Our Team

Tara Taaffe

Owner & Managing Director

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning – Primary

I am a passionate educator! While teaching in several high achieving schools within New Zealand, I developed a personal philosophy and skill set that I believe brings out the best in children. Learning through exploration, fun and facilitation is at the heart of what we do here. My love of music and drama, combined with the passions my talented team bring, can be seen in many aspects of life here at SCHOOL OF FISH. My experience as a primary school teacher, curriculum and team leader, enables me to work with families and my staff to ensure that the children at SCHOOL OF FISH receive quality learning opportunities that build strong foundations for the transition to school. Along with operating this busy centre, I love spending time with my husband, family and friends. I enjoy entertaining, eating out and seeing as much of the world as I possibly can.   

Jane Baney

Centre Manager

Bachelor of Education – Teaching

Kia ora, my name is Jane. I have worked at School of Fish since 2016. I am passionate about Early Childhood Education and New Zealand Sign Language. Watching young children grow, explore, and learn through play brings me so much joy! I strongly believe in providing young children endless opportunities that will expand their interests and open their minds. I come from a large family and grew up in Titirangi, surrounded by nature at its finest.  This is where some of my own personal interests have flourished. I take such pleasure in walking, travelling, and cooking for my whānau. I studied at the University of Auckland and graduated in 2014. This is my second teaching position, and I am very excited about experiencing new things with you all. I can’t wait to meet you all and become a part of your child’s learning journey. 

Briar Gleeson

Currently on Maternity Leave

Bachelor of Education – Teaching

My name is Briar, I have been working at School of Fish since 2014, with a few years off in between to travel and spend time with my children. I got my first part time job working with children while I was in high school and have wanted to be an early childhood teacher ever since. I have a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from the University of Auckland. I think it is essential to prepare children for the challenges that they will face when they attend primary school and I place a focus on this when teaching. Children never cease to amaze me with their eternal enthusiasm, optimism, and love of experiencing everything that life has to offer. My job is to feed children’s desire to learn and provide them with the most positive learning experience possible. I look forward to getting to know you and your children here at School of Fish.

Michelle Coffey

Little Fish Team Leader

Assistant Manager

Diploma of Children’s services (Early childhood Education and care) Australian

Studying towards a Bachelor in Education (Early Childhood Education) (Final Year)

G’day, my name is Michelle. I am so happy to be a part of the teaching team here at School of Fish! I originally come from a small town in Australia but have been living here in New Zealand for 5 years and it has quickly become my forever home. I have been working in early childhood education for over 10 years and am currently studying towards my Bachelor of Teaching ECE through New Zealand Tertiary college. I believe every child is unique and has an innate desire to play, explore and learn. Outside of work I spend of most of my time cooking, doing yoga and exploring the outdoors. I am honoured to be a part of your children’s learning journey here at School of Fish.

Michelle Gorrie

Little Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)

Kia Ora, I’m Michelle, and I’m lucky enough to be one of the Little Fish teachers here at School of Fish. The birth of my nephew prompted me to pursue a career in early childhood education, and since graduating in 2016 from AUT, I have grown a passion for infants and toddlers. This is an incredible age to work alongside as learning and development happens so rapidly, so I feel privileged to be a part of this and foster these discoveries. Through respectful interactions, I believe building positive, trusting relationships with children and whānau are the foundation to creating a safe and responsive environment to each child’s unique needs and cues.

I’m a lover of messy play, the arts, and creating ‘real-life’ experiences for children such as cooking and gardening. In my spare time I enjoy being a mum to my ever-growing indoor plant collection, cooking, and exploring the outdoors with my husband. 

