Meet our wonderful team of staff that supports and helps Riverview School to run at its best!
Principal: Mr Ken McLeay
MEdAdmin(Hons), MA, BEd, DipTchg, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning
This is my fourteenth year at Riverview School; I am delighted to be leading a highly competent and professional team, which seeks to provide the best education possible for the children attending here. I have been principal in six schools for over 30 years and many of my family, including two of my adult children, are teachers. It is a profession that helps to shape the future and, particularly, the future of those children in our school.
Deputy Principal / In charge of Years 4 - 6: Mrs Alison Ayr
MEd(Hons), PGDipEd, BEd, DipTchg
I have taught from Year 1 to Year 8, in Northland and Auckland, from small full primary schools to large intermediate schools; I have been a teacher, assistant/deputy principal, principal, and curriculum development facilitator. My curriculum interests are Literacy and Inquiry, with Writing being a passion; my teaching philosophy is focused on ‘raising the bar and closing the gaps’. My personal interests range from gardening to sailing.
Assistant Principal / In charge of Years 1 -3 / Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO): Mr John Bowron
BSocSci, PGDip(Prim Ed), PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning
I worked in a variety of teaching roles in Hamilton NZ, Hong Kong, Munich, and Prague before returning home in 2014, with my family. I thoroughly enjoy Science and Maths, and love being part of an exciting and creative environment that stimulates a love of learning. I am a keen sportsman and, although my competitive days have fallen away, I still love swimming and fishing, and I enjoy bike rides with my daughter around our neighbourhood as well as walks along the Kerikeri River.
Years 1-3 Staff
Room 1 / Year 1 teacher / Year 1 Team Leader (Team Kerikeri): Ms Trish Puharich
BEd, DipTchg, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning
I have taught for many years and in many places, including South Auckland, Wellington, London, and Kaihu Valley. My philosophy is to build up children’s self-esteem, making them feel confident about themselves, their strengths, and their learning. I am interested in Literacy, Art, Music, Creativity, and making learning fun. I enjoy teaching and have taught most levels but have a passion for teaching Juniors, as I believe there is a real ‘magic’ and enthusiasm around Years 0 - 4.
Room 2 / Year 1 teacher: Ms Karen Fletcher
BEd, Higher DipEd
I have taught in Christchurch, Auckland, Kent, Oxford, and was a sole-charge principal at Halkett School in Canterbury. I taught dance and drama at the Christchurch College of Education and have a passion for musical theatre. I enjoy teaching and have taught all levels, with a preference for Years 0-4. My teaching philosophy is to encourage children to ‘give things a go’ and to share their successes; being with like-minded people who spark off each other is important for our future thinkers. Subjects that I really enjoy are Literacy and the Arts. I love to travel.
Room 3 / Year 1 teacher: Ms Ellen Rhodes
MA (Applied Social Work), BA(Hons), PGDip(Prim Ed)
Before teaching, I worked in a range of sectors, including mental health, acquired brain injury, and child social work. My curriculum interests are Mathematics, Writing, The Arts, and Inquiry. My teaching philosophy is focused on building children's confidence and self-esteem by celebrating learning success, and supporting them to be, and to express, themselves in the classroom. My personal interests include spoken-word poetry, surfing, running, hiking, and generally being outdoors.
Room 8 / Year 2 teacher / Year 2 Team Leader (Team Ōkura): Mrs Sarah Hallgarth
My family and I moved to Kerikeri in 2016 from Hawkes Bay, and I began teaching at Riverview School in 2017. I have always taught in the Junior School area; I am a trained Reading Recovery teacher, and my curriculum interests are in Literacy. My interests include learning about sub-tropical gardening, exploring the beautiful Far North, photography, and spending time with friends and family.
Room 5 / Year 2 teacher: Mrs Lyn Draper
I have been associated with Riverview School since 1999 when my oldest child started as a 5-year-old. Both my children attended Riverview School, and I have been teaching here in a variety of roles since 2000. I particularly enjoy teaching in the Junior School and always encourage the children to be as independent as possible. My personal interests include living with chemical-free products, reading, and going for walks.
Room 6 / Year 2 teacher: Miss Alana Thorne
My interest in sport took me overseas, where I studied, worked, and lived in Scandinavia and Australia. My experiences and travels were character-building and have played an important role in my teaching style. I returned to New Zealand to pursue further study. I believe that building meaningful relationships is imperative in teaching, learning, and life itself. I have a great interest in Health and Physical Education. I am a volunteer firefighter and an avid adventurer in all elements: sea, land, and snow.
