Our teachers

Lynn MacGillivray (Owner/manager)
Lynn MacGillivray Owner/manager Belmont Montessori Preschool, Auckland, NZ

Tena Koutou

Why I became the owner of Belmont Montessori - I owned and managed Birkenhead Point Montessori for 8 years.  I have 17 years of experience as a multi trauma and neurological rehabilitation nurse where I helped people learn to believe they could regain some control and independence of their lives.  I have transferred those skills into a management position where I can support teachers to enable children to believe in themselves, no matter how tricky the learning may appear at the time.  "Help me do it myself" (Maria Montessori)

What I love about owning Belmont Montessori - I love the moments where I see children learning to be instinctively altruistic and empathetic towards each other.  I also really enjoy the moments when parents seek me out for support and problem solving when the going gets tough with parenting.  Lastly I love when the children laugh at my not so great Scottish sense of humour.

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori - I hope to bring a sustainable, reflective, happy and kind workplace for children, parents, caregivers, whanau and teachers so they feel proud about being part of our little community.

Fun fact about me - I have a wee miniature Cavoodle dog called Rosie.  She comes everywhere with me.

Tena Koutou

Why I became a teacher - I was very lucky to have been born and raised in a wholesome, supportive community in Rarotonga.  My family, friends, teachers and the wider community have greatly contributed to teaching me my culture, who I am as a person and how to contribute to others.  In simply being taught, I in turn wanted to become a teacher, to hopefully become a small link in the support chain in children's lives.

What I love about teaching - Every day is different!  Every child is different.  Learning about a child's unique qualities and seeing them grow holistically is very rewarding.

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori - A vision to connect the children with the people, place and things in the Devonport and wider area.  Using my skills and knowledge, I aim to develop a local curriculum to build confident life-long learners that will respect themselves, their environment and others.

Fun fact about me - I was a dancer in a professional Cook Island team for 6 years.  We travelled the world often and my favourite dance tour was to Disneyland.

Mata Priest
Head Teacher
Candice Willmore
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Tena Koutou

Why I became a teacher -My daughter went to a Montessori pre-school. I watched her blossom in the environment she was in and I just loved the whole Montessori teaching approach and ethos. I went back to study teaching when she was 2 years old. I wanted to open up a Montessori Pre-school and make a difference to the children in our community. 

What I love about teaching - It’s an honour being able to teach children at such a crucial point in their lives. I love teaching them about life, watching them grown and develop into confident little people. After years of teaching you realise what an impact you can make and what a privilege it is.

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori - I have many years of Montessori teaching experience and have been running my own school in Cape Town, South Africa for 11 years. I know that in order for children to learn they need to be in a happy, safe, nurturing and fun environment and I will do my best to provide this for them.

Fun fact about me - I abseiled off Table Mountain last year to raise funds for the SPCA! (Animal Welfare)

Tena Koutou

Why I became a teacher - I wanted to pass on my love to the children.  I love working with children and figuring out what makes them tick.  I wanted to help unlock learning mysteries for children and help them learn to love learning.

What I love about teaching - I believe that learning is a life-long journey and we never stop.  I love seeing little faces light up with a smile when I open the door to the classroom every morning.  I love when all of a sudden I feel my leg being hugged and I look down at a child smiling up at me telling me they love me.  I also enjoy seeing and assisting children getting ready to enter their school life.

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori - I aim to foster in children: love, trust and creative learning and the joys these aspects bring to their well-being and growth by providing quality care to make each day a new day

Fun fact about me - I am married with one boy and one girl, Ryan and Zoey.  Being a mum and a teacher is really hard, but it is totally worth it.  No other job in the world is as rewarding as being a parent.  Being a teacher is like being a parent to many more children, so the reward is huge!

Cherry Zhang
Cherry Zhang Belmont Montessori Preschool Teacher, Auckland, NZ
Kellie Burch
Kellie Burch Belmont Montessori PreschoolTeacher, Auckland, NZ

Tena Koutou

Why I became a teacher -When I became a mum, I became very interested and passionate about how children learn and develop.  Seeing how much my child enjoyed learning as she grew and developed, made me realise that I wanted to to be a teacher.

What I love about teaching - I love seeing the enjoyment that children get from learning something new.  Seeing their faces light up and gain that sense of empowerment as they learn and realise they can achieve their goal.  I love that every day brings something new and I also continue to learn from the children as much as they learn from me.

What I hope to bring to the children of Belmont Montessori - In my role as a teacher, I believe it is very important that all children feel welcomed, respected and that they can communicate their ideas and feelings with confidence.  I encourage children to express their creativity and follow their own interests in their learning, and support them as they establish and maintain positive relationships and friendships with others.

Fun fact about me - I really love to read books.  I love them so much that I have huge collection of books at home, which continues to grow!  There are so many books I want to read and there is just not enough time to read them.