Staff 2024


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 – Yellow Group 4YO and Possum Group 3YO) - Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education), Graduate Diploma of Educational Studies

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 – Orange Group 4YO and Koala Group 3YO) - Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood)

Kate joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2013. 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 – Purple Group 4YO) - 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. Emma’s favourite Kindergarten experience is watching the children’s independence grow during the year.

 

JOANNE ARGYROPOULOS

Teacher (Kingsway Drive – Green Group 4YO) -  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. She team teaches the Green Group with Nadia. 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.

 

SOPHIA MUSTICA

Teacher (Kingsway Drive – Joey Group 3YO) - 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. 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.

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 – Blue Group 4YO) - Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) 

Laura joined the team at Jacaranda in 2017 after having worked for several years teaching in another setting. 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 – Red Group 4YO) - 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 team teaches the Red Group with Angela.

 

NADIA DE AMICIS

Teacher (Kingsway Drive – Green Group 4YO) - 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 team teaches the Green Group with Joanne.

 

ANGELA ZIMMERMANN

Teacher / Nominated Supervisor (Kingsway Drive – Red Group 4YO) - Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)

Angela rejoins Jacaranda after spending time overseas and working in other sessional kindergartens in Melbourne. 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 2017 where 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. Angela team teaches the Red Group with Sam.


LEANNE NAUM  

Educator (Nebel Street – Purple Group 4YO and Orange Group 3YO) - 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. She 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”. Leanne team teaches the Orange Group with Angela.

 

ROSE PENNACCHIA  

Educator (Kingsway Drive – Blue Group 4YO, Green Group 4YO and Possum Group 3YO) - 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. 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. Rose team teaches the Green Group with Angela and the Possum Group with Amy.

 

ANGELA TOLESKY

Educator (Nebel Street – Orange Group 4YO and Koala Group 3YO & Kingsway Drive – Green Group 4YO) - Certificate III in Children’s Services

Angie joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2014 as an additional assistant for the 4 year old Yellow Group. Angie has a warm, bubbly personality and enjoys working with children and their families. Angela team teaches the Orange Group with Leanne and the Green Group with Rose.

 

AMY PEPYAT

Educator (Kingsway Drive – Yellow Group 4YO and Possum Group 3YO) - Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

Amy  joined Jacaranda Preschool in 2021. She 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". Amy team teaches the Possum Group with Rose.

learning journey! I also love getting to know families and incorporating their values and goals into our day". 

 

Sonia Cianchetta Barbante

Educator (Kingsway Drive – Joey Group 3YO) – Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sonia completed her Diploma in 2015 and since then has continued to work in this field. 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 – Red Group 4YO) - Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

Anita has joined the team at Jacaranda Preschool in 2023. Anita brings with her many years of experience in working with young children within  her role as inclusion support. 

 

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.