The Tamahere Team

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

Paula Ruston

Acting Centre Manager
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.

Stef Wallis

Centre Manager, Registered Teacher
Kia ora koutou. Ko Stefanie ahau. Ko Hauraki te moana e mahea nei aku māharahara. Ko Rangitoto te maunga e rū nei taku ngākau. Ko Wallis te ingoa whānau. E noho ana ahau ki Waikato. Ko tēnei taku mihi ki ngā tāngata whenua o te rohe nei. He kaiako ahau ki Educare Tamahere. Hello everyone. My name is Stefanie, I am the Centre Manager at Educare Tamahere. I am originally from Waiheke Island and now I reside in the mighty Waikato with my partner, our son and our fur baby. I live and breathe Educare Tamahere’s philosophy and hold our values of ‘Partnerships, belonging, nature, adventure and play’ close. Stef is currently on maternity leave.

Lauren Wilkins

Team Leader, Registered Teacher
Kia Ora, I am the Under Two’s Team Leader and I have worked in the Nursery Room since the beginning of 2019. I have a strong passion for infants and toddlers. I enjoy creating calm and nurturing environments for our tamariki to explore. As a teacher my goal is to empower tamariki to be confident and capable learners. I strongly believe in providing an environment that gives children the time and space to reach their individual goals and learn about the world around them. I like to work closely with whānau so we can provide a home away from home for each child and support their aspirations.

Kylie Senior

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora. My name is Kylie and I excited to be in the Educare Tamahere team in the toddler room! I live in Cambridge with my two beautiful children. I love to cook and enjoy getting out and about in nature discovering the amazing world around us.
I value building strong nurturing relationships with our tamariki and supporting them on their learning journey. I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know each child and their Whānau. Please don’t be shy to come and say hello and to have a chat.

Dot Choppin

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora, my name is Dot. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) and Post Grad Primary Teaching. I have worked with children for over 30 years in various educational sectors. I have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. I love working with children, sharing experiences and seeing the world from a child's perspective, whilst sharing the joy of learning and "building the foundations for life". I am a girl guide leader for Taumata (Hamilton unit) and enjoy the experiences it brings and helping girls to grow up confident; learn self help skills and be knowledgeable about life. I am also involved with and enjoy being part of the local tramping group, having accomplished many challenging tramps of over 20kms!

Summer Harrison

Registered Teacher
Kia ora koutou, Ko Summer tōku ingoa.
I have a passion for teaching preschool aged children but am loving my new role in the Nursery room. I am a māmā to my young son, Haunui. I am also newly engaged to his father, Tukaharoa. Nō Kaitaia ahau. I love spending time up north in Kaitaia at the beach and with my family. I love to use te reo Maori and tīkanga to guide my practice with tamariki. The values of Whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and aroha are at the heart of my practice.
Ngā mihi, Summer Harrison.

Phillip Kong

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora Tamariki and Whānau!
My name is Phillip and I am a qualified teacher with a degree in primary education. I taught primary school for three years but have since made the move to ECE.
My goal as a teacher is to encourage positive experiences that will nurture confidence, curiosity and creativity while inspiring lifelong learners.
I am passionate about respectful teaching, and I focus my teaching towards building up a strong sense of belonging and empowerment within the tamariki in my care.
I look forward to working with you and the tamariki and being part of your child’s learning journey.

Teina Davies

Registered Teacher
Kia ora, ko Teina toku ingoa. I just recently graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Teaching in ECE. I am currently in the Toddler room at Educare Tamahere and absolutely love working in ECE. I have always been fascinated by how children learn and build their working theories and skills to make sense of their world. I also love answering children’s questions with more questions to get their brains working! I look forward to working with your children and being part of their learning journey.

Yu (Sarah) Xing

Registered Teacher
Kia ora, my name is Sarah and I have lived in Hamilton since 2019. I love nature and animals and I have a lovely german shepherd. I believe that children need to feel safe, comfortable and have a sense of belonging to be able to explore and learn about themselves. As a teacher I’m here to nurture and develop that knowledge as they grow. I look forward to working with you and the tamariki and being part of your child’s learning journey.

Melissa Landon

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora, I'm very excited to be part of the Educare Tamahere whaanau. I look forward to getting to know you all and working alongside your tamariki. I have been a teacher since 2013 and I'm very passionate about providing tamariki the best opportunities as they learn, and discover themselves to become confident lifelong learners.
I have three older tamariki myself and I enjoy fishing, arts, the beach, and spending time with my family.

Aimee Whittall

Kia Ora, my name is Aimee Whittall and I’m a teacher in training. I have lived in Cambridge with my family my whole life and graduated at Cambridge High School in 2021. I have always enjoyed caring for and teaching all children although my passion is in nursery. I look forward to growing as a teacher and forming bonds with the Tamariki at Educare Tamahere!

Rebecca Brown

Kia Ora. My name is Rebecca, I graduated from Sacred Heart Girls College in 2022 and am planning to start my ECE study next year. I have had many different job experiences teaching kids of all ages and have found my passion is in ECE. In my spare time I like to do surf life saving, spend time with friends and family and go outdoors. I am thoroughly enjoying my time here at Educare Tamahere, and am looking forward to building even deeper connections with your lovely tamariki!

Joyce Djaja

Kia ora, my name is Joyce. I'm originally from Indonesia, but I have called New Zealand home since 2015.
I have a bachelor degree in Accounting but have always been into cooking as I used to help my late grandmother to prepare our family meals since I was in primary school. My passion for cooking grows stronger with age and experience.
Having 3 children that I love very much, I know the importance of fun, delicious and nutritious food for the children's development.
I cannot wait to share my knowledge and best recipes that run in our family with your children.

Bronnie Clothier

Kia ora whaanau, my name is Bronnie and I am the office administrator for Tamahere. I am a mum of 2 teenagers and an adult stepson who has given me 2 beautiful grandchildren. I have a past in admin work but always held a love of being around tamariki. I'm lucky enough to now be in a position where I can not only get to meet and greet our whaanau at the desk, but also occasionally spend time on the floor with the children. It is such a pleasure to be around such smiley gorgeous faces each day! I look forward to seeing you at our great rurally based Centre.