The Okara Team

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

Alicia White

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.

Karla Macken

Team Leader 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.

Taylor Ball

Team Leader, Registered Teacher
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 have completed year one of a Bachelor of Education (Primary), later realising that my passion was with the younger children. In 2019, I got a job at Educare as a reliever before securing a permanent position. In July 2019 I started to study towards my Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood, which I completed in 2022.
I look forward to getting to know you all as we continue to work alongside your tamariki and your whānau.

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.

Claire Tuff

Registered Teacher
Kia ora whānau, my name is Claire Tuff.
I’m originally from the North East of England and moved to Whangarei in August 2017 with my husband, Richie, and daughter, Rosie.
I completed my Graduate Diploma in ECE Teaching and came back to Educare following this. I am passionate about quality care experiences and developing nurturing relationships with nga tamariki. Under 3’s is my passion and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with this age group here at Okara. I’m excited to get to know your tamariki and be a part of their learning journey.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, I love all things Disney and to travel as often as I can.

Sharon Harding

Registered Teacher
Hi my name is Sharon and have been living in Whangarei with my NZ husband after moving here from Sydney Australia.
I am a mother of 4 children now adults with 3 beautiful grandchildren to date. I have a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood 0-8 years and have been working with children over the last 30 years from home based care, centres and in schools. I look forward to working with and alongside each of your children as we explore the learning environment.

Holly Knox

Teacher in Training
Kia Ora my name is Holly Knox. I was born in Taupo but have lived in Whangarei most of my life. I live here with my Husband Cory and our three children. I love being outdoors in the garden and am a real farm girl. My biggest hobby is arts and crafts. I have always felt passionately about Early Childhood Education and working with tamariki. I first started as a reliever teacher at Educare in February 2022 and aim to become a registered teacher through study. It is wonderful to join the Educare Okara whānau and community.

Shae Popata

Teacher in Training
Kia ora koutou,
Ko Shae Popata ahau,
No Kaitaia ahau, Engari e noho ana ahau i Whangarei inaianei.
He tauira tau tuatoru ahau, E whai ana ahau i te tohu paetahi
Hi my name is Shae, originally from Kaitaia, now living in Whangarei,
I am in my 3rd Year of my Bachelor in ECE teaching. Prior to teaching, I was hairdressing. This generated a sense of awareness and understanding that I transfer into my teaching practice.
I am passionate about creating trusted, genuine and caring connections with tamariki and their whānau. I love being spontaneous with the tamariki and moulding enriching learning experiences into their day by collaborating with my fellow kaiako and being a part of their journey to become an empowered learner.

Giovanne Harvey

Kia ora, my name is Giovanne and I have been working for Educare since 2022 and I am loving it! I plan to study the year of 2024 to become a qualified teacher as that is my passion. I have a daughter Ella, and having her has shown me an interest in teaching. I am looking forward to work alongside your tamariki and continue to further my career as an ECE teacher.

Kelly Jensen

My name is Kelly, I live in Maunu on a lifestyle property with my partner, our young son and our animals. We moved to Whangarei in 2019 to make the most of the outdoor adventure lifestyle. I come from an administration background and I will be supporting the Centre Manager at both Educare City centre and Educare Okara. I look forward to meeting you all.