Room 9 / Year 3 teacher: Mrs Heather Heihei
No degree, so not many letters after my name, but I have over thirty years’ teaching experience, mostly in the junior/middle school. My passions are the Visual Arts, Music, and Maths. Personally, I am interested in soccer, rugby, camping, and reading the fantasy genre. I have three adult children who have all left the nest. I am a passionate artist who enjoys making mosaics and garden sculptures in my spare time.
Room 10 / Year 3 teacher / Year 3 Team Leader (Team Puketōtara) : Whaea Vicki Bell
BTchg, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning
Kia ora koutou. I am a passionate teacher and believe in making learning memorable and enjoyable for my students. My curriculum interests are Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Te reo Māori. My teaching philosophy is underpinned by ‘involving children in their learning and making it fun’. My husband and I raised our four children in Kerikeri, and are delighted to have returned to our favourite part of New Zealand. My personal interests are mountain biking, yoga, fishing, and diving.
Years 4-6 Staff
Room 7 / Year 3 / 4 teacher / Year 4 Team Leader (Rangitāne Team): Mrs Lynda Staples
My family and I immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa in 1999 and settled into living happily and safely in Kerikeri. I began teaching at Riverview School in 2001 so have been privileged to have been part of Riverview School since then. During this time, I have taught across Years 1, 2, and 3. My interests are varied, ranging from keeping myself fit and healthy to exploring my own creativity, while maintaining special relationships with my family and friends who live both here and all over the world.
Room 11 / Year 4 teacher: Mrs Karen Josephs
I have been teaching at Riverview School since 2004. My teaching interests include Literacy and the Arts. I particularly enjoy incorporating hands-on learning and social skills into the learning programme. I am committed to being a learner, using new ideas and thinking. Through technology, I keep up to date with current practice, looking for ways to help and support children with their learning. On a personal level, I enjoy walking, sewing, genealogy, music, and spending time with my family.
Room 12 / Year 4 teacher: Whaea Kemble Doddrell
Kia ora. I was raised, and completed my schooling, in Kaikohe. In 2017, I completed and received my BEd. I then took 2018 off to have and raise my son. I am passionate about Māori culture, the outdoors, and teaching in innovative and creative ways. I am proud to have strong ancestral ties to Te Tai Tōkerau, and still happily reside in Kaikohe with my partner and son.
Room 12 / Year 4 teacher: Mr Kurt Jefferies
MTchgLn (Primary), BSR (Outdoor Education), DORL
I gained a love for teaching and learning whilst working in the outdoor education sector. I have since taught in Auckland and Whangarei, and am now excited to be raising my two young boys in Kerikeri, and getting out in my kayak. I have a particular interest in numeracy, technology, and PE, and am passionate about creating a learning environment in which students are challenged, intrigued, and supported to develop positive learning and social dispositions.
Room 13 / Years 5/6 teacher: Miss Katrina Cooper
Teaching is the most rewarding profession, and I am privileged to be part of the Years 5 and 6 Waipapa Team for 2023. I completed my BEd in 2012, and have taught a variety of year levels. I believe in building relationships and scaffolding learning, so that students feel nurtured as their needs and interests are met. Every child should have the opportunity to develop a love for learning - “to teach is to touch a life for a lifetime”. My family was blessed with the arrival of my son, Te Awa, in September 2020. Outside of the classroom, I love creating memories with him, my friends, and family.
Room 14 / Years 5/6 teacher: Ms Dallas Andersen
I have taught here for many years, teaching across Years 1-6. I have four boys; three who have all moved on from their secondary education, and one in Year 13 at Kerikeri High School. My teaching philosophy is to create a safe and supportive environment where tamariki can: develop independence, take risks, get on well with others, and be supportive so that others can achieve. I enjoy teaching across the curriculum, but really love the learning done through sports and the Arts. If tamariki are happy and positive, they will enjoy learning and be successful.
Room 15 / Years 5/6 teacher / Years 5/6 Team Leader (Team Waipapa): Ms Vic Phillips
I first began teaching in Auckland in 2001 before moving to the UK for five years. While there, I trained as a dispensing optician, completing a Diploma in Dispensing Optics (FBDO). I have three children: one at Riverview School and two at Kerikeri High School. I am passionate about teaching Visual Art, dance, and drama. I enjoy camping, spending time at the beach, and paddle-boarding.
