The Pukete Team

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

Paula Ruston

Centre Manager, Registered Teacher
Kia ora, ko Paula taku ingoa. I am a full registered Early Childhood teacher, born and raised in the Waikato. I have worked in the Early Childhood sector for over 20 years and have learnt so much about myself and my passion and role in ECE.
I look forward to working with parents, whānau, kaiako and tamariki in my role as Centre Manager, building relationships, resilience and a sense of belonging in a fun learning environment. Outside of work I am a mum of two teenage children and a loving partner. I enjoy being creative in arts and crafts, painting and sewing etc... I love learning new things.

Kristina Laird

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora my name is Kristina. I have a Bachelor of Education and have been teaching for 17 years. I work in preschool and really enjoy this age group and the conversations and discoveries that you can make together. Growing up on a farm in the lower North Island I developed a love of the outdoors and this is the place where you will generally find me involved in some sort of physical activity with the tamariki. I am married and have 2 teenage tamariki of my own, a daughter and a son. When I am not working you will find me either driving my Mum taxi to sports or other outings, catching up with friends, relaxing at home or going for a walk, or running to keep fit.

Tara Norris

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora my name is Tara and I am married with 2 children ( a daughter and a son). I was born in the UK and have a Diploma in Teaching. I have been working in the ece sector in NZ since 2001 and have always wanted to work with children ever since I was a child myself.
I enjoy working with and alongside Whānau to enhance children's learning and development.
I am interested in loose part play where children can extend their curiosity, creativity, imagination and problem solving through open ended materials.
I look forward to working with you and the tamariki and being part of your child’s learning journey.

Stacey Douch

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora, my anime is Stacey and i qualified with a Bachelor of Teaching ECE in 2010. I have a teenage stepson, a toddler son and I am due to have my second baby in early May 2022. I love children and being part of their early years and supporting their growth and development. I look forward to working for Pukete Educare and being part of your child’s learning journey.

Donna Courtney

Registered Teacher
Ko Whaea Donna toku ingoa. I teach in the Kindergarten. I have a strong belief that parents are the first teachers and will always work in partnership with whānau. Children learn through play and here within our Kindergarten where we are outside in all weather as papatuanuku and ranginui provide rich hands-on learning all year long. In my spare time I am involved in community work which is mostly food redistribution. I am a mother of two grown children and another who is no longer earthside. I also enjoy gardening-mostly heirloom and vintage varieties. As Dame Whina Cooper said “ Take care of our children, take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel. For how the children grow, so will be the shape of Aotearoa”.

Lara Porter

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora I’m Lara. I have been a qualified teacher for 5 years, and am currently working between the infant room and little toddler room at Pukete Educare. I’m from Hamiltonand have two beautiful daughters. I also coach an under 12 Marching team. My Partner and I recently got a tropical fish tank and also have two cats. I really enjoy teaching because it is so rewarding being part of the children’s lives; watching them learn and discover and being a part of their “firsts”. I am passionate about respectful practice and communication with children, and I am excited to support you and your children on your early childhood journey.

Prasanthi Amerasinghe

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora I’m Prasanthi. I’m a fully qualified teacher and have experience with children of all ages (0-18 years). I’m currently in the preschool room at Pukete Educare. I’m passionate about providing a solid foundation for the children, focusing on behaviours, explaining consequences, Literacy/numeracy and inspire and instil confidence in creativity for tamariki to explore and flourish in the world around them. I look forward to working with your children and being a part of their learning journey.

Sophie Palmer

Registered Teacher
My name is Sophie Palmer, I am a qualified and registered teacher working with tamariki in the Kindy room here at Educare Pukete.
I strongly believe in nurturing a child's position to feel respected and to be positively empowered through their early childhood years. I feel passionate about developing valuable relationships with nga tamariki and their whānau, creating strong partnerships to cater to each individual child's ability and needs.
I strongly believe that early learning environments should be fun, filled with love and laughter in everything we do, providing a variety of learning opportunities throughout the day that foster nga tamariki holistic development.
'He aha te mea nui o te ao? Maaku e ki atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.'

