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


Tanyka Grieve

Pukeko Room 

Transition Kaitiaki

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.

Hi, I'm Tanyka! I am orignally from Wales but moved to NZ when I was 14 so I have been here a fair few years now (however if my accent can sound a bit funny at times -this is why!) I have recently returned to Rolleston after living in Timaru for the past 4 years with my husband Luke and our border collie Alfie. I have been teaching for over 6 years now and I am a fully registered teacher. I hold a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Performing Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education with full NZ teacher certification.
Areas of interests of mine are ensuring the environment is set up in an engaging way that ignites the children’s play in a fun and exciting way. I also have a passion around nurturing our emotional wellbeing and talking to the children about the way they are feeling, supporting them through their emotions and reading stories around this ensuring we are building up their emotional literacy. I look forward to getting to know you and your family more and finding out all the fun things you enjoy doing too!


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, .


Aimee May


Anna Du Pisani

Melissa G.jpg

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.

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! 

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

Melissa Groenewegen


Megan Wheal

My name is Megan. My husband and I have lived in Rolleston for the last 17 years.  We have two children, Sam who is 13 years old who loves his sport and the outdoors, and Abbey who is 10 years old who has a very compassionate caring we sole.  As a family we spend a lot of time in Twizel, boating, walking just generally in the outdoors.

I have been working in ECE for the last 6 and a half years.  I started out as a reliever working 3 days a week whilst juggling another job.  At the start of 2020 I decided I wanted to do the job that I found more rewarding and fulfilling.  So I gave up my job of 11 years to do just that.

I’m excited about getting to know the families and creating bonds with the children.


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.

 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. 


Nykita Graham

Kia ora, My name is Nykita and I have been working in ECE since
2018. I am currently working towards my Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) while I study online through New Zealand Tertiary College.
I am passionate about building reciprocal relationships filled with
care and aroha and value implementing and role modelling respectful practice.
My interests outside of work include trying to keep active and
spending as much time as I can with my family and friends. Ever since
I was young, I have been passionate towards children. This has become more evident since becoming an aunty in the past few years. I am looking forward to meeting and working together with you all!

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


Kate Chaney 

Kia ora whānau and tamariki, my name is Kate. I live here in Rolleston with my Husband, Will and our two children, Victoria and Arthur. We spend our weekends in the garden trying to cram in more fruit trees or out on adventures on the many playgrounds around. I am passionate about creating a love of learning and tamariki learning to face challenges with a smile. I hold a Bachelors of Teaching and Learning in ECE, a Diploma in Montessori Education and a Full NZ Teachers certification.

Regular Relieving Teachers


Bernie Gray