Dedicated & Qualifed

MEET OUR HENDERSON TEAM

We have a committed team of experience teachers who have served us for a long period of time. Our teachers value each child as an individual and provide many opportunities for them to learn. We are also committed to uphold a high percentage of qualified teachers. As a multi-cultural team, we bring with us a diversity, which has helped us design a rich teaching and learning programme, which is culturally rich and intellectually stimulating. A team that has put in years of experience into creating a home away from home, a place which fosters curiosity, a place of exploration, research and discovery. Developing meaningful relationships with children and families is something that is highly valued and what we strive to achieve.

Leah Boonzaaier

Centre Manager

Kia Ora

My name is Leah Boonzaaier and I am the Centre Manger of Rising Stars Henderson. I was born and raised in New Zealand, on the North Shore, but moved to the west after buying a house in Massey.

I hold a Bachelor Degree in ECE and I am fully registered. I have spent the last 13 years teaching and now am expanding my Leadership capabilities.

I am married and have two young children, Feenix and Daisy who are both enjoying their journey in Primary school. They keep me grounded and remind me why I love to do this job every day. I look forward to meeting you and your whanau.

Joisse Cueva

Room Leader

Hi Parents/Whanau

My name is Joisse Cueva and I am one of the teachers here in the Tuakana room. I was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up here in New Zealand and I am Filipino. I am the eldest of three girls and I live with my parents.  After finishing my studies, I went straight to university and got a job here at Rising Stars with the pre-school children. I have been working here for 6 years as a provisionally registered teacher and I hold a degree in Early Childhood Education.

Ever since I was young, I have always dreamed of being a teacher and thanks to all of you I am able to live that dream every day. I believe children are capable of doing things for themselves and I will often let them take the lead. I am also passionate about being kind and respectful to others. I love working with this age group and all the fun things we get up to such as DIY.

Come and say hi to me and I look forward to meeting you!

Nila Thanaraj

Room Leader

Kia Ora, Hello, Wannakam and Ayubowan.

My Name is Nila and I am a registered teacher in New Zealand and the room leader in Teina Room. I was born in the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka and call New Zealand/Aotearoa home for the past 25 years of my life.  I have two sons who are young adults.  One lives over in Australia where majority of family lives.  My younger son lives with me while studying towards an Engineering degree. I have a passion for travelling, cooking and history.  I like living in peaceful New Zealand.  

I have been working at Rising Stars since 2013 and enjoy every minute of it.  I believe in providing children with the best start in life which led me to choose a career in teaching after going through the similar journey with my own children.

Every child is unique and each has their own strengths and needs, and my aim is to provide an environment for them to shine while develop their skills, interests and attitudes.   I strongly believe when a teacher works in partnership with a child’s family/whanau and their community their Mana and self-esteem is lifted which helps them develop into confident and competent learners and valuable members of their society.  It is a great privilege and responsibility to work with children and I have an amazing team of teachers who support me to help our children in Teina room.  Nga mihi nui. 

Siksha Prasad

Room Leader

Dear Parents/ Whanau

My name is Siksha Prasad and I am the Room Leader for the Pepe room. I was born in Fiji and I moved to Auckland when I was 10 years old. I have now been living in New Zealand for 20 years. I lived in Mt Roskill for most of my time here in Auckland, however I have recently moved to Weymouth.

I studied at the University of Auckland and I hold a bachelor’s degree in ECE, and I am a fully registered teacher. I have been working with children for about 8 years now.

I have always enjoyed being around children, and I mainly had a passion being around babies. Therefore, I chose this field and I really enjoy what I do with the babies.

I live with my husband and my daughter who will be 5 soon.

I look forward to getting to know you all more.

Louise Davis

ECE Qualified Teacher

Hi Parents/Whanau

My name is Louise Davies and I am a teacher here in the Tuakana room. I was born and raised in England and moved to N.Z with my family as a teenager.

I hold a Degree in ECE and I am fully registered. My Early childhood career spans 19.5 years. For the majority of it I have worked with infants, but I have experience with all age groups.

I am passionate about teaching our Tuakana children about real life.  Teaching morals such as kindness, empathy and treating others how you yourself want to be treated. I love the conversations I get to have with pre-schoolers, sometimes they are so bizarre. It's what makes this job so interesting, two days are never the same here in the Tuakana room.

I am married and have two children and three stepchildren. My eldest now lives away from home and my youngest is battling her way through high school. They all do their own thing now so it’s time for me and my hubby to fill our days with motorbike rides and trips to cafes.

I look forward to getting to know you and your child.

Valentina Soto

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora Whanau/Families  

My Name is Valentina and I am a fully registered teacher in the Teina Room. I was born and raised in Tāmaki-makau-rau/Auckland and come from a family of 6. I have been working at Rising Stars since 2013.

The fiery spirit of a toddler is where my passion lies. Coming into our room is an exciting and exhilarating day. Developmentally a toddler goes through many milestones in such a small amount of time and it brings me absolute joy to see their minds churn out new ideas of how the world around them works. This is where I come into place. Supporting, encouraging and extending toddlers with their new ideas and interests is what we in the Teina Room strive to do on a daily basis. We do this by providing provocations such as music and art, loose parts play, sensory play, and risk taking, just to name a few.