Kym Kara

Provisionally Registered Teacher
Kia Ora my name is Kym, I have worked in Early Childhood since 2016, becoming qualified and registered in 2021. I have four children of my own, and have really found my place working with children and their whānau. I look forward to creating Whanaungatanga and supporting your child’s learning here at Educare Pukete, Tena Koe.

Annabelle Olsen

Teacher in Training
Kia Ora, my name is Annabelle Olsen and I am a teacher in training, working towards my bachelor of teaching in early childhood education.
I am a dog mum of one whose name is Otis. I enjoy spending my time outdoors being by the water and riding my jet ski and spending time with my loved ones.
I believe creating strong and trusting relationships with both children and their whānau is essential to children at the start of their learning journey to help them attain foundational physical, social, cognitive and emotional concepts and skills that they will carry with them throughout their lives.

Sarah Murray

Teacher in Training
Kia ora
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Te raparapa te awa
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka
Ko Matawaia te marae
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi
Ko Ngāti hine te hapū
Nō Pipiwai ahau
Ko Sarah tōku ingoa.

He tauira tau tuatahi ahau ki Te rito maioha. He māmā ahau, e whā āku tamariki. Ko Wiremu, Ko Tiahotana, Ko TeWairingingi, Ko Pōtiki ā rātou ingoa. Ko Ngawati tōku tāne. I live on a farm with my family. My tamariki love to garden, climb trees and run around in the paddocks. I enjoy working with children and watching them learn and experience new things. I look forward to getting to know you all better.

Haylee Finnerty

Kia Ora, my name is Haylee, I have been a teacher for 10 years. I have experience with children of all ages and I am currently in the infant room at Pukete Educare. I have lived in Hamilton my whole life. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family in my spare time. I feel very privileged to be a part of our tamariki learning journey as I support their development and watch them grow into independent, confident little people.

Sushila Kumar

Kia Ora, my name is Sushila and I have been in the ECE sector since 2008. I believe that all our tamariki need a beautiful place they call home. I will provide opportunities for all tamariki to participate in, extend their current knowledge, build social skills and most of all to have fun.I love working in preschool as there is always something new to learn, discover and look forward to.
Aroha nui.

Antoinette Phillips

Kia Ora Whānau, my name is Antoinette (Antz) and I have been teaching in Early childhood for over 30 years, taking time off to have my children (2 daughters) who are adults now. I am lucky enough to have one grandson who attends Pukete Educare. I have a strong background in Gerber and Pikler and my passion is working with infants and toddlers. I have a strong belief in building respectful relationships with children and to promote a feeling of belonging and trust.

Hollie McDowall

OSCAR Teacher
Kia Ora, ko whaea Hollie toku ingoa.
I am one of the Oscar team members here at Pukete Educare,
I have a 3 year old who is part of the Pukete Educare whānau.
I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work at the Oscar programme when my son was 17 months old.
I get to spend time with an amazing lot of school kids after school. I really enjoy hearing about their day and what’s new with them.
I'm a firm believer in using your imagination and learning through play, so quite often you’ll see me running outside with the kids and because I’m the adult quite often I’m their main target when playing games like tag etc.
I thoroughly enjoy my job and I can’t wait to meet you and your tamariki.

Lorelle White

OSCAR Teacher
Kia Ora, my name is Lorelle. It’s exciting to be a part of the Educare Pukete team. I have been working alongside children ages 5-9 years since 2017. I have a strong passion for working with kids. It is truly heartwarming being able to provide security and interaction and also witnessing them grow. Being an older sibling to three young children, I have grown a strong liking to providing care and nourishment for children. In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, playing football, spending time with friends and family and being around animals. I look forward to meeting you and working alongside you and your children as we nurture and focus on their growth and wellbeing here at Educare Pukete.

Yvonne Gage

Kia Ora kautou katoa
Ko Moehau te maunga
Ko Tikapa te moana
Ko Tainui te Waka
Ko Ngati Tamatera te iwi
Ko Yvonne Moana Gage ahau.
Hello everyone my name is Yvonne Gage and I am Nutritionist here at Educare Pukete. I have many years experience in catering, but my kitchen is always open for our Tamariki Parents for suggestions.
My fave Maori proverb I stand by goes
Nau te rou rou
Naku te rou rou
Ka ora ai te iwi
With your food baskets, And my food baskets, The people will thrive