Our People

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Tania McMahon, Centre Manager

I have worked as a teacher for over 25 years. I live in Southbridge with my husband, we have 3 daughters.

I believe children are all unique individuals who need positive relationships and a safe nurturing environment to grow, learn and develop into confident and competent lifelong learners. 

I have a Diploma of Teaching ECE 

Claire Stephens, Teacher - Enquirers Classroom

I live in Doyleston with my husband Jeremy and our three lively children, Bryon (11), Samuel (8) and Charlotte-Rose (6). I have been teaching preschool aged children for over 14 years. I have a passion for under 5s, as I believe these are their most important learning years.

I have a special interest in music and sport, which have been a major part of my life growing up.

Diploma in Teaching and Learning (ECE)

Jo Gregg, Teacher

Hello/Kia ora, my name is Jo. I’ve been teaching since 1995 when I graduated from Teachers College in Christchurch. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that every day is different.

I’m passionate about literacy and numeracy, and transition to school. My goal is to make sure that every child and their family moves on to their next learning journey with the skills for a successful transition and future learning.

I have two daughters that attend Ellesmere College - Olivia 16 and Siena 11. We live in Dunsandel. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, walking, biking and going to the theatre and movies.

Andrea Loveridge, Teacher

Hi, my name is Andrea and I live in Doyleston with my partner Shane and our son Jay. Our daughter Grace has left the nest and lives in Lincoln. My working background is in accounting, but I’ve always been interested in helping and working with young children. After becoming a mum myself,  I became even more passionate about helping young children learn and achieve.

The opportunity came up to do some relieving work here, and 18 months later I was offered a permanent position. I love that no single day is the same, it is rewarding, challenging and always interesting. I love being around the children and admire their endless energy, honesty and resilience.

Dianne Simkin, Support Teacher

I’ve had many years of experience working with children. Prior to joining Active Explorers Leeston, I worked at Westport Daycare as a reliever and then full time in their nursery. I’m a mum to two grown up children - a daughter Michelle who lives in Leeston and a son Timothy who lives in Australia. I also have five gorgeous grandchildren.

I look forward to meeting and working alongside all the children and families here at Active Explorers.

Emma Knights , Teacher

Kia ora my name is Emma. I have been working with Active Explorers Leeston for a year.

I am currently undertaking study to obtain a Bachelor in Teaching ECE. I live in Leeston with my 2 sons and partner. I enjoy sunshine, the beach, family time and walking my dog.

I value an environment that supports children-led exploration and learning.

Nga Mihi.

Corita Mitchell, Head teacher- Explorer Class

Kia ora my name is Corita. I am a fully qualified and registered ECE teacher with many years experience across all ages.

I am married with 2 teenage children. Together as a family we enjoy spending time at the lake on our boat, 4WD,

camping and going for bike rides.

I look forward to working alongside you all extending and engaging your child in a life-long love of learning.

Simone Weston, Teacher-Discoverer Class

Hello my name is Simone and I have a Diploma in teaching ECE.

I have been teaching and relieving in ECE for over 20 years. I have returned to the Selwyn area after being in Otago.

I live in Irwell on a farmlet with my husband and daughter with an eclectic menagerie of animals.

I am passionate about providing a stimulating and challenging environment which nurtures a child’s natural curiosity

and sense of wonder. I believe quality interactions and relationships are key in supporting a child’s growth and

development to becoming capable and confident learners. I love working with families and believe in the strength of family support connection.

In my spare time I enjoy painting, sketching, reading, gardening and growing food.

Kimberly, Teacher - Explorer Class

I have worked at Active Explorers Leeston for 4 years teaching a range of aged children.

I am a mother of 5 boys and live locally.

I have always been around children and really enjoy their energy and company.

Lucy the cat
Lucy the Cat, Qualified Cuddlier

Lucy is a very special member of our team here at Active Explorers Leeston. Lucy chose to become a team member in 2019, and his special gifts are in meeting and greeting our teachers and families.

He is known to be a great player at hide’n’seek and likes to explore and play in our big outdoor space.

Lucy is a friend to all and offers everyone that homely feel to our centre.