world.
Upon completing my Degree at Auckland College of Education, I went onto work as a relief teacher in schools and then as a full time Private Nanny.
This was an amazing privilege, taking me around the world working and living in Egypt, Bermuda, United Arab Emirates and the UK.
I moved back to NZ in 2015 and settled back in Whangarei where I live with my young son.

Emily Connelly

Registered Teacher
Kia ora, I’m Emily. I live locally with my partner Paul and our three tamariki, Mischa, Carter, and Beau who joins me here at Educare.
I am passionate about quality care experiences and developing nurturing relationships with nga tamariki me te whānau to instil a sense of whanaungatanga. I believe this begins with our littlest tamariki through responsive relationships and responsive care interactions.
I am a passionate Kaiako who values the underpinnings of Te Ao Māori within our early years sector, I absolutely love working alongside nga tamariki to support them to become confident, competent and aspiring learners. I am excited to be here at Educare Okara and look forward to getting to know you and your tamariki. Emily is currently on maternity leave.

Lisa Cunningham

Registered Teacher
Kia ora my name is Lisa Cunningham and I am a kaiako in the over twos at Educare Okara.
I hold a Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching, and graduated in 2014. I’ve enjoyed working in both the primary and early childhood sector of education and am excited to continue learning and growing alongside your tamariki. Lisa is currently on maternity leave.

Melissa Wendt

Registered Teacher
Hi I’m Melissa. I’m originally from Maungakaramea, where we lived on a farm and raised many animals. I attended Maungakaramea Primary School and Whangarei Girls High School. I am primary school trained, and graduated in 2015.
I got married to my husband Ben in 2015 and we had Lucas in 2017, who also attends Educare with me. I have two step children Riley who lives in Perth and and Ivy-Rose who lives with us. 
I look forward to meeting you all and sharing wonderful experiences with the tamariki. I have many hobbies which include dancing, growing vegetables and being more sustainable with our rubbish including having a worm farm and composting.

Nicole Wallace

Registered Teacher
Kia ora my name is Nicole and I am one of the kaiako in our up to 3’s area.
I have a strong passion for working with tamariki and find it so rewarding to be apart of their success. I have had experience in working with all ages for the past nine years, and continue on this passion here at Educare Okara.
I received my bachelor of Education (ECE) through Te Rito Maioha in 2016, and am now on my journey to becoming a fully registered teacher.
I enjoy the outdoors and making the most of our natural environment. I also like to express creativity through art and crafts with our tamariki.
I look forward to meeting you and your tamariki.

Karla Macken

Provisionally Registered Teacher
My name is Karla. I have been lucky enough to have worked in the Educare Okara team for the past several years, and have now become a permanent member of the team working full time as I have recently graduated with my Early Childhood Degree.
I look forward to getting to know you all and work alongside you and your tamariki and continuing to work alongside a great team.

Fleur Marr

Provisionally Registered Teacher
Tēnā koutou, Ko Fleur Marr ahau. I am a proud wife to Kingi and Mum to our five beautiful tamariki. My journey with Educare started as a parent when I enrolled my own children for part-time childcare. I was so impressed with the teaching team and the strong emphasis of whanaungatanga at Educare Okara. Now with all but one of my children at school I decided to embark upon the journey of my dream career. I began relieving for Educare in 2019, Then went on to complete my teachers training in 2020, and am now teaching at Educare Okara! My teaching philosophy is heavily centred around getting to know children and their families and building positive relationships which encourage and build upon the children’s learning. I can’t wait to get to know everyone! Ngā mihi nui

Anna Mackie

Teacher in Training
Kia ora my name is Anna Mackie and I have had the opportunity of returning to Okara Educare after living overseas in Canada since March 2017. I am now back at Okara and will be starting my degree in early childhood education starting the beginning of 2019. This is very exciting for me as I get to complete my studies at this wonderful centre, as well as working and learning alongside you your tamariki.

Taylor Ball

Teacher in Training
My name is Taylor Ball and I am lucky enough to be one of the Early Childhood Teachers here at Educare Okara.
I was born and raised in Whangarei and started my teaching journey through Auckland University where I completed year one of a Bachelor of Education (Primary), later realising that my passion was with the younger children. In March 2019, I got a job at Educare as a reliever before securing a position at Educare Okara in May. In July 2019 I am starting to study towards my Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood, which I aim to accomplish in 2022. This is very exciting for me as I get to complete my studies at this awesome centre, supported by such a great team.
I look forward to getting to know you all as we continue to work alongside your tamariki and your Whānau.

Jane Heapy

Hi there I am Jane Heapy

I am a vibrant and energetic person , I share my family’s interests in all things in the water , I have previously been a gymnastics coach and also have competed nationally in performance aerobics. I love my new found occupation with aspirations to begin studying towards an ECE degree. I look forward to supporting your tamariki on their learning journey.