Meet Our Team

Nissa Mowjood, diploma of teaching, montessori, nelson, new zealand

Nissa Mowjood (Owner and Manager of The Bays Montessori Schools)

Diploma of Teaching (ECE) 1998

Association Montessori Internationale Diploma in the Montessori Method 1989

Nissaᅠ Mowjoodᅠ trained as a Montessori teacher in 1989 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She workedᅠ with pre-school aged children as a Montessori ᅠteacher for two years and in 1991, she migrated to Nelson with her husband and two small children to Nelson. She has worked at Nelson Montessori since 1991. In her spare time, ᅠNissaᅠ loves to go for long walks around Nelson.

Nelson Montessori

Kaylene Simmiss

Kirsa Rhone

Theresa Byrman

Kaylene Simmiss, montessori, nelson, montessori
Rhone, studies, montessoir, DePaul University, teacher
Montessori teacher

Senior Directress


Diploma Teaching and Learning ECE (1999)

St Nicholas Montessori Diploma 0–6 years (1994)

Kaylene grew up in Nelson and has been involved with caring and educating tamariki/children throughout her adult life. Kaylene lives here in Nelson with her whānau, partner and two school-aged children. She enjoys exploring geography and finding about people and places.

Kaylene first became involved with Montessori while working as a nanny and decided to pursue teacher training following the Montessori Method of Education. She finds this immensely satisfying and gains great pleasure from observing and assisting children blossom in the Montessori environment to their individual potentials.

She particularly enjoy the orderliness within the class environment, the extensive educational materials that allow the child to freely explore the materials, either individually or together with friends.

Senior Directress


Certificate in Montessori Studies for ages 3 - 6 (1988)

Bachelor of Teaching in ECE (2015)

Over the last 25 years, Kirsa has taught at Montessori schools full time and in relief.

In 2005, Kirsa and her husband moved from the San Francisco area in California to sunny Nelson. They live in the Glen where they enjoy the sea, nature and the close-knit community.

Kirsa has been in and around Montessori her whole life. Her mother started a Montessori school when she was two and she retired in 2007, after 36 years! Kirsa’s mother now lives

nearby in Todd Valley; Kirsa helps support the family farm on Fridays. Kirsa says, “The warmth, trust and respect that underpin theMontessori philosophy resonate deeply with me. I feelfortunate to spend my days with tamariki sharing in the joy of discovery.

Classroom Co-Directress


Bachelor of Teaching in ECE (2014)

Montessori Diploma in Teaching (in progress)

Theresa was first introduced to the Montessori Method by chance through having the opportunity to do some relieving work at the Bays Montessori schools.  She was immediately drawn to the respectful interactions the children demonstrated not only towards one another, but also the environment.  She values how children learn at their own pace, in a self-correcting environment and feels privileged to have joined the Montessori community.

In her spare time, Theresa enjoys going for walks, pottering around in the garden, supporting her children in their sporting interests and spending time with her husband and two children.

Chrissy Julian

Mel Young

Jane Murray
Jane Murray



 Profile Coming Soon


Stoke Montessori

Gina Green

Lumindri Dinalankara

Tamara Harwood

gina, bays montessori, nelson, stoke, new zealand

Classroom Co-Directress

NMAC Diploma in Montessori Education

Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Psychology (2007)
Post Graduate Diploma in ECE Teaching (2008)


Gina has worked at Stoke Montessori Preschool since 2004. She says that she enjoys working with children as each day brings something new and exciting. Gina values family/whānua involvement and believes that partnerships between centre and families help children to develop a sense of belonging within the centre. In her spare time, when she is not busy with my family, she enjoys tap dancing, reading and gardening. Gina is currently studying Te Reo at NMIT.

Support Teacher


I previously worked at one of the leading International schools in Sri Lanka. I have been working as a Preschool Teacher, a Music Teacher and also as a Performing Arts Teacher for 8 years. I am a registered trainer in Trinity Guildhall Speech and Drama examinations (London) and supported 350 children for their Speech and Drama examinations while winning all island prizes.

I hold Internationally recognised Diplomas in Early Childhood Education and Child Care Management.

In addition, I successfully completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Enterprise (Level 8) at NMIT.

