Staff 2023


The staff at Jacaranda Preschool are experienced educators with qualifications ranging from Early Childhood Teachers, Diploma Qualified Educators and Certificate III Educators. All staff are required to have current VIT Registration (Teachers), Working with Children Checks, Anaphylaxis training, Emergency Asthma Management, First Aid and CPR training qualifications.

Professional development training and workshops keep all staff informed and abreast of current teaching theories and practices.

 

JULIE MAURDEV  

Teacher/Educational Leader (Kingsway Drive) - Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education), Graduate Diploma of Educational Studies

Julie is the Educational Leader and Teacher of the 4 year old Yellow Group and 3 year old Possum Group. Julie joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2007 and brings with her over 23 years experience in teaching preschool age children. Julie was instrumental in organising the City of Whittlesea's first Bush Kinder Program at Jacaranda Preschool - Kingsway Drive. The program commenced in 2012 and has continued to grow and develop. In 2019, Yellow Group piloted a Bush Kinder Program at Huskisson Reserve.  Julie also has great pride in leading Kingsway Drive to obtain the status of "Exceeding" the National Quality Standards in 2012, 2017 and 2022.

 

KATE DIGNEY

Teacher/Nominated Supervisor (Nebel Street) - Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood)

Kate joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2013 and is the Teacher of the 3 Year Old Koala Group and the 4 Year Old Orange Group at Nebel Street. Kate has a background in social work where she has worked as a Case Manager for people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities. Kate has four daughters and loves spending time with them and being involved in their activities. After being inspired with Preschool through her own children’s experiences, Kate decided on a career change and completed her teaching degree in 2012. Kate’s favourite kinder experience is reading books, cooking, gardening and creating with the children.

 

EMMA REIMERS

Teacher/Nominated Supervisor/Educational Leader (Nebel Street) - Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood)

Emma first joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2005 as a part-time Teacher and only left to seek full-time employment. Jacaranda Preschool were able to offer Emma a full-time position in 2012 and she was more than happy to return and was instrumental in securing the Nebel Street site in 2013 where she now resides as the teacher of the 4 year old Purple Group, team teaching with Anna. Emma’s favourite Kindergarten experience is watching the children’s independence grow during the year.

 

JOANNE ARGYROPOULOS

Teacher (Kingsway Drive) -  Bachelor of Education (Primary & Early Childhood)

Joanne joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2014 as a graduate teacher and has had the pleasure of working at both Kingsway Drive and Nebel Street sites. Joanne has developed her passion and knowledge of Early Childhood Education and prides herself on connecting meaningful partnerships with families and providing them with any support they require through our service.  Joanne’s favourite thing about Education, is the development in confidence that is visible in every child throughout their Kindergarten journey. Joanne is currently on Maternity Leave till 2024.

 

SOPHIA MUSTICA

Teacher (Kingsway Drive) - Bachelor of Early Childhood Education

Sophia has been a kindergarten teacher for over 10 years with experience working in a range of early childhood settings. She is the 3 year old teacher of the Joey Group. Sophia has a passion for building strong relationships with children and families. Children are all amazing and learn and develop so much everyday. Sophia looks forward to coming into kinder everyday and teaching children in the most nature way children learn- through play. Sophia feels honoured to be a part of each childs' learning journey.

 

LAURA BOWEN  

Teacher (Kingsway Drive) - Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) 

Laura joined the team at Jacaranda in 2017 after having worked for several years teaching in another setting. She is the teacher of the 4 year old Blue Group. Her favourite part of being a teacher is developing relationships with the children and families, as well as watching the children's confidence grow throughout the year. Laura attended Jacaranda Preschool herself as a child and feels so privileged to be able to now have the same positive impact on children that her own kindergarten teacher had on her.

 

SAMENEH SEIF 

Teacher (Kingsway Drive) - Graduate Diploma of Educational Leadership and Management, Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education

Sam was 4 years old when she decided to become a kinder teacher and although she worked in a few other sectors, there is no other area of work and study that seems more appealing to her other than Early Childhood Education.

She built the foundations for the career by participating in different work experiences, volunteering positions, tutoring, working closely with a child psychology and children’s book publishers in the years prior to her tertiary education.
Sam finds Early Childhood Teaching fascinating like a piece of music, colorful with hidden meanings like paintings, challenging like rock climbing. "I can say it with absolute certainty that children’s smiles, their passion for learning, their indescribable desire for connection and their magical power of forgiveness will inspire me to remain a teacher for many years to come." Sam is currently on Maternity Leave till 2024.

