Meet Our Staff

Michelle Cummings – Centre Owner/Manager

Michelle Cummings – Centre Owner/Manager

I live in Te Awamutu with my three children Malikah, Cruden and Kaius. I am a fully registered teacher and I have been involved in Early Childhood Education since 2006. I have a Bachelor of Teaching gained from the University of Waikato. I am passionate about children’s development and learning and strive to provide an environment that extends on children’s strengths, interests and abilities. My outside interests include spending time with family, travelling, sports, exercise and baking.

Jo Morton – Assistant Manager

Jo Morton – Assistant Manager

I am a qualified and fully registered teacher, I have been involved in the ECE sector for the past 14 years. I live in Te Awamutu with my husband Gareth and my two children Ryan and Blake. I am passionate about providing quality care and education as I work alongside your children to help them acquire a love of learning as they discover and explore the world around them.
 

Lee-Anne Waters – Receptionist

Lee-Anne Waters – Receptionist

I am The Barnyard’s receptionist. I have worked at The Barnyard since 2011 and I love my role. I love watching our children progress through the different rooms. I also enjoy chatting to our parents and meeting and showing new parents and their children around our awesome centre. I am originally from Perth and have now lived in Te Awamutu since 1991. I am married to Richard and we have two fabulous daughters. In my spare time I like to garden, read, walk and travel.

Lisa Steel – Centre Cook

Lisa Steel – Centre Cook

I live in Pirongia on a dairy farm with my husband Cameron and 3 children Jacob, Chloe and Levi. I’m the cook at The Barnyard, I enjoy cooking and baking. I love children, so any chance I get I love hanging out with them on the floor. I enjoy building relationships with all the children. My outside interests include playing Netball and going to the gym. I work 5 days a week.

Harakeke Room Teachers

Jaime Bayley

Jaime Bayley

I am studying to become a fully trained ECE teacher. My reason for choosing this pathway is to teach the importance of imagination. This has been an important aspect of my learning throughout my education whether it be through the arts or English subjects. Teaching is an act of sharing, I want to share my knowledge with the children at The Barnyard.

Michelle Gillard

Michelle Gillard

I live in Te Awamutu. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) and I am a fully registered teacher. My passions when working with toddlers are their development and supporting them through the changes in their world and sharing these with you. I do a lot of community work through taking Pippins (Girl Guides). I work five days a week.
 

Claire White

Claire White

I live in Puahue with my husband Gordon, we have two children Rochelle and Joshua. My passion is working with infants and toddlers, nurturing and supporting their development and practicing respectful practice. Outside the centre I enjoy reading, movies and tramping, as well as spending time with family and friends. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) which I gained through Wintec, I am a fully registered teacher.</span

Nicole Bond

Nicole Bond

I am a teacher at The Barnyard. I live in Otorohanga on our family farm. I have always loved looking after children, I love seeing the joy in their faces when they learn something new.
 
 
 

Rebecca Mellsop

Rebecca Mellsop

I am very passionate about children, I love watching them grow and learn and just to have fun while doing it. I am currently working as a swimming teacher, teaching children to swim. A little about myself, I am 27 years old, I don’t have any children, but I have 3 nephews that I love to bits. I have lived in Te Awamutu all my life. I love baking. I am really getting into my bush walks, with plenty of walks that I want to do this year. I love hanging out with friends and their families which are slowly growing each year.

Kōwhai Room Teachers

Nicole Jones

Nicole Jones

I am a qualified ECE teacher and I am currently working towards becoming fully registered. I am originally from Otorohanga, but I now live in Te Awamutu with my partner Aaron, my daughter Havana, cat Bella and dog Charlie. I am excited to be a part of your child's journey at The Barnyard.

Kim Huggett

Kim Huggett

I am a qualified and registered ECE teacher. I’ve been in the Early Childhood sector for 16 years. I was born and bred in Te Awamutu, I live in Puahue with my two children Lachlan (8) and Bayley (5). I look forward to meeting you and your children and being part of their learning journey.
 
 

Toni Cooksey

Toni Cooksey

&nbspI live in Te Awamutu with my teenage daughter Kass. I have worked with children for many years, I love any type of messy play and being outdoors with the children. My outside interests include spending time with family and friends.
 
