Our People

Jo Haye, Centre Manager

What inspired you to become and early childhood teacher?

Growing up I’ve always loved and nurtured children and would always be looking after the younger children at barbecues. Once I was old enough to babysit, most of my weekends were booked up with babysitting jobs. I’ve just always enjoyed being surrounded by children - put me in a room full of adults and I feel uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone, put me in a room filled with children and I’m completely at ease.  So, when the opportunity came up for me to work in an early childhood centre, I jumped at it. I’ve loved every second of it and haven’t looked back.

How long have you been working in the sector?

I got my first position as a teacher working in a small rural centre 15 years ago.  On my first day I knew it was what I wanted to be doing, so I enrolled in a three-year Diploma in Early Childhood Education.  Over the years I’ve returned to studying by completing my Bachelor of Education and Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Leadership.  I believe that ongoing learning is a vital part for any teacher wanting to provide exceptional care and education for children.

What do you love most about what you do?

There is so much!  But not much can beat the opportunity to just sit and be present with children. I’m always amazed by each unique personality that shines through.  Also, since moving into a centre manager role, my position involves mentoring and coaching, which requires me to work closely with teachers. I think seeing the magic of teaching spark between a teacher and a child is something pretty special.

What do you think are the three most important things to look for in an early childhood centre?

Look, Listen and Feel

  • Look at what the teachers are doing and how they’re interacting with children
  • Listen to the conversations between teachers and children, and listen to the environment – is there is a buzz of learning happening?
  • Visit and get a feel for a place - that initial feeling you get when entering a centre is really important

Nga Kakano o Tane, Diploma of Teaching – Early Childhood, Bachelor of Teaching (ECE), Workplace First Aid Qualified

Billie Comiskey, Team Leader Koru Lounge

Kia Ora Whanau! My name is Billie . and I am the team leader in the Koru Lounge. I have been working with Active Explorers for over a year now and was an ECE teacher for six years before starting here. I have a huge passion for ECE and believe relationships lie at the centre of quality education. Inspiring tamariki to love learning is a huge part of why I chose to become a teacher. I value te ao Māori and promote the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa throughout my teaching practice and everyday life. Teaching brings me joy and seeing the progress of tamariki as they grow and learn is what gets me up in the morning. I’m a very whānau orientated person and spend a lot of time with my friends and whānau. I love being active and exploring this beautiful country of ours in my free time. I look forward to getting to know you and your whānau and working alongside you to provide the best learning outcomes for your tamariki.

Shianda Pukeroa, Team Leader Te Puawai Tots

Tena koutou katoa, Ko Whaea Shianda tōku ingoa, e noho ana au ki Te Papaioea, engari nō Te Tairawhiti ahau.

I have been teaching in early childhood since 2011, alongside my tamariki as I wanted to learn more about who they were as successful learners in early childhood education. I wanted to add to my tools as a mother, by exploring the ways in which I can contribute to their learning and development confidently. My tamariki and my community have been my soul purpose from the start – I wanted to lead by example and show my tamariki what educational success looks like, and to inspire other parents who were looking at education as a career option as well. I have a passion for cultural diversity and believe that all tamariki have the right to celebrate their diverse ways of being, doing and knowing with my support and guidance. I chose to work in early childhood so I can make a positive contribution to society through nurturing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of our next generation of learners and leaders.

Zivana Donnelly, Team Leader in Nga Kakano o Tane

Kia ora, my name is Zivana. I began working in early childhood education as a reliever in October 2015 and began my Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) degree in 2016. I am now a qualified teacher and the Team Leader in the infants’ room known as Ngā Kakano o Tāne (the seeds of Tāne). I decided to work in early childhood specifically as I learnt how important the first years are - learning starts from the day you are born! I am an advocate for children's rights, and I want to create an environment where children are able to explore their sense of belonging, sense of self and sense of uniqueness.