About Us : Our Teachers


Kia ora, my name is Zoe and Bright Beginnings is a Family owned and operated preschool with Children at the heart of every decision. My passion for teaching children started with dance teaching, I have since worked as a nanny in London, volunteered in orphanages in Africa and taught in a variety of different preschools in New Zealand and Australia before purchasing Bright Beginnings with my Family. I love travelling, reading, going for walks and spending time with my Husband, family and friends.

I have a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (ECE) and I am a fully Certificated Teacher. I also have my Montessori Diploma.

Ngā mihi nui.

Zoe Russell

Centre Manager

Hi I’m Hayley, 

I have been teaching at Bright Beginnings for nearly twelve years. 

I live in Rolleston with my partner and our daughter Matilda. Matilda attends Bright Beginnings and is in the nursery. We enjoy spending time together as a family, swimming, baking and keeping a good level of fitness by getting out and about for walks. Matilda especially loves visiting the local parks, having a swing and feeding the ducks. 

I hold a Bachelor of Teaching and I hold a full NZ teachers certification.

On Maternity Leave October 2021

Hayley Evans


Pukeko Room

Melissa Wu

Pukeko Room 

Head Teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Melissa. Originally I come from Beijing the capital of China, and have been living in New Zealand since 2002. I graduated with a diploma in ECE and have been teaching in three different centres over the last 12 years. I hold a Full NZ teachers certification. I believe strongly in creating an environment where children and their whānau are respected and valued. Travelling is one of my interests, I also enjoy reading and spending time with friends and family. I love the joy of working with young children and I am looking forward to getting to know you and your family.


Varshana Schelling

Kia ora, my name is Varshana and I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and have lived here for most of my life.

My qualification is a Master in Teaching and Learning and I currently hold my provisional teachers certification. Although this is my first teaching job, I have been a figure skating coach for seven years and this is where my passion for working with tamariki emerged. From a young age I have been very physically active; I began ballet dancing when I was 6 years old and when I was 14 years old, I started figure skating. Now, I play ice hockey regularly as a fun way to keep my fitness up and I also enjoy walking, baking, reading novels and spending time with my family and friends. I am excited about the opportunity of providing your tamariki with the best care and education they can receive here at Bright Beginnings Montessori.

Ngā mihi nui, .

Melissa G.jpg

Hi, my name is Melissa. I moved to Rolleston from Wellington with my partner and our 5 year old daughter in 2016. I enjoy working with children and have previously been a reliever before joining the Bright Beginnings teaching team in the nursery. In my spare time I enjoy reading, swimming and spending time with family. 

On Maternity leave March 2021


Aimee May

Kia Ora, my name is Aimee, my passion for children started when I was 19 years old where I got my first early childhood job. Almost 11 years later I am just as passionate providing children with the best start possible by helping them to learn, develop and grow. I live in Rolleston with my Husband and our baby boy Liam. We like to spend our weekends with our family and exploring the outdoors by going for walks.  I hold a Diploma of Teaching and I hold a full NZ teachers certification. Ngā mihi nui.

On Maternity Leave July 2021


Kia Ora, my name is Anna-Patricia but you can just call me Anna.  I'm from South Africa and I have a Bachelor's Degree in Pre-School and Foundation Phase and my NZ ProvisionalTeacher Certification.  I love working with children, reading books, doing messy play and some creative activities.  

I like to relax on weekends and do fun things with my husband and two wonderful children.  I am so excited to get to know everyone! 

Anna Du Pisani


Dolores Caballero

Hi, my name is Dolores. I am from Argentina, but I am currently living in Rakaia, on the farm where my husband works. I am an Educational Psychologist, and I have worked with children in the last ten years of my life. The last seven years, before coming to New Zealand, I worked at an Institute of Child and Youth Neurology, in the area of Neuropsychology, working with children with neuro-developmental disorders and specific learning disabilities.

I have a special affinity with children and their families. I have passion for health, for their well-being, their individual development and happiness.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and friends, going for walks, baking and reading.

On Maternity Leave 2021

Melissa Groenewegen


Butterfly Room

Hannah Green

Hello my name is Hannah and I am a teacher in the Butterfly Room. I hold a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and I am provisionally certificated. I have been working at Bright Beginnings Montessori for 5 years. I live with my partner, baby boy and dog. In my spare time, I play football and love to do anything adventures. I also have a passion for circus arts and enjoy juggling and riding my unicycle.

Butterfly Room 

 Acting Centre Manager 


Diana (Xiaowen) Hu

Kia ora, my name is Diana and I am a teacher in the Butterfly room as well as supporting the Pukeko room some days. I have previously worked as a preschool teacher for 3 years in China and then have been continuing my passion for this career in New Zealand since 2019. I am provisionally certificated with Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE). I am keen on providing children with different types of indoor and outdoor learning experiences which can facilitate their holistic development. I love baking, jogging and hiking with my husband and friends in my leisure time. I look forward to getting to know all tamariki and whanau.

Ngā mihi nui. 

Hi my name is Shelley, I have been working at Bright Beginnings for over 3 years. I am a teacher in the Butterfly Room. I live out in Leeston with my partner, my son and our dog. In my spare time I enjoy doing Crossfit, fishing and anything to do with the outdoors.

Shelley Webb

Butterfly Room 

 Head Teacher


Katie Austin 

Kia Ora! I am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. I value respectful and authentic relationships. I have a passion for integrating and embedding te reo Māori and tikanga Māori throughout my every day teaching practice. I enjoy creating inviting spaces that are full of love, laughter and learning and that are challenging and foster curiosity and spark the interests of each individual child.

I grew up on a farm and I love adventure and anything to do with sport and the outdoors with my family and friends."


Fantail Room


Arna Lawson

Kia Ora my name is Arna, I have previously spent four years teaching in Greymouth on the west coast before moving back to Christchurch with my now husband. In 2017 I gained my Aperfield Montessori diploma in early childhood education. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband, my daughter Marley and extended family and friends. I have a big passion for working with children of all ages and I look forward to working with your children and participating in their own individual learning.

I hold a Diploma of Teaching and I hold a full NZ teachers certification.

Fantail Room

Head Teacher


Serena Costello

Kia ora my name is Serena.  I hold a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Primary and a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood and I’m a fully certificated teacher. Developing children’s music and movement is a passion of mine. I love to set up new obstacle courses to further extend tamariki.  I have recently returned to teaching after being on maternity leave. In my spare time I like to go for walks with my partner and son Joshua. I look forward to meeting the tamariki and whānau.

Ngā mihi nui

Hi I'm Rach, I have been teaching for over 20 years and I love seeing children blossom to their true potential. I live in Rolleston with my husband and two children. In my spare time I love to catch up with my family, friends and pets, potter in the garden, do crafty stuff, bake  and read. I hold a Diploma of Teaching and I hold a full NZ teachers certification.

Rachael Jones

Regular Relieving Teachers