Office: 8:15am - 4pm • Phone: 09 407 7277 • Mobile: 021 1077 110

Our Staff

Meet our wonderful team of staff that supports and helps Riverview School to run at its best! 

Executive Team

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: Miss Katrina Cooper


Teaching is the most rewarding profession, and I am privileged to be part of the Year 1 Kerikeri Team for 2024.  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 19 / Year 1 teacher / Mrs Michelle Tweedy

BA(Hons) Business Studies, PGDip Human Resource Management, PGDip Primary Education.

Before becoming a teacher, I worked here as a Learning Support Assistant and as the Receptionist; I also have nine years’ experience working in the field of human resources.  I became passionate about learning when I was a parent helper in my son Leif’s Year 1 class (he is 15 this year [I also have a 28-year-old stepson]).  My teaching philosophy is focused on building a safe environment in which all tamariki feel included and supported in their learning.  My curriculum interests are Mathematics, Literacy, The Arts, and te reo Māori.  My personal interests include pottery, walking, swimming, surfing, and being at the beach.

Room 4 / Year 2 teacher: Miss Serena Gilmore

BEd, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning

I have taught across a wide range of year levels; I am passionate about literacy learning and using PR1ME Maths.  I have enjoyed used STEM in the classroom to help develop some Science and Maths concepts and social skills, and I love using a hands-on approach to create confidence and agency with learners.  I live in Kerikeri on a small lifestyle property, making the most of everything that the Bay of Islands has to offer.  My personal interests are hiking, diving, fishing, and running.

Room 5 / Year 2 teacher: Mrs Lyn Draper

BEd, DipTchg

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

BTchg (Prim)

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 8 / Year 3 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 9 / Year 3 teacher: Ms Paula Walker

BEd, Dip in Teaching

Kia ora koutou. A teacher in primary schools for many years, I started my career in Otago then moved on to Auckland.  I have raised four children and gained a wealth of experience teaching at a number of great West Auckland schools.  Exploring my passion for writing, became an accredited PLD provider for schools across Aotearoa.  With the aim of lifting student achievement in writing, I worked alongside many dedicated teachers, learning much from them in the process. Recently, my partner and I decided on a lifestyle change and moved to beautiful Northland.  We now have two dogs and two cats to spoil, and plenty of visits from grown children keen to get out of the big city.  Excited to return to the classroom, I look forward to being part of the Riverview School whānau.

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

PGDipEdLit, BTchg

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, 3, and 4. 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

BEd, DipTchg

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: 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 Keren Matthews

BEd(Prim Tchg)

I have been teaching for 19 years and have taught from Year 2 to Year 6 in Auckland and Wellington.  I love teaching Maths, STEAM, and Literacy.  I believe that building strong relationships is the key to a successful classroom and school.  I enjoy 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 also a teacher.

Room 14 / Years 5/6 teacher: Ms Dallas Andersen

BEd, DipTchg

I have taught here for many years, teaching across Years 1-6.   I have four sons, all of whom have been through the education system in Kerikeri.  My teaching philosophy is to create a safe, 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, 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: all 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 / Years 5 & 6 Team Leader (Wairoa Team):  Mrs Catherine Ross-Taylor

BEd, DipTchg, PGCert in Digital and Collaborative Learning

I have taught for 35 years, from New Entrants to Year 7, from a small school in the Manawatu to a large school on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, before starting here in 2012.   I am passionate about Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and the Visual Arts.  My interests include cooking,  gardening, reading, boating/fishing, bike riding, and playing the guitar and ukulele.  I have two bonus daughters (step), and three grandchildren.

Room 18 / Years 5/6 teacher: Mr Hamish Ward

PGDipEd (Digital Education), BEd(Prim)

I have been teaching for seven years.  In 2022, I began here at Riverview School, having 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 Toni Mason


After receiving my Bachelor of Education, I began my teaching career at Whangaparaoa Primary in 2003. I have taught across the Junior, Middle, and Senior School areas. I love working with children; I get the opportunity to create, explore and learn, with every day being different.  My family and I moved back to my hometown, Kerikeri, at the beginning of 2023. My interests include gardening, paddle boarding, travelling, and spending time with my family. 

Te reo Māori teacher: Mrs Leone Cooper

BEd, DipTchg

I have been at Riverview School since 2014, having previously taught 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 to SCUBA dive nine years ago, gaining my Advanced Open Water certificate.  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 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.  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.


Support Staff

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; our son, Alex, attends Riverview School while our daughter, Holly, has just started at Springbank 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 nine years ago with our two sons for a new adventure.  I worked in a part-time capacity for 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 several 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

BEd(PrimTchg), PGDipECE

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 five 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 contract 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.