Meet the Staff


Joanna Bennett

(Owner / Manager )

Tena Koe, I am married to Neal, we have 3 wonderful children, Stacey, Clay & Wade.
I have a heart for children and am passionate about teaching, I believe all children are a gift from God and are like little seeds just waiting to be loved and nurtured so that they can grow and develop. I consider it a privilege to be a part of a child's learning journey and am committed to serving our Pre-School Whanau & community.
I look forward to getting to know you all.



Sue Wheeler

Assistant Manager

Kia Ora I am married to Steve and have three wonderful children David, Lisa and Anna; they are all married and I have been blessed with seven grandchildren to date…

I am now working in the office as Assistant Manager and love working with the new families as well as the ones already here. It is lovely to still have the opportunity of chatting and getting to know your precious children as they start their journey at Country Kids Preschool.



Neal Bennett


Hi! I am married to Joanna and share our 3 great kids. I am a Joiner by trade and have also been involved in building and landscaping, my main role at the centre will be building, garden & playground design and maintenance and taking care of the farm.   



tania_moss.jpgTania Moss

Baby Bears Teacher

Tena Koutou, I feel very privileged to be able to work with the baby bears & be part of the team at Country Kids Pre-School. I am married to Richard & have 2 daughters. I believe that to teach well I need to partner with your family to learn more about your aspirations for your child. I believe in teaching children with respect & it is my desire to be able to help empower them to become competent learners. I look forward to getting to know you & am excited about this new learning journey. 


kelly2.jpgKelly Phillipson

Baby Bears Teacher

Kia Ora, I am married to Bryce. I grew up on my Grandma's farm near Te Aroha, with my parents and my two sisters. I discovered the joy of children while babysitting the children at church and watching my cousins grow up. I knew that I wanted to work with children so I went to Waikato University and got my Bachelor of Teaching - Early Childhood. I look forward to getting to know all the children and their families, learning lots and having fun. 

Maggie.jpgMaggie McIntosh

Steady Bears Teacher

Kia ora, I am a passionate teacher who loves the outdoors, enjoys encouraging children’s interests, and being creative in art and musical interests. I am a Christian and believe in God’s love for all. I am looking forward to teaching at Country Kids and getting to know the tamariki and their whanau.


11.jpg Hannah Harward

 Steady Bears Teacher 

I have just completed my Bachelor in Early Childhood Education at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI). My heart for early year’s education and care is in building relationships with you and your child to best support them in their learning and development. I love to see children find joy in learning through exploration and the arts, particularly music, and growing into the fullness of their God-given potential. 



website_photo.jpgLarissa McCullough

Big Bears Teacher

I am one of the Big Bears teachers and I studied for my Bachelors degree at BTI and have been teaching for over two years. I come from a family of six with three brothers and have been raised in Tauranga. It is a pleasure to be able to teach the wonderful children at Country Kids Preschool. 


Robyn.JPGRobyn Dixon

Big Bears Teacher

Tena koutou katoa. I am passionate in building relationships with tamariki and whanau. To make connections with our rich culture and celebrating each child's unique God given gift. I was brought up on a farm and love the opportunity to support tamariki having hands on experiences at Country Kids. 

IMG_1553.JPGAna Hare

Steady Bears Teacher

I love seeing children grow and develop into themselves, and to be a small part of  their journey is such an honor. I am very much looking forward to my future as an early  childhood educator and feel very blessed to be learning amongst the great teachers  and families here at Country Kids.












Debbie Lindsay

Big Bears Teacher

Kia ora, I am Primary School and Early Childhood trained and have being working as an ECE teacher for 10 years. I desire to see all children reach their full potential and grow towards what God intends them to be. My heart’s desire is for all children to be able to learn in a nurturing and caring environment where children are supported in their play, learning, growth. I look forward to being part of you and your child’s preschool journey.




Pam.jpgPam Lees

Teacher Aide

Kia ora. I have 25 years of experience working with children in a variety of settings. I have two children, David, and Sarah, and one delightful granddaughter Emme who lives in Australia. I believe on of God's greatest desires for his people is to take time to build meaningful relationships that make a difference in each other's lives! As I work alongside you and your family, I trust we can together make a difference that reflects God's purpose for your child, and family in this community. 

david.JPGDavid Bollen

Teacher Aide

I am excited to journey with your child/children as they develop here at Country Kids. I am   a great believer in exposing kids to a loving and nurturing environment helping them feel safe expressing their ideas, desires and feelings freely. I love to see kids discover the excitement of adventure, whether it be through literature, play or their journey of understanding God's heart for them. 





Elaine Cook

Teacher Aide

Hi! I am blessed to have 3 lovely daughters and son in laws and 3 step children, I have 17 grandchildren whom I’m very proud of and I enjoy being part of their lives. I have always had a heart for children and enjoy being part of the 'Country Kids' team serving the community.