 

Makayla McNeil

Makayla McNeil

I live in Hamilton and travel to The Barnyard every day. I have my Bachelor in Teaching ECE and I am working toward becoming a fully registered teacher. I am passionate about teaching young children and providing fun and meaningful play experiences for all ages. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I look forward to nurturing your child and helping them grow.

Mandy Donnelly (Currently on maternity leave)

Mandy Donnelly (Currently on maternity leave)

I live in Ohaupo with my husband Jason and our daughter Ellie. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) which I gained through the University of Waikato, I am a fully registered teacher. Outside the centre I enjoy spending time with family and friends, I also enjoy fishing in the Summer time. I look forward to watching your children learn, grow and develop.
 

Jo-Jo Maddern

Jo-Jo Maddern

I live in Te Awamutu with my son A.J. I enjoy working with children and participating in their daily routines. I enjoy music, the outdoors, animals and being with family and friends. I work 5 days a week.
 
 

Rimu Room Teachers

Jeff Fryett

Jeff Fryett

l live in Te Awamutu with my wife Melissa, our son Silas and our daughter Ryleigh. I have worked with young children for 10 years. I enjoy photography and building, I especially enjoy creating new and different things to share with the children. I work four days a week.
 

Debbie Tucker

Debbie Tucker

I live in Maihiihi on a lifestyle block with my husband Geoff. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) and am fully registered. My passion is giving children experiences that develop their natural curiosity. I believe we should create and extend on learning experiences that inspire and excite both children and teachers. In my spare time I love working on our block looking after our livestock and working my two heading dogs along with my two poodles.

Janelle Phillips

Janelle Phillips

I live in Te Awamutu with my husband Andrew and our cat Cocoa. I have a Bachelor of Teaching and a Major in Professional Studies gained from the University of Waikato, I am a fully registered teacher. As an educator at The Barnyard I am very passionate, I value a rich learning environment where children can experience and test out their knowledge in a meaningful context. I am an educator who is able to respond to each child’s interests and foster creativity and inquiry to create a very responsive and authentic learning experience for all our children, parents and Whānau. I believe this can be achieved through a holistic approach to learning and by valuing the unique child as valuable and capable in their learning environment. I love to travel, and I enjoy life to the fullest.

Stephanie Holz

Stephanie Holz

Tēna koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Mātaatua te waka
Ko Whakatere te maunga
Ko Hokianga te awa
Ko Ngapuhu te iwi
Ko Te Mahuruhuru te hapu
Ko Te Tuhirangi marae
Ko Craig Holz tōku whaiapo
Ko Jaydn Holz tāku tamaiti
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

I have been teaching tamariki (children) for the past 13 years, first as a home caregiver then working for the Ministry of Special Education as a Support worker then I stepped into Early childhood. I enjoy tamariki with their curiosity and the joy they have when they learn something. The world through tamariki eyes is an amazing thing. Please feel free to korero (talk) to me if you want to know more about who I am as a kaiako (teacher).

Lisa Eades (currently on maternity leave)

Lisa Eades (currently on maternity leave)

I live in Te Awamutu with my husband Bradley and our daughter Clara who is in the Kōwhai room. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) and I am working towards becoming fully registered. I am passionate about providing fun and meaningful activities and experiences for our tamariki. I enjoy seeing them learn new things and grow every day. I look forward to getting to know our Barnyard families more.

Kirstin Langridge (Currently on maternity leave)

Kirstin Langridge (Currently on maternity leave)

My husband Josh and I have taken in two cats, Stripes and Frost. They try to help in the vegetable garden we keep all year. We have recently moved to the country to house more animals, which I love. I enjoy knitting and sewing, and our friends reap the benefits. When I was 18 I spent two weeks in a Norwegian kindergarten while on exchange and treasured every minute. I am always amazed at seeing the wonderment when children discover something new and exciting. I look forward to getting to know you all.

Relievers

Robyn Cameron

Robyn Cameron

After working as a permanent teacher last year in the Rimu room, I am now a casual reliever in both the Kōwhai and Rimu rooms. I have already met a lot of parents and children, I look forward to meeting new families in the future.

Chloe Steel

Chloe Steel

I live in Pirongia with my Mum (Lisa), Dad (Cameron), older brother (Jacob) and younger brother (Levi). I am 20 years of age. My outside interests are racing in motocross events and being on the farm with my family.