Room 16 / Years 5/6 teacher: Mrs Samantha Roessler
BTchg, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning
I was born in South Africa; by the time I moved here, it was my third continent move within four years. From South Africa, I moved to France, then to Dubai, where I met my husband, who brought me to Kerikeri in 2006, where he grew up. We have two children, both of whom attended Riverview School. My interests are exercise, card-making, and scrapbooking. I have a passion for digital technologies and languages.
Room 17 / Years 5/6 teacher: Miss Keren Matthews
I have been teaching for 18 years and have taught from Year 2 to Year 6 in Auckland and Wellington. At my previous school, I was Maths lead teacher and a team leader. I love teaching Maths, STEAM, and Literacy. I believe that building strong relationships is the key to a successful classroom and school. I am looking forward to living in such a beautiful part of New Zealand and being able to explore the Bay of Islands with my partner, who is a charter boat operator and a trained teacher.
Room 18 / Years 5/6 teacher: Mr Hamish Ward
PGDipEd (Digital Education), BEd(Prim)
I have been teaching for six years. Last year, I moved to the area from a small town south of Auckland, called Pukekohe. My wife and I have three girls aged 4, 11, and 12. I am passionate about exploring coding and STEAM projects. I love being outdoors, hunting and spearfishing.
Release and te reo Teachers
Release Teacher: Mrs Jenny Henderson
I have taught from Year 1 to Year 8, in both primary and intermediate schools in Auckland and Rotorua. I have even had time teaching in a boys’ high school. My curriculum interests are Literacy and Maths. I love to see all students achieving and having success to the best of their abilities. I have been living in Kerikeri for 15 years; we have three daughters and six grandchildren who live in Wellington, Waiouru, and Auckland. My interests range from reading and gardening to travelling.
Te reo Māori teacher: Mrs Leone Cooper
I have been at Riverview School since 2014, having previously taught full-time at intermediate and primary schools in Palmerston North, Gisborne, Whangārei, Whakatāne, and Taumarunui for over 20 years. My teaching passions include EOTC, te reo Māori, and Literacy. I am a life-long learner, having learnt to ride a motorcycle (both road and then trail) in my 30s, and how to SCUBA dive six years ago, gaining my Advanced Open Water certificate in 2015. I am still learning te reo Māori. I enjoy many crafts, including sewing, knitting, and cross stitch, and I am an avid gardener.
Release teacher: Mrs Frances McGregor
I have taught in many primary schools in Whangārei since 2008, mainly teaching at Onerahi Primary School, but recently moved back to my hometown, Kerikeri, after being away for many years. I am so happy to be able to raise our two boys in Kerikeri and for them to attend Riverview School. I am passionate about teaching Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and the Visual Arts, and about encouraging independent, confident, life-long learners. I enjoy yoga, walking, camping, and painting.
Release teacher: Mrs Tricia Hodgson
BEd, DipTchg, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning
I have been very fortunate to have worked across the year levels in most of the Bay of Islands primary schools. I have also been a volunteer, teaching English in Russia. In 1998, I assisted in a pilot study in education curriculum change for Santo, Vanuatu, and, for three years, I assisted with workshops for school leaders in Santo. In 2004, I was the regional recipient of the National Excellence in Teaching award, placing fourth nationally. My interests include cycling (road and mountain), gardening, cooking, and reading.
Office Manager: Mrs Judith Payton
Prior to moving to Kerikeri, I worked as the Office Manager in a community newspaper in Hawera, South Taranaki. In 1996, I moved to Kerikeri with my family; our three children all attended Riverview School. I am very passionate about the personal development of children and have a keen interest in watching them progress. My interests include netball, football, rugby, tennis, and ukulele.
Resource Manager / Receptionist/ Librarian: Ms Jo England
I was initially employed here as a teacher aide and librarian then, in 2014, I became receptionist and resource manager. I really enjoy my role, meeting new parents and students, and being there to help. Being a support person to so many people is challenging but very rewarding. It is also very rewarding seeing children catch the reading bug; once they are hooked, there is no going back! I have two adult children. Being creative is a big part of me being me and I like to show this as much as possible.
