MANZ Council and Staff

Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand is governed by a voluntary council and managed by an executive and finance officer.

MANZ President
GILLIAN SOMERS  became the president of MANZ after the 2014 AGM. She was co-opted to MANZ Council in August 2007, elected in April 2008 and re-elected in 2010 and 2012. She is principal of New Zealand's oldest Montessori School. Gillian completed her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) 3-6 and 6-12  training in her native Ireland and then moved to New Zealand in the early 1990's. She taught at New Plymouth Montessori School and undertook her Diploma in Teaching Early Childhood Education. In 2005, Gillian took over as principal .The school comprises of 100 children from 3 - 6 year olds as well as supporting a Montessori primary unit of 30 children. Gillian was the chair of the Montessori Journey to Excellence Te ara ki huhuatanga Working Group.

MANZ Council
MICHELA HOMER was elected to MANZ Council in 2013 and was re-elected in 2015. She did her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) 3-6 diploma in London 1994 and worked in two Montessori centres in the U.K. She was centre manager for a small Montessori centre in Tauranga for two years.  She has finished her NZ diploma in early childhood education and a Bachelor of Education. Michela has contributed to the 


MANZ Council
ROSE PHILLIPS was first elected to MANZ Council in April 2009 and re-elected in 2011, 2013 and 2015.  Rose began her teaching career with Eastern Suburbs Montessori Primary in Auckland  and is currently the senior teacher of the Montessori Unit.  Rose completed her Montessori training at Toronto Montessori Teacher Training Institute, Canada.  She holds a teaching diploma from North Shore Teachers College and a BEd (Tchg) from the University of Auckland.  She completed her MEd (Literacy) from the University of Auckland in 2001 focusing her research on comparing reading achievement in Montessori and New Zealand state schools. Rose has also supported MANZ for many years with her contribution to the AUT Primary Consultative Committee.

MANZ Council
JAN GAFFNEY is the past-president of MANZ, a position she held from 2006-2014.  She was a 3-6 teacher for a number of years before teaching in the Montessori primary classes at Arthur St School, Dunedin, and Berhampore School, Wellington.  Today Jan is the principal of New Zealand's largest Montessori school, Wa Ora Montessori School, which spans 18 months to 18 years . She has completed her Master's degree in Montessori Integrated Learning and the University of Auckland Excelerator Leadership Programme. Jan has been on the working group for the Montessori Journey to Excellence Te ara ki huhuatanga since 2010. She is currently doing her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) 3-6 Diploma in Sydney, Australia with Pam Nunn.


MANZ Treasurer
ANNE-MARIE LOVE was elected onto MANZ Council at the 2014 AGM and to treasurer November, 2015. She is the managing teacher at the Montessori Children's House in Wanaka. Anne-Marie has been teaching in a Montessori early childhood environment for 20 years. After completing her Montessori diploma and working for a year in London, she returned to Dunedin. In 1998 the opportunity arose for her to take up the role as head teacher in Wanaka and she now leads a staff of 10. Anne-Marie has been a participant in the Montessori Journey to Excellence Pilot Programme (2013-14) and Montessori Children's House was a finalist in the inaugural Dr Nicola Chisnall Memorial Award in 2014. She began her Assocition Montessori Internationale (AMI) 3-6 training in Auckland in 2015.

MANZ Council
MAMIRA ALI has recently opened a new Montessori early childhood centre in Hamilton after working as centre manager at  Montessori @ The School House for five years. Previously she has worked as a Montessori teacher for more than nine years.  As a child Mamira attended Montessori schools in Pakistan and her children have all attended Montessori schools. Mamira stood for MANZ Council at the 2014 AGM, was co-opted by MANZ Council and elected on to the Council in 2015.

MANZ Council
CLAIRE NESDALE was elected to MANZ Council at the 2012 AGM, co-opted in 2014 and re-elected in 2015. Claire was also a founding member of the Montessori Journey to Excellence, Te ara ki huhuatanga, working group. Claire graduated from AUT University with a Bachelor of Education specialising in Montessori Education in 2006 under the mentorship of Nicola Chisnall. She has worked in the positions of Montessori directress, Head directress and is now now manager of Wee Wisdom Montessori schools located in South Auckland.


MANZ Council
KATIE THOMSON was elected onto MANZ Council at the 2015 AGM. She is currently the Lead Montessori Teacher at Ōrākei School Montessori, Auckland which opened in January 2017. Katie started her journey as a Montessori kaiako (teacher) by working at Montessori @ Bethlehem, Tauranga before moving up to Auckland. She has taught at Eastern Suburbs Montessori and was part of the team that started Meraki Montessori in 2015. Katie is completing her Montessori Diploma for teaching children aged 6-12 years and has also attended professional development on Montessori in Aged Care Settings, particularly with regard to dementia care. She is an active participant in the Montessori Journey to Excellence, Te ara ki huhuatanga, for Ōrākei School Montessori.





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MANZ Council
LOUISE BOOTH is originally from Ireland but has been living in NZ since Dec 2005. She completed her Bachelor in Humanities in Montessori Education (birth – 12 years) in 2004. As part of her bachelor she completed 4 years of Child Psychology and 4 years of Special Education. Louise has experience teaching in Montessori schools both in Ireland and NZ. IN 2006, Louise returned to study for her Graduate Diploma in ECE here in NZ. She is the owner of Little Einsteins Montessori, having 2 Montessori preschools in Mount Maunganui. Louise is very passionate about Montessori and is excited about the journey ahead for Montessori in Aotearoa.

MANZ Executive Officer
CATHY WILSON commenced working for MANZ in 2015 having been on the MANZ Council from 2011 to 2015 becoming the treasurer in 2013. She worked at Upper Valley Montessori and Mana Montessori before joining Wa Ora Montessori School in Lower Hutt in 1999, where she was the deputy principal. Cathy completed the Aperfield Montessori Diploma in 1998, Associated Montessori Internationals (AMI) diploma in 2010 and worked as a tutor for Aperfield Montessori  2008 - 2015. She has delivered nurmerous workshops for the Early Childhood Council, Victoria University and MANZ.and presented at Early Childhood Council and MANZ conferences.  Cathy joined the working group of MJ2Ex ( Montessori Journey to Excellence) Te ara ki huhuatanga in 2011 and is curretntly studying towards her Masters degree through Massey University. Cathy is available to run professional development tailored for you.

 MANZ Administration and Accounts Officer
MEENA WU commenced worksing for MANZ in 2016.