Naomi Reineke

Little Fish Teacher

Hi, my name is Naomi, and I was born in Japan in my mum’s hometown of Maibara (a small town in Japan). I then moved to Hong Kong at the age of three, then to New Zealand at the age of eight. Having done quite a bit of travelling at a young age I fell in love with the different languages and the way people communicate. I studied Linguistics along with Japanese, German and some Spanish at Victoria University in Wellington. I then decided to use some of my language skills in Spain where I worked as an Au Pair and absolutely loved helping the children learn and being a part of their growth. I am currently studying a graduate diploma in teaching (ECE) to become a qualified Early Childhood teacher. In my spare time I love cooking, art and spending time with my family and friends. Most of all I am very passionate about learning alongside the tamariki here at school of fish and supporting them on their learning journey.

Nikita Murray

Little Fish Teacher

Studying towards a Bachelor of Education – Teaching

Kia Ora, my name is Nikita Murray, and I am a young Māori wahine, I have grown up in West Auckland, but I call the Far North home. A small place called Te Kao. I am a part of the Little Fish team here at school of fish. I studied my Bachelor of Education, specialising in Early Childhood Education degree at the University of Auckland. In my spare time I love travelling, snowboarding, eating and relaxing while spending quality time with whānau and friends. I have strong emphasis and belief in the aspect of the Māori concept whanaungatanga, engaging in positive and collaborative relationships with our tamariki, whānau, our colleagues and the wider community. I strongly believe my passionate beliefs in Te Reo Māori, Tikanga and protocols have shaped and moulded me to be the person and kaiako I am today and the future to come.

Devyn Nicoll

Big Fish Team Leader

Bachelor of Education – Early Childhood Teaching

Kia Ora my name is Devyn.

I am the Big Fish team leader and have been a member of the School of Fish whānau since July 2018. My journey into early childhood education started in 2005 when I began studying my Bachelor of Education at AUT University. I have been teaching since 2008 in both preschool aged and toddler rooms. I have always been passionate about teaching and learning and have always found much joy in the curiosity and wonder of toddlers.

I live with my partner Kurt and in our spare time we love exploring the outdoors, eating delicious vegan food, and spending time with our family and friends. I look forward to getting to know you and your tamariki.

Bronnie Goris

Big Fish Teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Bronnie, and I am a Kaiako in our Big Fish room. I absolutely love being a teacher and having the opportunity every day to help tamariki grow and learn about the world around them. I began my teaching journey as a reliever at my Aunty’s kindergarten when I moved here from Wellington in 2019. In 2020 I joined the School of Fish team and I have the pleasure of being able to work alongside the wonderful Kaiako and whānau here. 

My husband Sam and I love visiting our families down in Wellington, but I also enjoy playing tennis, exploring out in creation, and spending time with friends. I look forward to learning and growing together with both tamariki, Kaiako and whānau and to support each learning journey as best as I can.

Beth Campbell

Big Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Education – Teaching

Kia ora, my name is Beth, and I am a qualified Primary Teacher who has been working in Early Childcare for about 7 years now. I am from the South Island and moved to Auckland 10 years ago. I now live in Mangere Bridge with my partner Steve and daughter Indie who is 1 and such a character.

I am passionate about children’s development and work closely with Te Whariki. I am also inspired by the Reggio philosophy. I love to read with our tamariki and get messy with art and sensory play. I look forward to getting to know you and you tamariki here at School of Fish Onehunga. 

 

Greg Molloy

Big Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Kia Ora, my name is Greg Molloy. I completed my Bachelor of Teaching ECE degree in 2018 and graduated in 2019. I have a 12-year-old son and he, along with my nieces and nephews, fostered the enjoyment and passion I have for being a Kaiako to our young tamariki. Being a part of a young child’s life, encouraging them, watching them grow, change, and develop into the person they are becoming is the most rewarding experience that I think I have had.

I am excited to become part of the School of Fish whanau and look forward to continuing to foster positive relationships with both your tamariki and respective whanau.