 

NADIA DE AMICIS

Teacher (Kingsway Drive) - Bachelor of Arts/Early Childhood Education, Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Nadia began her career at Jacaranda Preschool as a teaching student, and then took on a permanent position teaching the 3 and 4 year old children. Early childhood education has allowed Nadia to share her passion in teaching with her co workers, children and the families that she has met throughout the years. Nadia is on currently on leave till 2024.


ANNA PICCIANI

Teacher (Nebel Street) 

Anna currently teaches at Jacaranda Nebel St, team teaching the Purple Group with Emma. Anna comes with almost 30 years of kinder teaching experience. Anna has filled in many temporary and casual positions at both Jacaranda sites (Kingsway Drive and Nebel Street).  She is a highly regarded teacher in the local area and works as a relief teacher in many of the local preschools. Anna has two adult children and speaks Macedonian. 

 

ANGELA ZIMMERMANN

Teacher (Kingsway Drive) - Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)

Angela rejoins Jacaranda after spending time overseas and working in other sessional kindergartens in Melbourne. She is the teacher of the 4 year old Green Group and Red Group. Angela knew in high school when she did work experience at a kindergarten, she wanted to work with children.  After completing her Bachelor of Education - Early Childhood she taught internationally in Malaysia.  In 2012 Angela joined Jacaranda and then international teaching called her again in 2017where she moved to China untill  2020; during this time she built an understanding and respect for working with children learning English.  Angela comes with a passion for music and yoga and has completed training to use these in the classroom.  Her favourite thing to do with children in the classroom is singing and reading favourite stories.  


LEANNE NAUM  

Educator (Nebel Street) - Diploma of Children’s Services (Early Childhood Education & Care)

Leanne is our longest serving employee and her experience, knowledge and commitment is highly regarded and respected by her co-workers. Leanne was originally employed at Lalor Park Preschool (now known as Jacaranda Preschool - Nebel Street) in 1994 and joined Jacaranda Preschool – Kingsway Drive (formerly Kingsway Drive Preschool) in 2002 when both Preschools amalgamated. In 2013, Leanne moved back home to Nebel Street and is the Educator for the 4 year old Purple and Orange Groups. Leanne loves watching the children develop their language skills over the year and is comforted in knowing that they will progress to Primary School without a language barrier. Leanne is a Grandma and is loving her role as “Nanny”.


ROSE PENNACCHIA  

Educator (Kingsway Drive) - Diploma of Children’s Services (Early Childhood Education & Care)

Rose is our second longest serving employee and originally started relieving at Kingsway Drive Preschool in 1998 before taking on a permanent educator position in 2000. She is the 4 year old Educator for the Blue and Green Groups. Rose’s passion is outdoor play and participates in the Bush Kinder program through rain, hail and shine. Rose loves to watch the children develop their skills through nature and outdoor play.

 

ANGELA TOLESKY

Educator (Nebel Stree & Kingsway Drive) - Certificate III in Children’s Services

Angie joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2014 as an additional assistant for the 4 year old Yellow Group. Angie is the Educator of the 3 year old Koala Group and is the educator  in the Orange group and Green Group. Angie has a warm, bubbly personality and enjoys working with children and their families.

 

AMY PEPYAT

Educator (Kingsway Drive) - Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

Amy  joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2021 and is currently the Educator of the Yellow Group and Possum Group. Amy has over 10 years experience in early childhood education. "I love working in the industry and feel its an honour to be a part of a child's learning journey! I also love getting to know families and incorporating their values and goals into our day". 

 

Sonia Cianchetta Barbante

Educator (Kingsway Drive) – Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sonia completed her Diploma in 2015 and since then has continued to work in this field. She is the Educator of the 3 year old Joey Group as well as working within the role of Inclusion Support through her work with Uniting. Sonia believes children benefit greatly from the 3 year old Kinder program, whether it be making new friends, learning new skills, new concepts and just by this development of your child will benefit greatly. 

 

Anita Chahine

Educator (Kingsway Drive) - Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

Anita has joined the team at Jacaranda Preschool in 2023. She is the educator of the 4 year old Red group. Anita brings with her many years of experience in working with young children within  her role as inclusion support. We welcome Anita.

 

MARGARET RADES 

Administration officer (Nebel Stree & Kingsway Drive)  

Margaret joined the Jacaranda Preschool team in 2020.Her career began in early childhood many years ago, and it was very rewarding and fulfilling for her to work alongside young children. After having her own three children and being highly involved in their kindergarten's  Committee of Management, she took an opportunity to work within the role of administration. She has over 10 years of experience in this role and also works at another kindergarten in the Whittlesea municipality. She highly enjoys her work and being involved in a community of educating and inspiring children.