Teaching Staff

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ANGELA STORER

Director

I joined the team in 2014. I am a kindergarten teacher, an early intervention teacher, a parent, an animal lover, an exercise nut and a very keen gardener. At Kinder you will find me in the office in the Amethyst building or in the kinder rooms getting to know your children and supporting their educational programs. I look forward to working alongside you to meet our common goal – the wellbeing and development of your child.

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DANIELLE LOGAN

Teacher

I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2014, starting in our first ever Bush Kinder program. I have a Masters in Early Childhood Teaching and completed a research project exploring children’s self-concept as part of my studies. It is amazing to have a career that enables me to both observe and contribute to the immense development that occurs in the preschool years. Forming respectful and responsive relationships with children and families is fundamental to my teaching practice. I enjoy learning alongside the children, getting to know their interests, curiosities and dispositions. I am enthusiastic about the importance of outdoor and nature play in children’s lives for their wellbeing and developing within children a love and care for the environment. When I am not at kinder or bush kinder, I am spending time with my daughter, walking our dog Rocky, reading or listening to music.

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KATE GOODRIDGE

Teacher

One of the things I love in early childhood teaching and learning is the way children can be meaningfully engaged in learning through accessing their creativity and imagination. This might look like children being welcomed as characters in a familiar story and solving problems as that character, creating songs together or working together as pirates to follow the treasure map and dig for treasure. I find the children are enthusiastic to engage in this way and share their ideas as we explore together.  

Being part of a child’s early childhood education is a great privilege. The privilege of learning from and with families to support their child to flourish. The privilege of learning from and with a child; to hear their ideas, to give them room to use their voice and to flourish as the unique individual they are. And the privilege of building upon the child’s vast knowledge and skills, inspiring them to think, be curious, create and share their ideas with others. 

My initial training and background was as a primary school teacher. I have also worked as a children’s and families’ educator in the aid and development sector speaking in schools and writing educational resources, and as facilitator of a playgroup with parents overcoming depression. 

Favourite things in my life include reading books, coffees with my friends, walking in the bush, making music and hanging around with my own children and partner. 

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FATHIMA FAROOK

Teacher

I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2016.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Monash University. I have been working in early childhood since 2010. Volunteering in my son’s prep grade motivated me to switch from accounting to the early childhood field. I am fluent in Sinhalese, Tamil and English and I can read Arabic. In my free time, I love to cross stitch and sew, reading, calligraphy and my passion is art and craft.

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HEIDI RATJE

Teacher

I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2018. I graduated with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from the University of Melbourne in 2010. In 2017, I spent some time exploring nature-based programs throughout UK and Iceland with a team of passionate Educators from both Australia and around the world. This experience helped me to further develop my understanding of the value of outdoor learning, child-led inquiry and nature immersion. 

When I'm not working, I love spending time in nature, visiting Healesville Sanctuary and reading.

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MONIKA NITSCHKE

Teacher

I completed a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education from RMIT in 2018 however, I have been part of Thornbury Kindergarten since 2013, first as a parent and committee member then an educator and now a teacher. I hold a strong belief that children are capable and unique individuals who learn best when engaged in play-based environments with numerous social interactions with peers and educators. I am committed to developing strong relationships with families to foster a strong and successful learning experience. When I am not working, I spend a lot of time driving my children to numerous sporting activities. My family enjoys camping, biking riding, bush walking and time at the beach.

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STEPHANIE YEEND

Teacher

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Deakin University in 2004 and a Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education from RMIT in 2006. I have been a Kindergarten Teacher for over 15 years. I have experience working in Long Day Care and Sessional Kindergartens. I have worked full time, part time, I have been a Director and taught 3 year old kinder and 4 year old kinder. I have also helped out in the admin role at Thornbury. I have done a couple of stints emergency teaching with agencies where I worked at over 40 Early Childhood Services across Melbourne. This gave me exposure to many different communities and services and I have seen lots of different ways of teaching and learning. I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2016 as a casual relief and support teacher and continue to work in this role supporting the staff and children. I am very passionate about Outdoor Education and Environmental Education in the Early Years. Outside of work I have also trained as a potter/ceramicist and make the odd pot here and there. I am also learning a lot about Permaculture and Regenerative Agriculture. In 2022 my partner and I are moving to New Gisborne to create our own little farm. When I find time I love hiking, camping, reading, swimming and being creative.

