Our Team

Libby Hunt

Director / Early Childhood Educator 

Kia ora, my name is Libby Hunt and I am the centre owner/director here at Nurserydale Childcare; I joined Nurserydale in May 2014 and have never looked back, enjoying every moment!   

My husband, Pete and I have three adult sons who are in various stages of University and starting their careers.  I hold a Diploma of Teacher Early Childhood (1989) and also completed Level 3 of the Playcentre Certificate (2006).
I have taught in early childhood centres and primary schools for 25 plus years, eight of those at Maungawhau Playcentre, where I also mentored new mothers and organised/facilitated ECE training.
Nurserydale is a small, family orientated centre with genuinely strong, respectful and loving relationships between the teachers and children. The first thing that strikes you when you walk into the centre is how happy, confident and settled our children are.

I have a strong passion for early childhood education, believing this is the most important time of a child’s life.  Children need to be at the forefront of every decision we make as a teaching team and I am enjoying the challenge of continually moving forward with research and implementing best practise.


Haere tū atu, hoki tū mai

Kay Penman

Early Childhood Educator 

Hi, my name is Kay Penman and I am the 2-i-C at Nurserydale Childcare. I hold a NZQA qualification in Early Childhood. I have lived in Birkdale for 45 years and I have spent over 25 years teaching and caring for the children at Nurserydale.

My own child attended Nurserydale and I know first-hand how well our children are cared for and extended in this nurturing environment.

I am committed to empowering and supporting children and their families so together we can help our children to become well-rounded, confident and competent learners.

Michelle Rodriguez

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora! My name is Michelle. I gained my ECE qualifications in the Philippines and New Zealand. I have worked in various learning environments in the Philippines and Brunei with children from four to seven years old.

I moved to New Zealand in 2010. In the New Zealand setting, I have early childhood experience working with children from 0 to 5 years old, most of which has been with Infants and Toddlers.

At present I live locally, here in Birkdale, with my husband. I joined Nurserydale in November 2016.  I believe that having one constant key caregiver is important for our youngest learners and I am glad to be in an environment that supports this.

Cathie Hunter

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora, my name is Cathie Hunter.  I have worked in ECE for 18 years, 13 of these years being at Nurserydale.  I am a registered teacher in Early Childhood, completing my training in 2006.  In 2017 I completed a Certificate in Te Ara Reo Māori and use Te Reo every day in my teaching practice.

Over the 13 years I have seen many children and their families pass through our centre.  The teaching staff have all worked together for a very long time, which makes us a strong dedicated team.  We are family oriented and as most of us have lived in the area most of our lives, we have gotten to know the families well.


The children in our centre are happy, energetic, curious learners.  We are dedicated to ensuring the children in our care get the best possible start to their learning adventure.

About me:  I love what I do, each child is an individual with their own likes, dislikes and ways of dealing with their world. I am blessed to be able to spend time getting to know these children, to understand who they are and how they learn. Helping a child explore, inquire, learn and grow, in a way that is right for them is a very special part of being an Early Childhood Teacher.

Elena Lu

Early Childhood Educator 

I have been working with children as an ECE teacher since 2014 and I was thrilled to join the Nurserydale family in June 2021. I was born in Hainan, China. It is a beautiful island there are many breath-taking natural beaches, coconut trees and tropical fruits. I am fortunate to been raised in a warm and loving family. I am a daughter, sister, wife and teacher. 

I see myself as a teacher who is responsive, caring and enthusiastic. I strongly believe that each child is a unique and special young learner, and as a teacher, I have the great responsibility to create an inspiring, positive and responsive learning environment that caters for each child.

Kaliyani Reddy

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora, my name is Kaliyani Reddy.  I am originally from Fiji, and moved to New Zealand to settle with my boys here.  I have two boys and now two grandchildren. I have a Bachelor of Teaching in ECE and have worked at Nurserydale for 10 years as a childcare educator. 

I originally began working as an untrained reliever in Early Childhood centres around Aucklan; this is how I first came to work at Nurserydale in 2009.  I enjoyed the work at Nurserydale and eventually became a permanent teacher aide here.  In 2013 I decided to study towards a Bachelor of Teaching ECE while continuing to teach part-time at Nurserydale.

Working with children is my passion and I hope to keep doing this for a long time.  At Nurserydale we work as a team to build a safe and nurturing environment for our children and their whanau.

Maureen Ortiz

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora, my name is Maureen Ortiz and I am from the Philippines.  In the Philippines I studied my bachelor’s degree in education and gained units in a Masters of Education (Early Childhood).  I have teaching experience in preschools and in various grade levels of primary school back in the Philippines.
Since arriving in New Zealand with my husband, I have worked at different early learning centres and have been granted provisional teacher registration.  I am currently working to gain my full registration.