Receptionist: Mrs Karensa Baker
My family and I moved to Kerikeri in 2016 and our children, Holly and Alex, both attend Riverview School. Previously, I have worked in a number of support, project, and administration roles in NZ, Sydney, London, Dubai, and Singapore. I became interested in education and working with children through my involvement in the Kerikeri Playcentre and as a parent helper at school and at Kerikeri Kindergarten. My interests include walking, swimming, the outdoors, and anything to do with the water!
Finance Officer: Mrs Sharon Ryan
I have been involved in the finance and accounting sector for years, working in roles in local government and the finance industry. I have three grown-up children and was involved in their schooling as a member of Boards of Trustees and as a sports coach. Moving to Kerikeri in 2014 has provided me with the ideal place to enjoy my personal interests of walking, gardening, and fishing.
Caretaker: Mr Adrian Cookson
I’m proud to be the caretaker of Riverview School. I grew up in Auckland, where I worked at a hire firm for ten years, before my wife and I moved north to Houhora, where I worked as a greenkeeper and we started a family. We now have two sons and two daughters. We moved to Kerikeri thirteen years ago for better opportunities for our children. We have met some wonderful people here, and love living in Kerikeri. I enjoy fishing, playing golf, and spending time with my family.
Assistant Caretaker: Kirk Thomas
My wife and I moved to Kerikeri eight years ago with our two sons for a new adventure. I worked in a part-time capacity for the past three years at Riverview School before becoming the current Assistant Caretaker. I am a keen fisherman and I enjoy aquascaping.
Learning Support Assistant (LSA): Mrs Jan Dick
My husband and I moved from Auckland five years ago to a large property with plenty of gardening to do, which we both enjoy. Before coming to Kerikeri, I worked for the Ministry of Education in Auckland for 17 years, travelling around schools to help students with speech and language difficulties. I enjoy working here as a Learning Support Assistant; I enjoy the school environment and helping the children in all areas of literacy and vocabulary development. When not at school, I love to read, work in the garden, make patchwork quilts, bake, and visit cafes to enjoy a nice coffee.
ESOL Teacher / Learning Support Assistant (LSA): Ms Jeanine Walker
Teaching children is a real pleasure for me. I have worked in early childhood through to tertiary education in different capacities. I am a mother of three boys. When they are not keeping me busy, you will find me in the garden.
Learning Support Assistant (LSA): Mr Paul Mikkelsen
I have been teaching Early Childhood since 2013, teaching at Totara North ECE and Nurture by Nature. My teaching philosophy aligns with Piaget’s philosophy of learning through play. My years of experience with 4-5 year olds have been invaluable for my role as a Learning Support Assistant for the new entrants at Riverview School. My personal interests are inline hockey and gymnastics.
Learning Support Assistant (LSA): Mrs Jody Jordan
I joined the staff at Riverview School three years ago, as an OSCAR employee. Having arrived in the beautiful Far North with 19 years of support staff experience, I was then fortunate to be offered a position supporting students in the classroom. It is a pleasure working in such an inviting and positive environment with the reward of seeing the progress and growth of so many pupils. Outside school, I enjoy gardening, fishing, walking, and, of course, visiting Kerikeri’s many cafes and restaurants.
Learning Support Assistant (LSA): Mrs Sarah Fossett
I joined the staff at Riverview School in Term 1 of 2022, after moving to the Far North from Mangawhai, where I was a swimming instructor. I immigrated to New Zealand from the UK in 2017 with my family; we have enjoyed our time here and have settled in Kerikeri. Having the role of LSA is very rewarding, as I get to see the children develop and grow academically and personally. My spare time Is spent with my husband and three children, as well as running.
OSCAR Supervisor: Mrs Shelley Robinson
BA(Hons), PGCE (SecEd)
My family and I immigrated to New Zealand in 2009 when my son was only 6 months old. My daughter was born here in 2010 and is a true Kiwi! Prior to having children, I worked as a secondary school Geography teacher in a busy London school. Using my teaching skills and my love of helping children to flourish, I gained my first job in New Zealand as a Playcentre Extended Session Supervisor. Once the opportunity arose to work at Riverview OSCAR, I grabbed it, and now I supervise the entire programme. When I’m not working, I enjoy yoga, swimming, exploring Northland’s gorgeous beaches with my family, and SCUBA diving.