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.
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.
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.
I'm Jemma Shannon and I have been a Year 1 teacher at Te Totara since 2013. In 2020 I have been lucky enough to change my role and become part of the Learning Support team. I now teach Reading Recovery and work with different children in their classrooms supporting their different leanring needs. I love my new role and the different children I have taught and seeing how far they have come.
In my spare time I enjoy reading, listening to music, traveling and watching sport.
I look forward to what this year brings.
I am Deb Klein. I am part of the Reading Recovery team here at Te Totara. I feel extremely privileged to be teaching Reading Recovery, it is so rewarding watching a once hesitant reader gain confidence and enjoyment from books. Prior to teaching here I was a Junior Classroom teacher and Reading Recovery teacher at Aberdeen School. I live locally with Warren my husband, and our three daughters aged 7 to 13 years.
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, I'm Brenda Wollen and I have been teaching at Te Totara since 2010.
In my time at Te Totara I have enjoyed teaching acros a range of levels.
I have a particular interest in the feild of Information and Communiation Technology (ICT), which led me to further post graduate studies in ICT. I am always looking for ways to integrate technology in the classroom to enahnce the teaching and learning for my students.
When I am not teaching I enjoy apending time with my family and our little piece of paradise in the country, where we breed Dorper sheep and graze beef cattle.
I love reading, movies, theatre, spending time with family and friends and the great outdoors.
Kia U! All the best!
Learning Support Co-ordinator
Kia ora, my name is Jane Moroney, and I am looking forward to my new role as the Learning Support Coordinator at Te Totara School. This newly created position by the Ministry of Education will enable me to use my skills, knowledge and passion to support students with learning needs. Over the past 23 years, I have had the privilege of teaching students from Year 0 - Year 8. During this time, I took a particular interest in researching different ways of learning and neo-science. In the past, I held the position of co-ordinating teacher for TESOL ( Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at St Columba's School, which enabled me to complete a Graduate Diploma in TESOL. I am a passionate educator who enjoys identifying the learning needs of students and developing effective programmes to meet their individual needs, enabling them to reach their full potential and experience successes. It is a privilege to be part of the vibrant and dynamic Te Totara School team.