The Totara Park Team

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

Kelsi Dean

Acting Centre Manager
Kia ora,
My name is Kelsi Dean and I am one of the Whangarei Area Managers.
I have my Bachelors in teaching (ECE) and am a fully registered teacher who has been working in ECE since 2008.
I live locally with my husband who is a dairy farmer.
I look forward to getting to know you and your tamariki as we embark on this journey of learning and development together.

Gabrielle Pollock

Assistant Manager, Registered Teacher
Kia ora koutou, my name is Gabe, I have been working with children since graduating from a Bachelor of Teaching Degree (ECE) in 2014.
I have 4 tamariki and an awesome partner who keep me on my toes, 2 of which are joining the centre with me too. My whānau and I relocated from Kirikiriroa in January 2022, we are loving the change here in Whangārei. In our spare time we love going to the beach, nature walks and exploring this beautiful place. 
I am a kaiako who thrives on fostering independence, curiosity and wonderment with your tamaiti, ensuring they are confident and capable lifelong learners. I am also passionate about establishing strong relationships with tamariki and whānau as I believe this is the foundation for ensuring the tamariki thrive in an education setting.

Chelsee Dovey

Team Leader, Registered Teacher
Kia ora whānau
I’m Chelsee, and I have lived in Whangarei my whole life, living the beach life on the east coast (Ngunguru).
I have always wanted to be a teacher originally as a primary teacher however; I managed to stumble into early childhood discovering my love and passion in teaching and learning about the world alongside tamariki.
I began my journey in 2011 with Educare, I got my Bachelor in Early Childhood Education in 2015, now I plan to gain my full registration. I have a strong interest in implementing Te Ao Maori and I would like to strengthen my practice and knowledge, which is why I have joined the amazing team at Totara Park Educare.
I really look forward to getting to know you, your child and whānau on this amazing journey.

America Muratori

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora Totara Park, I am so excited to be working alongside our Kaiako, tamariki and you, their whānau, to Learn, Laugh and Play!
I am originally from New York in the United States but have lived in New Zealand since 2020. I am certified with my Master's Degree from the United States and have been teaching for about two years as both a Junior Primary School Teacher and an Early Childhood Educator. My passion for teaching is around creating meaningful and lasting relationships with our tamariki while supporting them to be independent and curious life-long learners.
Please feel free to stop and say hello when you see me in our space.
America is currently on Maternity Leave.

Waina Pokaitara

Registered Teacher
Tena koutou e te whānau, my name is Waina, and I come all the way from the Waikato. My partner and I have moved to te Taitokerau to be closer to his whānau, and to give our son the opportunity to grow up off the land and sea.
I grew up in the Hauraki, moving from our homestead where we were brought up to be self sufficient, with gardens, fruit trees, growing our own beef, and milk, and from the sea.
I have been working in early childhood for 19 years, 13 of them as a registered kaiako, I look forward to the Journey ahead of me here at Educare Totara Park.

Lydia Parkinson

Registered Teacher
Kia ora Totara Park, my name is Lydia Parkinson and I am very excited to join the teaching team here. I am a fully qualified teacher and have been working in early childhood centres since 2017. I love being able to support children in their early years and give them the best start to life, I am very family orientated, and enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews. In my spare time I enjoy going to the gym, spending time with friends, and watching movies.
I look forward to getting to know you and your children as I begin my journey here at Educare Totara Park.

Nikkita Little

Kia ora, I grew up here in Whangarei. I went to Onerahi Primary, Whangarei Intermediate then Whangarei Girls' High. In my spare time I like to be with my friends and family, whether this be at the beach on a hot summers day or having a movie night eating junk food.
I started relieving right here at Totara Park in July 2022, since then I have learnt so many new skills which has made me grow into a confident kaiako. I have made many strong relationships and connections with the tamariki, their whānau and the kaiako and realised I wanted to start a career in early childcare.
This year I will be starting a Bachelors degree majoring in ECE which I could not be more excited for! I cannot wait to expand on my knowledge and grow as a kaiako.

Portia Redwood

Kia ora, I began my ECE career right here at Totara Park as a reliever in 2022. Since then I have become a full time kaiako in He Kākano working with our older tamariki as we support them with their transition to school. I love doing group projects, art and creativity focused activities that let our tamariki take lead as they help to guide their own learning paths.
Outside of work I enjoy traveling and exploring new places, especially beaches. Whether it’s a road trip with friends or visiting whānau I love keeping busy and socialising.
I've always found myself drawn to teaching but truly found my passion for it while relieving at Totara, which is why I am so excited to be here. I can't wait to get to know you and your tamaiti as we work together to help them flourish.

Andrea McKenzie

Kia ora koutou
I'm excited to be a part of Totara Park Educare.
I am Andrea Mackenzie I live in Tikipunga with my partner Steve and two boys James and Ryan.
Before taking on the nutritionist role I was reliving for Educare cooking and teaching for the last year.
I have lived in my whole life on the east coast (Ngunguru) on a small farm. I always have wanted to be a chef. I study my first year at North Tec then moved to Wellington to finish my diploma in Cookery and Culinary Arts.
I think it is important to teach our tamariki about food, healthy eating and where our food comes from.
I look forward to getting to know you, your child and whānau.

Holly Archibald

Kia ora koutou, I'm Holly, and my role is to support multiple managers and their teams while working at different Educare centres each day.
I have 2 sons who love their sport, so when I'm not cheering them on from the sidelines I also enjoy getting out for walks, hikes and a bit of fishing too.
I really enjoy working in the childcare industry and am more than happy to help with any enrolment forms/applications or queries. I look forward to getting to know all the tamariki and their whānau too.