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Our staff

There are three key roles and responsibilities for the adults within our Bowen community.

  • Our dedicated team of nine teachers who work with our children, families and whanau (7 qualified teachers, 1 teacher in training and 1 unqualified teacher) along with our kai creator.
  • The adults who manage the centre on a day to day basis: our Centre Manager with the support of the Assistant Manager and the Finance/Office Administrator.
  • The adults who focus on ensuring the service meets the needs of the community and ensuring it can be sustainable over time is our Committee (governing group which is made up of parents, the management team and a staff representative). The Committee meets every six weeks to discuss the running of the centre, financials, health and safety, management report and any other topics brought to their attention.

Our centre prides itself on quality interactions with children and their whanau.  We maintain quality teacher: child ratios at a minimum ratio of 1:3 for children under two years old and 1:6 for children over two years old, which exceed the Ministry of Education requirements.  All teachers hold current first-aid certificates and all staff participate in on-going professional development.

Anna Lewis, Centre Manager – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) – Early Childhood

Kia Ora, I started here at Bowen in July 2010, and gained my BEd (Teaching) Early Childhood degree at Victoria University of Wellington at the end of  2010.  I grew up living on farms and my very first job was in the shearing sheds. I moved to Wellington in 2007, having found my passion for childcare from being a live-in nanny.

I am very passionate about ensuring children and their families develop a sense of security and belonging at the centre, showing respect to the cultures, beliefs, values and views that all individual families bring to our Bowen community. Establishing and maintaining warm, respectful, trusting and reciprocal relationships with children, their family, colleagues, parent committee and the wider community is at the core of my teaching philosophy.

I believe we are all learning together and bring valuable contributions. I believe in inspiring team members to be their best. Developing a shared vision and direction for the centre and positively influencing its culture. Creating an environment where each staff member feels valued, respected and supported and has the confidence to take on challenges. I am very blessed and grateful to be part of such a passionate community based centre.

Whangai ka tupu ka puawai – That which is nurtured, blossoms then grows

“The role of leader is not to get other people to follow but to empower others to lead” – Bill George.

Shelley Gainsford  – Assistant Manager-  Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Hi my name is Shelley and I have been working at Bowen ECE Centre since May 2010. I have grown up in Wellington and lived in the Northern Suburbs all my life. I live in Johnsonville with my Husband Matt and our two cats, Charlie and Gizmo

I completed my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in December 2014 and gained full registration in July 2017. I also hold a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) which I completed in 2009.

I enjoy working with all age groups here at Bowen and love getting to know the tamariki and their Whanau. I am passionate about working with all tamariki providing them with a loving caring environment where they have freedom of movement and can grow, learn and develop their sense of self to become competent capable individuals. All while growing strong meaningful relationships with Kaiako and their peers. When I am not working I enjoy going for walks, travelling, shopping, watching sport and spending time with my family and friends.

I call your children “My Children” because in our time together they aren’t just children on the class list they become part of my heart

Anneke Bhat – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood

My  name is Anneke Bhat, and I started at Bowen in August 2018. I am originally from Dunedin and I am also very proud of my Dutch heritage. I now live in Tawa with my husband Navin and our two children, Aari and Nyah. My Husband is from India and it is important to us that our children grow up with a strong knowledge and appreciation for their multicultural heritage. As a family we love Lego, Formula1 racing and getting out and about around Wellington and exploring this awesome city.

I completed my Bachelor of Education ECE at Victoria University and have been working in Early Childhood Education since 2003. Working at Bowen has been my first time working in a community childcare centre and I am loving being a part of a team that values children’s learning and builds strong partnerships between the centre and home.

I believe all children develop in their own time, and it is up to us as educators to support and encourage that development at every stage of a child’s learning journey. I value input from all members of a child’s extended family as we all have the child’s best interests at the heart of everything we do.

“I am not a teacher but an awakener” Robert Frost

Tegyn Duley – Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Kia Ora, my name is Tegyn Duley and I joined the team here at Bowen in May 2015. I am the lead kaiako for infants and toddlers. I grew up in Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty, but I have lived in Wellington for the last 10 years, after moving here for university and falling in love with the culture and community that this windy city has to offer. I now live in Newlands with my fiancé Brett, our daughter Tahlia and our 3 cats.

I studied at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature. I have always had a passion for working with tamariki and whanau and have aspired to be in a career where I could work within the community to support tamariki and their whanau. Bowen has given me the opportunity to do just that. I completed by Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in October 2017 and gained my full registration in November 2020.

I am a strong believer in nurturing tamariki’s emotional wellbeing, creating a strong sense of belonging, building trusting and reciprocal relationships in order for tamariki to thrive, learn and develop. I am guided by qualities such as love, honesty, respect and communication, nurturing care, trust and patience. I whole-heartedly believe that tamariki need to feel these things to feel a sense of belonging and sense of self-worth. Tamariki will thrive with a ‘full-bubble’ made of aroha, care and respect. I believe that to be a kaiako is to make an important investment in the future, and that it is a privilege to be able to do so.