I now live in Birkenhead and have been teaching here at Nurserydale since March 2020.  The position of being an Early Childhood teacher challenges me to be creative, nurturing, and most of all, patient. I am particularly enjoying working with 3-5 age group and supporting their learning and current interests.

Ayla Goodwin

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia ora everyone! My name is Ayla and I have been a part of the Nurserydale team since December 2017.  I lived in Kaitaia for a majority of my life but moved to Auckland in 2014 to study the Bachelors of Early Childhood Education.  


I completed and graduated in December 2016 and relieved at various centres on a casual basis until I started here at Nurserydale Childcare.  I have a strong passion and desire to work with young children and I always knew this was the career path I wanted to take.  


Working with children brings me so much joy and every day brings something different. 

Dee Dee Htun

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora, everyone. My name is Dee Dee Htun, I am really happy to join the team at Nurserydale. I was originally from Burma and moved to New Zealand in 2001. I completed my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education in 2016 and have been working with infants and toddlers for the last 3 years.

I am currently enjoying working with the two year old children at Nurserydale and being part of the 0-3 Continuity of Care team.  

I am passionate about early childhood education and working in an environment that supports learning.  At Nurserydale teachers take care to look after not just the children and their whanau, but also each other. 

Jamie Parola

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora, my name is Jamie and I am originally from the Philippines.  I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education in 2012 and finished my Graduate Diploma course in ECE at New Zealand Tertiary College in 2019.  I am provisionally registered and am currently working on gaining my full registration.

Since arriving in New Zealand I have been teaching 3-4 year olds but I am now loving working with the toddlers as part of the Continuity of Care team.  I am passionate about creating rich and meaningful learning experiences for our tamariki whilst at the same time creating an environment that is like a home away from home.

Nobuko Kuroda

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia ora, Konnichiwa. My name is Nobuko Kuroda, originally from Osaka, Japan. I came to New Zealand in the late 90’s and have lived in Beach Haven/Birkdale since 2007. My three children have attended local schools and my youngest one currently enjoys his school life. I am blessed to be a member at the Nurserydale where has the 50 years plus history in the community and working with an awesome team from January 2021. 
I gained a Bachelor of Education ECE specific Montessori from AUT in 2005 and have been a qualified kaiako/teacher since.  I have taught in a Montessori Preschool, a Community creche and other ECE centres while balancing my family needs. 
My personal teaching philosophy is putting children first and building a trustful relationship by responsive and reciprocal communications. Then, the children will learn and explore well in the safe and stimulating environment. 

Leigh Penman

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia ora, my name is Leigh Penman, but the kids call me Leelee.  I have lived most of my life in Birkdale and have enjoyed working at Nurserydale since 1998.  I have two children and two grandchildren.  


I love working at Nurserydale as every day is different and the families have such a strong sense of community.  This environment is rich in learning for both the children and teachers alike.

Charmaine Bhana

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia ora my name is Charmaine Bhana, I am a fully registered Early Childhood educator and I am currently relieving at Nurserydale.  I have worked at Nurserydale on and off for the past 21 years and have built strong relationships with the families in the community.
I am passionate about the development and early learning of young children, and enjoy seeing children develop a love for learning.

Julie Corke

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia Ora, my names is Julie Corke.  I have been a reliever here at Nurserydale for the past 10+ years.  I have lived on the North Shore with my husband and children for the last 25 years and now have been blessed with four beautiful grandchildren.

I have always loved working with young children and enjoy the friendly, relaxed and nurturing environment you immediate feel when you walk into Nurserydale.

Sarah Flynn

Early Childhood Educator 

Kia ora everyone, my name is Sarah.  I am currently a second year Bachelor of Education student at AUT. After completing a practicum in the four year old group in 2020 I joined the Nurserydale team as a reliever.  

Leah Ransfield

Cook and Reliever

Kia ora, my name is Leah and I started working at Nurserydale as a casual staff member in 2017 -spending the majority of my time working with the children and occasionally in the kitchen preparing meals for the children. Last year I took up the permanent position of chef for the centre, which I thoroughly enjoy.

I am married and have an 8year old son. We moved to the Birkdale/Beachhaven area almost six years ago and I have enjoyed the sense of belonging in this community.  I also enjoy helping out on school trips and sporting events.  I am in my third year of studying Te Reo Māori (where I met Cathie) currently doing Level 5 through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. 

I love working at Nurserydale, both the staff and children are amazing!