Our Team

“By teaching children to think outside the box, our children may just save our world, or equally as important grow up to be the best fathers and mothers, mentors & leaders. In my mind, ours is the most important work.”

Kelli Booth

Centre Founder
Educational Social Worker Min Ed
Dip Visual Arts, Dip TV & Film
Montessori Experience 19 years

I established Riverhead Montessori out of a desire to make a positive difference to our children in their important developmental years from age 1-6. As an Educational Social Worker with the Ministry of Education for emotionally dysfunctional children, I saw tangibly how the opportunities we expose our children to during their formative years impacts greatly on who they become as adults. As a mother of three children (Bailey, Tom, and Lexie) I felt there was clearly a better way to educate our young and dreamed of creating an environment that is loving, all-encompassing and enriching. I have gathered a team of wonderful Montessori educators who have the same passion and commitment to making a positive difference to children in their preschool years. I have a background in broadcast and print media has led to a truly creative centre full of exciting tools and opportunities for nurturing, educating and playing.

My aim is to ensure every child leaves Riverhead Montessori well prepared for life with a set of skills that allows them to succeed at whatever they choose.  This has now been realised thousands of times over and continues to fill me with joy and a genuine love for what I do.

Rachel Campbell

Centre Manager & Administrator

Hi I’m Rachel, I am from the UK; originally emigrated with my family here in 2001 but since then have lived back in the UK for a number of years before finally settling back in New Zealand end of 2016 and becoming part of the RMLC Whanau.

I have always had a passion for working with children and have experience working in a variety of child-care based roles including after school care, working in a play centre, nannying as well as centre-based care. I was first introduced to Montessori whilst working in a nursery school in the UK and have loved learning more about the philosophy over the years and incorporating it into my practice. In my spare time I enjoy dancing, gaming and spending time with friends and family.

Irenne Gamil-Ponio

Centre Manager & Tui Nest- Qualified Teacher

I am Irenne, a qualified and registered teacher from the Philippines. I earned most of my qualifications overseas, including my Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts. When I moved to New Zealand in 2020, I did volunteer work in an ECE centre in Hamilton which reignited my childhood dream of becoming an early childhood educator. Hence, I decided to pursue my Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching EarlyChildhood Education to gain specialist knowledge in this area.

As a mother of two boys, Yuri Gabrielle and Zeph Gabrielle. I see children as innately wise and capable, able to develop confidence and self-regulation. Being an early childhood educator provides me with an opportunity to become a part of children’s education endeavour; supporting them to achieve their absolute best, made possible in close collaboration with other professionals and their whanau.

Thomas Coghlan

Whare Kea- Qualified Teacher

My name is Thomas Coghlan and I have just recently moved to New Zealand from America. My wife and four children (Penny -12, Becker -14, Al - 16, and Ella - 18) have joined me as well and we are very excited to explore our new home.

I have a deep love for learning and have earned undergraduate degrees in Literature and Journalism and a graduate degree in Education. Additionally, I have earned an AMI Elementary Montessori certificate (ages 6 to 12). Prior to moving to New Zealand, I was a public-school teacher for 7 years. I taught children ages 9 to 12 in a Montessori classroom in my hometown of Spokane, Washington. Before I became a teacher, I worked for the federal government as an analyst for 10 years.

Although my experience is primarily with older children, I have always loved working with young children. The first few years of a child’s life is so important, and I believe that Maria Montessori’s method of early childhood education offers the child the tools they need to grow into the type of adults this world needs.

Euan Docherty

Whare Kea Teacher

Kia Ora Koutou, my name is Euan Docherty, and I am a NZ registered and qualified ECE Teacher. My family moved to New Zealand in 2005 and I have grown up here since, I found my passion for teaching through my time in college and university. Prior to joining the wonderful RMLC team, I had worked both part-time and full-time in a handful of different centres. Working alongside different teachers and families, I have found a passion for working with our tamariki and enjoy being able to create a nurturing environment for them to learn in. I developed a love for Montessori through working in a few Montessori centres, which provided me with learning opportunities and the skills to confidently work with our tamariki. Outside of work in my spare time I enjoy hiking, fishing, gaming and spending time with my partner and friends.

Odessa Tablarin

Tui Nest- Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora! My name is Odessa from the Philippines - a NZ registered and qualified ECE as well as a certified ESOL teacher. Being a part of the Riverhead Montessori team has been an honour and a privilege as I am provided with great opportunities to be a linguistically and culturally responsive early childhood teacher. This has allowed me to support young learners in New Zealand. and an advocate of quality early learning. Since children’s characteristics are unique, their learning styles and preferences should be valued, and learners’ multiple intelligences should also be developed. They can reach their full potential if they are provided with invaluable opportunities and substantial experiences to explore, discover, and create something in order to hone their skills and abilities as well as to build their confidence to become valued contributors to society in the future.

Vicky Walton

Whare Kea- Qualified Teacher

Hi, my name is Vicky, and I am a Primary School teacher from the UK.  I have been in New Zealand for 6 years now, where I have worked as a teacher and have had the pleasure of working at some wonderful schools. This is my first time working at a pre-school, so I am very much looking forward to learning some new skills, as well as working with all the fantastic Kea children and staff at RMLC. My little girl, Georgina, is in the Tui nest. So occasionally you might see me popping back and forth to the nest. I live in Taupaki with my partner, Ben, baby Georgina and our dog, Teddy. When I am not at work you will find me outside, riding my horse or enjoying a walk and finding a nice spot to sit and have a coffee, whilst Teddy has a swim.I have been lucky to do a lot of travelling around New Zealand and have been to most places. I think my favourite place is the Able Tasman, where we enjoyed some beautiful walks. I enjoy teaching literacy the most and I especially lovereading. My most favourite children’s books are Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and The  Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the children and families at R

Gordia-Anne Hattingh

Montessori Trained ECE 15 years
Reliever & In-House Montessori Trainer

My name is Gordia.  I am a passionate Montessori teacher who has been involved in Montessori Centres for many years. You have seen me around in both Whare Kea and Tui Nest as I am a relief teacher. I really enjoy working with these age groups as they have so much to offer, and we both learn alongside each other on a daily basis.

Murrey Lockie


I am the caretaker here at Riverhead Montessori. You will find me mowing the lawns, cleaning the fish tank, fixing things around the school or in the shed or making things for the classroom.