“Let them be little, fill their hearts with laughter, help them grow wings, nurture their sense of wonder, inspire them to believe and love them like there is no tomorrow”

Sarah Veng  – Bachelor of teaching Endorsed in Early Childhood Education

I have been part of the Bowen whānau since May 2013 when I moved to Wellington from Dunedin. I have learnt a lot since joining Bowen and it has been a privilege to be part of the learning journey of our children and families, some of whom I have followed from infants through to starting school.

At the heart of my teaching philosophy I want to empower children’s mana, strengthening their confidence in who they are and the valuable contributions they make. As a result of this I love celebrating the diverse cultures that make up our centre. As well as igniting a passion for curiosity, problem-solving and learning. In December 2018 I became a mum to my wonderful son, Liam. I know this has strengthened my role as an early childhood teacher, giving me a new perspective and skills. I am fortunate enough to have Liam at Bowen with me.

“Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia ō tātaou māhi- Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work” – Whakatauki

“Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire” – William Butler Yeats 

Malinda Williams – Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Goeie dag/hello, my name is Malinda and I joined the amazing team at Bowen Early Childhood Centre in August 2020. My husband Kevin, our daughter Jessica, son Sean and myself left South Africa in 2002 to move to the land of the long white cloud, Aotearoa. We made this our home and we very proudly call ourselves Kiwi’s.

I am a registered early childhood teacher with a Bachelor of Teaching Degree (Early Childhood Education). I am privileged to support and guide nga tamariki while we all grow and learn together in a warm, safe and loving environment. I am passionate about building strong and trusting relationships with nga tamariki, parents and whānau and to work in partnership with those around me. Through working in a partnership, we can provide nga tamariki with the best care and learning opportunities.

I love learning about other cultures and beliefs and I come from a multicultural background, I understand the importance of learning about and celebrating other cultures as well as providing a sense of belonging. In my spare time I enjoy reading, doing stand-up paddle boarding, exploring New Zealand and spending time with my family and friends.

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach maybe we should teach the way they learn” – Ignacio Estrada

Joanna Coomber – Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

I first started working at Bowen at the beginning of June 2020, when I spent four weeks completing my placement for University. Since then I had been lucky enough to stay on as a relief teacher and in January 2021 I moved to a fulltime teaching position here at Bowen ECE.

I gained my Bachelor of Arts in Education in 2019 and my Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) in 2020, both through Victoria University of Wellington. I grew up here in Northland, where I still live, with my family and our two cats.

I found my passion for early childhood education after relieving in another early childhood centre here in Northland. Since then I have been lucky enough to be a part of some amazing experiences, all while being able to develop my skills as a teacher.

My core philosophy is underpinned by respect and kindness through relationships. I feel lucky to be coming into an environment where I have already had opportunities to develop these kinds of relationships and I look forward to continuing to do so.  

Annika Mitchell –  Teacher in training 

Kia Ora, my name is Annika Mitchell and I have been a kaiako at Bowen since the start of June 2018. I am currently studying through Te Rito Maioha to became a qualified early childhood kaiako. I was born and raised in Plimmerton, where my parents have a house near the beach. I have three younger siblings. I gained my childcare skills by doing childcare as a subject for two years at Kāpiti college with going on placements and relieving in my spare time.

I am passionate and love working with all ages but my focus here at Bowen is being an infant kaiako and following their needs. I love being outdoors in the sun and getting involved in all tamariki’s play and making it meaningful and intentional with extending their interests. I am a very bubbly person and you will most likely see me singing and dancing with the tamariki. In my spare time I love to go on adventures with my friends, go diving, motorbiking and watch Netflix.  Ngā mihi

“Every child has a different learning style and pace. Each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding”

Keegan Sercombe- Unqualified Teacher

My name is Keegan Sercombe and I was born in Wellington and raised in the Hutt Valley. I live at home with my Parents, Vanessa and Roger and my younger sister Piper. I love to be active and get outdoors as much as possible. Sport is such a huge part of my life and I have a passion for Touch.

I have been working here for 3 years now as an unqualified teacher and love it! The children bring so much energy into each day and there is never a dull moment. I adore their curiosity and eagerness to learn and play. Every child has a unique personality and each day it becomes more noticeable as they play, talk, create and learn. That is what excites me most about this job – being able to help these little personalities grow big, strong and independent.

“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our clam, not join their chaos”. I.R.Knost

Andrea McAndrew – Kai Creator (food Safety NZQA Unit 167)

Hi, my name is Andrea and I joined the Bowen team as their Kai Creator in 2019! I have been cooking for early childhood centres for over ten years. Food and children are a passion of mine, so putting them together works out great for me. 

 I love it when I get to see children enjoy delicious nutritious food. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, gardening and spending time with family, including my two children, Lauren and Sean, Husband Joe and Dog Chassis. I also have a large extended family that I spend lots of time with. 

“The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love for those you are cooking for” – Sophia Loren

Donna Smith – Financial/Office Administrator

My name is Donna and I have been part of the Bowen whanau since November 2016. I am responsible for looking after enrolments and anything finance related! I live in Paraparaumu and work from home most days, although you can find me in the office on Tuesdays.

I moved from the UK to New Zealand way back in 2003 with my partner Neil. We have two boys that keep me busy outside of work hours. I have previously worked in finance and audit in both the corporate and government sectors. I have also held a variety of voluntary positions in the not for profit/ECE sector.