The Taupiri Team

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

Dianne Mitchell

Centre Manager, Registered Teacher
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Taupiri te maunga
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Tainui te iwi
Ko Ngati Wairere te hapu
Ko Hukanui te marae
Ko Di toku ingoa.
Born and bred in a small town at the bottom of the South Island I moved back to my hapu in the mighty Waikato with my young family after completing my Early Childhood training in Dunedin in 2003.
I have been privileged to teach many children from very different backgrounds and work alongside wonderful inspirational teachers and families.
I believe in giving everything a go and encourage children to do the same and to be independent, confident, and resilient learners.
I am living locally and look forward to sharing this journey alongside you all at Educare Taupiri.

Cris Tao

Registered Teacher
Ko Cris taku ingoa
Ko China te Whenua
Ko PanShan te Maunga
Ko Haihe te awa
Tena Kautou
Kia ora, my name is Xuejun Tao and my English name is Cris. I am an easy-going person who likes to talk to others and participate in lots of activities. I really look forward to building reciprocal relationships with all tamariki, parents and whānau.
I am very happy to share with you about myself and my Chinese culture. Please do not hesitate to ask me anything.

Helen Hughes

Registered Teacher
Hello, my name is Helen Hughes. I am a registered teacher originally from England and travelled to New Zealand where I met my Husband. We have lived in Hamilton for the last 20 years and raised our now grown-up children here.
I am primary trained which gives me a good understanding of what tamariki need to transition easily to school. I used to be a physiotherapist and enjoy setting activities to promote movement and development and increase coordination in all ages. I love listening to tamariki because they have so many interesting ideas. Being there to help them increase their vocabulary and communication skills is a real pleasure. I love my job!

Tajinder Singh

Registered Teacher
I believe children crave and grow on respectful practices and this is a primary part of my teaching practice. I strive to create a stimulating, caring and safe learning environment, ensuring children's well-being by providing a nurturing, comfortable and secure place where we talk, play, laugh and learn together. I help children develop skills and learn about their world, through spontaneous teaching and learning opportunities that happen everyday and I believe that children develop, learn and grow from building trusting relationships.
I look forward to bringing my own son Harvin with me to learn alongside your child as part of the Educare Taupiri whānau.

Bethany Jakhu

Registered Teacher
My Whānau live in Ngaruwahia area but my hometown in Whatatutu outside of Gisbourne. I have been teaching since 2016. I have two young boys Adi and Zayn. I am married to Aman who is Punjabi, so I bring with me knowledge of the Punjabi culture and language. In my personal time, I enjoy history, gardening, skating and exporting our country with my family. I am a firm believer that children should be given opportunities to take risks as capable and confident learners and explore the natural world. strive to empower children and their interests through inquiry based learning and am looking forward to getting to know you and your whānau.

Yuejiao Ma

Provisionally Registered Teacher
Kia ora, my name is Yuejiao Ma(JoJo). I come from China and live in Hamilton with my partner, baby, and three dogs.
I am a qualified teacher. I also have an ecology & zoology degree. I am happy to support children's science learning when they found a unique insect in the garden. I am a creative person that loves teaching! I am fully immersed in Pennie Brownlee's theories and understanding of respectful relationships; I always put my heart and soul into our tamariki. I believe every child is unique and studies at their pace, so I advocate free play philosophy and use various strategies to support them to develop.
I enjoy hiking, horse riding, dog grooming, and playing all the fun games outside my work. I am excited to become a teacher at Educare Taupiri.

Taylar Freeman

Teacher in Training
Kia Ora my name is Taylar. I am currently studying at Wintec to achieve my bachelor of teaching in early childhood education. I am passionate about quality education for our young tamariki and believe that children need to feel safe, comfortable and have a sense of belonging to be able to explore and learn about themselves. I was born and raised in Taupiri and enjoy spending time with whanau and caring for animals on my farm. I look forward to getting to know you and your tamariki.

Michelle Reilly

Teacher in Training
I’m currently studying a bachelors of education in early childhood education. I have a teenage son Mavrick, two dogs and two cats. I am originally from Auckland and have been teaching for over 20 years. My mum was an early childhood teacher going to work with her was where my passion started at a young age. I love and enjoy the small community of Huntley, where I live, and how they support each other. I believe that all children learn in different ways through experience and exploration of the environment. I believe in free play and planned learning experience for children to create greater learning outcomes as they grow and develop and that children should have equal learning opportunities to create an inclusive environment.

Archana Prasad

Kia Ora my name is Archana Prasad.
I live in Taupiri with my Husband and 2 children. Being a mum to my children has given me an interest in child development and being nurturing and in tune with their needs. I am a loving and creative person who loves bonding with children and getting to know them and understand their creative skills and ongoing developments. I love children and being part of the early years of their journey. I look forward to working for Educare Taupiri and being part of your child's journey.

Courtney Pettifer

Im Courtney, the administrator at Educare Taupiri, I am a familiar face to many whānau and tamariki at the centre as I was previously a kaiako for 3 years here. I am now excited to be on a new journey where you will catch me in the office a few times a week working alongside the Centre manager Di to support the centre with the admin tasks.