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.   

Michelle Coffey

Centre Manager

Bachelor of Teaching – Early Childhood Education

G’day, my name is Michelle but you can call me Chelle. I moved from Western Australia in 2015 with my partner and Aotearoa quickly became our forever home. Coming from a large family, I knew from a young age that early childhood education was passion. I started my career in teaching in 2007 and have worked in various teaching and leadership roles over this time. I believe every child is unique and has an innate desire to play, explore and learn. Outside of work I love to spend time with friends, run, go on hikes and yoga.
I am honoured to be apart of your children’s learning journey here at School of Fish and I look forward to getting to know you and your whānau.

Beth Campbell

Little School Team Leader

Graduate Diploma in Teaching ECE

 Kia ora! My name is Beth and I am from the West Coast of the South Island. I studied Social Work at Canterbury University before I moved to Auckland in 2011. I completed a Grad Dip in Education before beginning my career as an Early Childhood Kaiako.

Being a Mum myself, I am passionate about tamariki having autonomy and leadership over their learning which is why I connect so well to the Philosophy of School of Fish. Allowing tamariki to choose the path and then guiding them through it is so effective.

I am also passionate about having fun in learning, getting into messy play, art and sensory play to really engage with tamariki and build solid relationships. I look forward to working with you and your whānau during your time here at School of Fish!

Naomi Reineke

Little Fish Team Leader

Graduate Diploma in Teaching Early Childhood Education

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. 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.

Bronnie Goris

Big Fish Team Leader

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 with both our families down in Wellington on occasion, but 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.

Lika He 

Little Fish Teacher

Graduate Diploma in Teaching Early Childhood Education

My name is Yusi He and I also go by Lika.
I am from China and have been New Zealand for six years. I was a primary school teacher when I was back in China and then had my graduated diploma at New Zealand Tertiary College in 2019. After that I have been working as an infant Kaiako for three years.
I believe that our children have their own potential and we kaikao need to respect children as independent individuals and trust their abilities to learn and develop. I do enjoy being an infant teacher and providing them with care and love at the very beginning of their journey.

Nikita Ogg

Little Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Teaching – Early Childhood Education

Kia ora, I’m Nikita. I started my teaching journey at the young age of seventeen, when I found my passion through work experience at a early childhood centre and spent the next 7 and a half years, rowing and finding myself as an enthusiastic teacher. I went on to do my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education where I fell even more in love with the job.
I have a passion for understanding tamariki and the way they develop and grow, and that passion continues in my spare time where I have a passion for advocation mental health and helping others. I also love to spend time at the beach, forests and just getting out and doing all types of exploring with my friends and partner Cameron. I also have a passion for movement of all types, dancing (although not well), hiking, rollerblading and going to the gym.
I look forward to furthering my passion for ECE as I continue to grow as a kaiako at School of Fish.

Michelle Gorrie

Little Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Teaching – 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.

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 teenage 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, 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 be a part of the School of Fish Whānau an dlook forward to continuing to foster positive relationships with both your tamariki and respective whānau.

Lisa Murray

Big Fish Teacher

Studying towards Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) 

Kia ora, my name is Lisa. I was born in Scotland and moved with my family to Christchurch when I was 15, I then moved to Auckland at the start of 2023. I have a large family with 4 younger brothers! I have been working in early childhood education for 5 years , and am currently completing my studies to become a qualified kaiako.
I strive to be as sustainable as possible in my practice and enjoy using natural resources to create meaningful experiences for tamariki to explore and learn about their worlds. One of my favourite parts of being a kaiako is watching tamariki as they make new discoveries through their play. When I am not at work I love to cook for family and friends or go out and try new foods. I also love being outdoors and exploring new places. I look forward to meet you and to learn from and support tamariki, kaiako and whānau in any way that I can!

Bryana Leaf

Big Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Education – Early Childhood Education

Kia ora! My name is Bryana, I am a qualified kaiako and am currently teaching in our Big Fish room. I come from a big whānau including 2 siblings and three fury babies (cats and a dog). My love for working alongside children began at the age of 15 and has continued to grow ever since.

I love watching the tamariki develop a sense of the world and become so imaginative and creative! I am so happy I get to be a part of the tamariki and their journey to the big world! Being able to provide learning opportunities in a safe and caring environment is something I look up to and I look forward to continuing this amazing journey alongside them!

Ji Kwon

Big Fish Teacher

Graduate Diploma in Teaching Early Childhood Education

Kia ora, I’m Jihye who is in Big Fish. You can readily call me ‘Ji’. I came over to New Zealand 7 years ago after finishing my uni. I’ve majored psychology in university. I was so into child development at that time. It encouraged me to work with children for 4 years as an unqualified teacher in New Zealand. Then, I had my graduate diploma in Early Childhood Education through New Zealand Tertiary College in 2022. When I was looking for a new centre after I got married, I luckily found the amazing centre, School Of Fish last year. I’m eager to support tamariki to develop their infinite abilities and creativities through a wide range of activity ideas and resources. I care and love all children and help them experience meaningful learning journey.

Karissa Cochran

Big Fish Teacher

Bachelor of Education – Early Childhood Education

Kia ora, my name is Karissa and I am excited to be a part of the team here at School of Fish and getting to know you all. 
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 14 years old. I am involved within the children’s programme at the local church that I attend, which lead me to going to university to further my knowledge and understanding of how to care for children so that I could learn how to be a great teacher to all of the wonderful children that I would guide through their learning and development. 
I love experiencing new cultures, countries which stems from having lived in south east Asia for 5 and 1/2 years where I had the wonderful opportunity as a child to meet people from other countries. I hope that with my experience of having lived overseas and living in the very multicultural suburb of Mt Roskill  that I will be able to connect with you and your children even more.
I come from a family of 5, my wonderful parents and 2 younger sisters. My extended family is even bigger with 70 + people! In my spare time, I enjoy reading/listening to audio books, listening to music/going to concerts, going to the movies, watching tv, going for walks and when I am inspired I will bring out my crafty side!

Ashleigh Blackman

Little School Teacher

Kia ora, my name is Ashleigh. I’m originally from the mighty Hawke’s Bay. I moved to Wellington fresh out of school to continue my studies and have since made the move up to Auckland at the beginning of 2023. Teaching is a passion that truly did find me! I consistently strive to always create fun and meaningful experiences for all Tamariki to explore and learn. I love that I am able to incorporate my other love, art and design, into a lot of play and pass on this love of creativity to our Tamariki! When I’m not at work you’ll be able to find me parked out at the beach with friends or family, trying new places to eat, or out exploring new places!

I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for our School of Fish Whanau!


Laura Murphy

Teacher Assistant

Level 4 in Early Childhood Education

Kia ora, my name is Laura Murphy. I started my journey in early childhood education at the age of 17, and currently hold my level 4 certificate. I would like to continue my studies this year while working with the team at school of fish and become a fully qualified early childhood educator. I come from a large family and am the third oldest of nine children, which has given me plenty of time and experience to learn about early childhood. I have an interest in studying the growth and development of a young child. It is my passion to help children grow by learning through different forms of play and activities.

I am grateful to be part of School of fish and develop positive relationships with the staff, children and families.


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.