Rising Stars has been my place of work since I was a young university student, now that I am a fully registered teacher I have come to learn and grow alongside the tamariki/children in my care. The brilliant Nga Kaiako/Teachers here at Rising Stars have supported, encouraged, and have made me the Kaiako/teacher I am today.  I look forward to creating a beautiful partnership with you and your whanau/family, and together your child will have the most memorable time here at Rising Stars.

Ronaclaire Totanes

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora and Kumusta!

My name is Ronaclaire Totanes. I've been in the Pepe room for almost 5 years now and I absolutely love and enjoy it here.

 I am originally from the Philippines. It has been 10 years since my family and I moved to New Zealand and called it our new home. The things I like to do are painting, drawing, playing instruments, travelling and taking photographs.

In 2018, I've completed my degree in Bachelor of Teaching in ECE and got my registration in 2019.

One of the things I strongly believe  in as a teacher is the importance of building respectful and genuine relationships with the tamaraki and their whanau.

I look forward to work with your child and your family.

Gladys Lambarth

Teacher

Hi Parents/Whanau

Kō Ahuahu te Maunga 

Kō Omapere te Roto

Kō Ngatokimatawharoa te Waka

Kō Parawhenua te Marae

Kō Uri Taniwha te Hapu

Kō Nga Puhi te Iwi

Kō Gladys tōku ingoā

 

I am Gladys Lambarth and I am an educator’s assistant in our Tuakana room.

I grew up in the Waikato and moved to Auckland when I was 9. I now reside in Glendene with my partner and our two children with our bullmastiff Rex and our rescue cat Tee.  

I started my learning journey with my 2 children Tennessee and Lucan at Glendene Play centre, this is where I learnt that I really enjoy being and learning alongside young children - The joy and laughter they bring each day is priceless! I look forward to learning and growing alongside your Whanau.

Aroha mai, aroha atu

Love and compassion received, love and compassion given.

Lucas Rabold

Teacher

Kia Ora, my name is Lucas Rabold and I was born and raised in Germany. In 2016 I started my journey to New Zealand and I fell in love with this beautiful country. After traveling through the whole country I moved to the North Shore to start my new life in Auckland. 

I studied and graduated my ECE Teaching Degree in Germany and I am currently working on my teaching registration. Since the age of 13, I have been working in early childhood centres building experience before I was able to join the workforce full time. 

Physical movement and art projects are two of my strongest passions. Learning together, side by side, is helping to build a good relationship for life. I am looking forward to working and supporting your tamariki. 

‘Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa.’ - Let us keep close together, not far apart

Maria Karla Alfante

Teacher

Hi everyone! My name is Karla Alfante and I am one of the teachers in Pepe room. I was born in the Philippines and grew up here as a teenager. My journey in teaching started when I worked as a toy librarian at Children’s Autism Foundation. I have been passionate about psychology especially involving young children. I found the essence in connecting in the early stages with children to be vital in strengthening relationships and forming healthy bonds. Working at Rising Stars across all rooms has helped me grow and learn how to become a mindful teacher. I am passionate in teaching as it is being endlessly curious about experiences, physical movement, self-expression, well-being, kindness, and being creative. I am so grateful to have worked with children because I love seeing the instant spark on their faces when they are learning something new, and being given lots of hugs and cuddles! For me, working with children inspires me to connect through my heart, being aware of our community and reflect more on life.

Jodie Thomas

Teacher

Hello, Goeie more & Kia Ora parents/whanau.

My name is Jodie Thomas and I am a teacher in the Pepe room.

I was born in South Africa and moved here when I was 1 years old and have lived in Auckland ever since. I now call New Zealand/Aotearoa home.

I've always had a love for children since a very young age. Growing up I always knew ECE would be a passion of mine. I have two beautiful young children of my own.

I started my journey studying before having my children. Im grateful to be a part of the rising stars team and to be fulfilling my dream as a teacher.

I feel strongly about creating a safe, warm and welcoming environment for tamariki and their whanau, a place they can call a home away from home.

I look forward to getting to know you and your tamariki. 

Wulan Prawito

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia ora! My name is Wulan Prawito.

I am Indonesian and have been living in Auckland since 1998. I resided in Henderson Valley with my husband, two daughters and a poodle. I hold a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) and I am a fully registered teacher. I believe in the importance of play-based learning, engaging with tamariki at their level and building respectful relationships with children and whanau. My passion is to inspire kindness and resilience in tamariki. In my spare time I love watching movies and listening to music. I look forward to getting to know you and your tamariki.

Lana Olivier

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora,

My name is Lana Olivier and I am one of the teachers here in the Pepe room. I was born in South Africa, moved here when I was 9, and grew up here in New Zealand and I am now a citizen of this amazing country.  I am a provisionally registered teacher and I hold a degree in Early Childhood Education.

I am a mother of a little girl who inspires me to be the best teacher I can be, here at Rising Stars and at home.

I believe children are capable of doing things for themselves and confident in taking charge of their own learning. I am also passionate about being kind and respectful towards others and role modelling this in my teaching. I love working with this age group and all the fun things we get up to such as messy play and art, which I am quite passionate about.

Please come and say hello to me, I look forward to meeting you.