Ella Treeby

Big Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Education – Teaching

Hello! I’m Ella, I have been working with School of Fish as a permanent reliever for the last 2 and a half years. I have just finished studying a Bachelor of Education in primary at AUT this year and have decided to start off my teaching career as a full-time early childhood teacher at School of Fish! Over the last few years, I have been developing a teaching philosophy throughout my experience of teaching in schools and at School of Fish. It is super important to me that young learners are given an environment in which they feel safe and are able to express themselves and all their emotions. I have seen this environment be created at School of Fish by the amazing teachers I have worked with over the last few years, and I am so happy to be a part of it. I love travelling, and going to the beach with my friends, I am very active in summer and love going for long walks and seeing what New Zealand has to offer!

Abigail Urlich

Big Fish Teacher

Kia Ora my name is Abigail! I’m ecstatic to be joining the School of Fish team. Growing up in a large family and naturally caring for my younger siblings, nephews, and nieces, I’ve always had a soft spot for children and youth. I’ve done nannying and mentoring youth, but I’m ready to devote my time and energy into Early Childhood. I feel that by providing a safe atmosphere and opportunities for our young tamariki to learn and grow, we can positively influence their development. I’m looking forward to supporting them and getting to know them better.

Tom Wu

Little School Team Leader

Bachelor of  International Trade and Economics
Graduate Diploma in International Tourism Management

Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Kia Ora, my name is Tom. I have worked in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Southeast Asia countries for nine years before I moved to New Zealand. I am a registered early childhood teacher. Since I have a strong passion for children and education, I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in education at Auckland University.

Being a teacher to me means being a facilitator to connect tamariki to the key learning areas within the Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum. I am there to provide fun, engaging, and relevant learning opportunities that allow our tamariki to enjoy and achieve their potential. I believe that imagination helps tamariki learn many important lifelong skills. Therefore, I love applying different kinds of art in my daily practice. I am glad to have an opportunity to know and work alongside tamariki, whānau and awesome team members at the school of fish.

Clarissa Stark

Little School Teacher

My name is Clarissa. My husband and I moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2020. I was studying toward a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood. Before I could complete it, we decided to move, and I hope to complete it in the future. I worked at a primary school for a few years, and I enjoy helping kids learn to read and write.

My love for literature runs deep and I strive to ignite that spark in the hearts of children. I’m passionate about teaching and creating a fun, and positive learning environment. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all at School of Fish and explore this beautiful country.

Joss Mendoza

Centre Chef

Certificate in Baking and Pastry
Bachelor of Science in Business Management
Basic Food Safety & Hygiene Certificate

Hi, I’m Joss Vincent Mendoza from Manila Philippines. I’ve studied Business Management and because my passion is really into cooking, I switched into a culinary course at Moderne Culinaire Academy in the Philippines. I arrived in New Zealand in 2017 and was given a chance to work in a Childcare Centre as a Sous Chef for 2 years. I’ve gained a food & safety certificate and certificate of community nutrition course. I do believe that good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. I am grateful to be part of the School of Fish and excited to share my various recipes to satisfy the children’s cravings.

Olivia Cottle

Currently on Maternity Leave

Hi I’m Liv and I’m really grateful to be a member of the School of Fish Team! A bit about me – I come from quite a big family – I have two siblings, 2 step sisters and 2 step brothers (I’m the baby !) and my family have 5 dogs! You could say we love animals! Outside of work I enjoy doing a range of activities such as going on our family boat fishing, camping and also fitness. Previously I have been nannying which I really enjoyed but realised that I wanted to be part of and work in a team environment. I am so excited to not only help look after our children but learn and grow beside them. I’m looking forward to meeting you and being a part of the milestones your children create here at School of Fish.

Danni Nash

Currently on Maternity Leave

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)

Kia Ora my name is Danni
I am currently at Unitec completing my Bachelor of Education in ECE to become a qualified teacher, graduating this November. I have recently moved to the Onehunga area with my fiancé Daniel. Outside of work you will find me either spending time with my family and friends, going on road trips to the beach, baking and cake decorating or doing something crafty. I have worked in childcare for 9 years now, I first started with nannying and I am now on my journey to becoming a qualified ECE teacher. I can’t wait to get to know all the children and their families here at School Of Fish.