Priority Learners and Mentor Teacher
Hi my name is Michele Gordon, I have a variety of roles at Te Totara Primary School. I am the leader of the schools Mentoring Programme for Begining Teachers. This means I help them with their planning, and assist them in their classrooms to ensure that their teaching is catering for the needs of their students. I also help Jennie Brooke-Watt with our Teacher Aide Programmes. As Leader of Priority Learners I check in with teachers and offer advise and help for those students who are struggling with their learning.
I am an experienced teacher who has a passion for Literacy. I have written and published many student readers. I am married and have a teenage daughter. We enjoy the outdoors and relaxing at Whangamata Beach.
Kia Ora Koutou
My name is Sally Mowbray. I completed my Diploma of Teaching and Bachelor of Education Degree in 1991 and began teaching at a school in Rotorua. I entered into a senior teaching role early on in my teaching career in Rotorua. When I moved to Hamilton I secured a job at Tamahere Model Country School and taught there for several years prior to the birth of my first son, Alyx in 2002. I soon returned to work full time at Tamahere School until the birth of my second son, Marc in 2004.
Missing my family I returned to Rotorua and opened a Homewares Business for a change. In 2008 I moved back to Hamilton with my boys and worked in the school they were attending. When I moved house, I started working at Te Totara School as a relief teacher. I am now working full time as a CRT(Classroom Release Teacher) of the senior teachers/ beginning teachers in the school. My passion in teaching and learning is Literacy, Numeracy, the Arts and Sports.
My hobbies include the outdoors, travelling- because it expands the mind!, reading, art and exercise.
My role as a support teacher at Te Totara is to give CRT (Classroom Release Time) to our leadership teachers and classroom teachers. Over the year I will be fortunate to teach in nearly all classes.
I enjoy working with all age groups, and a major highlight of my job is to work with your children year after year and see them grow as young people.
Outside of school I was lucky to be a stay at home dad to our twin girls for several years. I also have a wide and varied background and interests. I have competed internationally in sport. I have spent time in the army and travelled and lived overseas extensively. I enjoy tramping and a huge passion of mine is cycling.
My name is Suzanne Newrick and I am the specialist music teacher at school. I began my teaching career 36 years ago and for the last 14 years I have specialised in teaching music. I joined the Te Totara staff in 2009 when I moved from Auckland and since joining the staff I have enjoyed working part time as a music specialist and a support teacher.
I use the Orff Approach to teach music and have completed my level one and level two Orff courses. The Orff method is a way of teaching children about music that engages their mind and body through a mixture of singing, dancing, acting and the use of percussion instruments. The Orff method often uses intruments like xylophones, metallophones, marimbas and glockenspiels but I also like to introduce children to the ukulele and the recorder.
My name is Kelly Fletcher and I have been part of Te Totara Primary School since it opened. I have had the pleasure of teaching Year 2,3,4,5 and 6 during my teaching career. I have also been a Team Leader and have teams with all those levels. I left in 2014 to have my first child and have worked part time at Te Totara ever since. This year I am working as a Mentor Teacher with Jessica Grimson and Craig McAuley. You may also see me in other classes around the school.
I am an experienced Teacher who enjoys seeing the students and teachers that I work with learning and progressing in their learning journey. I am married and have 2 sons who keep me very busy. I am looking forward to this year at Te Totara Primary School.
Kiaora! My name is Sarah Kovacs. I am teaching reading recovery for the rest of the 2017 school year. I have over 20 years teaching experience, teaching in Hamilton, United Kingdom and Auckland schools. I have taught all levels but am passionate about teaching in the Junior school.
I am married to Jani and we have two children aged 7 and 9. We have just returned to Hamilton from Auckland after living there for 13 years.
In my spare time, I love to travel, I like to craft, have an interest in photography and spend time as a family doing things together.
My name is Annette Toombs and I have recently retired from full time teaching after 30 years in the classroom. I am an experience Junior school teacher with skills in working with both Gifted and Talented and Special Needs children. My last position was in a Normal school and I have many years experience at working with trainee teachers, and alongside the Faculty of Education.
Retirement has given me the freedom to work part-time, day to day relieve and volunteer in schools, as well as having the time to enjoy my 4 grandchildren and be involved in their lives. In our spare time my husband and I enjoy reading, gardening and supporting our 2 grown up boys and their families .
It is a privilege to be teaching at Te Totara School and I look forward to sharing in your child's learning.
Kia ora koutou, my name is Whaea Becky and 2018 is my tenth year at Te Totara Primary. I love being part of such a vibrant, busy and dynamic place. My school role is quite different this year as I am supporting English Language Learners for three days a week within our school, then working within the Kahui Ako (Our Community of Learning) with teachers from other schools for the other two days.
My teaching career began in 1997. I have taught all year levels from Year 0-10 and in both mainstream and Maori Empasis classrooms. During this time I have also been involved in adult education, lecturing in Mathematics Education at the UNversity of Auckland for a semester, working as a visiting mentor for 13 Auckland schools for a year and supporting student teachers in Professional Practice tutorials.
I believe that all learners should be encouraged to be creative thinkers, self managers and risk takers with a high level of resilience and initiative - while being mindful that they are a part of a larger community (a classroom, a school, a family). I strongly believe that 'difference' and diversity in culture, learning styles and 'ways of being' should be celebrated, enjoyed and catered for. I try to provide a learning programme which inspires curiosity and excitement, is interactive and allows the students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning.
I have a Masters Degree (1st class) in Education with a dual focus of Mathematics Education and Teacher Supervision / Professional Development. I love learning and take time to study myself, continuing to be a 'lifelong learner' alongside my students. 2018 is my 11th year at university and I am excited to be completing another post graduate qualification in teaching English as an additional language. I will use this to better meet the needs of the learners in my TESSOL roll this year.
My partner and I live in zone. We have two amazing sons, both of whom attended Te Totara. One is at Hamilton Boys' High School and the other is at Rototuna High School. We enjoy watching movies together (especially Sci-Fi), geocaching, and walking our dogs.