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SARA MARTIN

Educator

I joined Thornbury Kinder in 2018. I have an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from NMIT, Integration Aide Certificate, Certificate III in ECE and I am an Inclusion Support Educator.  I have been working in this field since 2013 and I absolutely love working with children of all abilities. Children are full of awe, wisdom, creativity and honesty. With children there is always something new to be discovered, shared or learned and that is inspirational. I have two wonderful children of my own, one of whom is an Autistic young adult. I love to read, listen to music, drink good coffee and spend time with my family. 

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NU LY

Educator

I have been at Thornbury Kindergarten since 2009.  I was born in Vietnam and my background is Chinese. I speak fluent Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and English.

In 2007, I studied an English course at NMIT, in 2008 I completed my Childcare Certificate 3 and in 2016 I completed my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. 

I have four children and five grandchildren and I often look after my grandchildren. 

I am a very patient and organised person. I love working with children and although it can be hard work I find it interesting and challenging.

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DIANA FLOURENTZOU

Educator

I have been at Thornbury Kindergarten since 2016. I have a Diploma in Early Childhood Studies.  I was born in Greece and I came to Australia when I was 12 years old.  I am a mother of two teenage children and prior to having my children, I worked in a childcare centre. 
When I am not working I like to go for walks with my family. We have a cat called Lulu, two chickens and an angel fish.  I don't have a favourite meal because l love all food!

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SHALU GAHLAWAT

Educator

I know this kindergarten very well - my son attended for three years! I completed Certificate 3 and have a Diploma in Early Childhood Education & Care and I completed my training in Thornbury Kindergarten. I can speak fluent Hindi, English and understand Punjabi. If I described myself in a few words, I would say: ”Loves Everyone, loves nature & loves cooking “.

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VERONICA PATEL

Educator

Kia Ora! I was born in New Zealand, but I have been living in Melbourne for nearly 18 years. I started at Thornbury Kinder in 2019, and after a break to have my twin girls end of 2020, I am excited to be returning in 2022! I completed a Diploma in Early Childhood education in 2015 and have started studying a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education. I’m passionate about child led, play based learning, embedding Indigenous perspectives and sustainability. When I’m not working I’m chasing my 3 around Thornbury parks, or the zoo. One day soon I hope we’ll be able to take the newest additions to our little family to New Zealand to finally meet all of their extended family!

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HELEN MOORE

Administration Manager

I am a Thornbury local and love the community here. My childhood was spent in Thornbury and although I spent years interstate and in other suburbs, this has been home again since 2014. I have worked in education for 30 years, in the TAFE sector, where I managed libraries and student support centres. I take great pleasure in helping people and enjoy contributing to a community of like-minded people and that’s what I’ve found since joining Thornbury Kindergarten in 2020.  Away from work I spend my time with my grownup “kids” and my beautiful grand-children – they are a source of such joy. I love movies, music festivals, local theatre, walking with friends and café outings.

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MARIA GARCIA PALENCIA

Spanish Language Teacher

I came to live in Melbourne from Spain with my Australian husband and my son in 2011. In Spain I co-founded my own drama school where I taught drama to all ages. I graduated as a Primary School Teacher in Spain and here in Melbourne I completed a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. My passion is using play to stimulate curiosity and creativity in children which I believe is essential for future learning. I have been teaching Spanish in Kindergarten for the last 4 years and I joined Thornbury Kindergarten in 2020. It has been a delightful experience sharing my language and my culture with the children. I love spending time in nature, going to the theatre, traveling and of course, spending time with family and friends.