I’m a mother of two loving daughters who are 14 and 5

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning 2001

Graduate Diploma of Teaching (ECE) 2010


Tamara grew up in Nelson and since college has been caring and educating tamariki/children as a Nanny, a Primary School Teacher and an Early Childhood Teacher. Tamara lives in Richmond with her husband and two school-aged children. Tamara started at Stoke Montessori in 2017 after she had spent some time relieving at Bays Montessori. Tamara believes that children are on a life long journey of learning and discovery and that the Montessori Philosophy supports this journey.

In her spare time she enjoys scrapbooking and crafts, camping and spending time with her family. Tamara is looking forward to beginning her Montessori Training in 2019.

Jessica Fullford

Jane Murray

 Profile Coming Soon

Kauri Montessori - Matai Room

Aqeela Mowjood

Vanessa Tunstall

Natasha Carr

Aqeela, bays montessori, teacher, school, new zealand, stoke
Jane Murray



I studied both Psychology and Education at the University of Auckland. After graduating, I moved to London where I worked as a teacher for adults with learning disabilities. While working in this sector, I often thought back to my own early experiences of Montessori education and how the Montessori philosophy could really enhance my practice in disability education with its emphasis on hands-on and wholistic learning. So, I embarked on my studies in Montessori preschool education and obtained an International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy from MCI London.

After having my son in 2017, my husband and I moved back to Nelson in order to raise our son closer to nature. Since becoming a mother myself, I have gained an even greater respect for the incredible work of Dr Montessori. Modern neuroscience has confirmed the critical significance of the early years in laying the blueprint for children’s beliefs about themselves and their relationships with others.  Dr Montessori came up with similar conclusions well over a hundred years ago and in a time when children were expected to be seen but not heard.  I feel privileged to work in a setting that values children’s early experiences so highly.

 Support Teacher


Certificate in Food Safety Practice 2014


Vanessa has worked as a reliever at The Bays Montessori since 2010 and started her role at Kauri in 2013 as a Support Teacher.


She loves that each day brings something different and interesting and enjoys supporting the children in their learning.


In 2017, Vanessa received the “Rito Healthy Heart Award” from the New Zealand Heart Foundation for cooking nutritious meals and promoting physical activity.


In her spare time Vanessa enjoys family time, reading, watching TV and walking.

Paula Thackaberry

Jane Murray

Senior Directress


Profile coming soon



Profile coming soon

Kauri Montessori- Miro Room

Susan Davidson

Louise Browning

Tracey White

Jane Murray
Jane Murray
Jane Murray

Senior Directress

Bachelors in Education in Montessori (2004)


Susan is mum to four 'children', all now off finding their way in the world. After spending 15 years working alongside tamariki and whanau in the 3-6 class at Nelson Montessori, Susan has embraced the whole new way of being that comes with 1-3 year olds. The inspiration for the move into an infant / toddler space arose from nine years involvement in parent / infant classes where she found whanau incredibly open to exploring new ways of being with their tamariki. Her first year in Miro Room at Kauri Montessori has overflowed with new learning as she delights in the children's ebullience as well as their ability to almost disappear into the moment. They are truly masters of mindfulness.

"It follows that at the beginning of his life the individual can accomplish wonders – without effort and quite unconsciously." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 54)

Susan strongly believes that learning is a life-long journey for all and continually seeks to grow her knowledge and skills to improve her practice. If Susan is asked what she aspires to most in her work with infants and toddlers it would be whakawhanaungatanga / building strong relationships for "it is only when we connect deeply with those around us that we can truly meet each others needs and feel safe to fly"

When not in the toddlers' house at Kauri Montessori Susan loves to connect with friends and family while time spent in the ngahere o Aotearoa / native bush feeds her spirit and helps maintain her equilibrium in, what can be, a very busy world!


Classroom Co-Directress

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood (2012)


Louise joined Bays Montessori in November 2016 with the opening of the Miro Room.  Previously she had been an Infant and Toddler teacher at another centre in Nelson.  Louise began studying towards her teaching qualification while her son was in early childhood, and it was this that sparked the interest and desire to enter the teaching profession.  She gained her degree in 2012 and full teacher registration in 2015.  Louise holds a strong passion for the infant and toddler age group, seeing them as capable and competent learners.

Louise is originally from Nelson and returned after 9 years living in Australia and London.  She is married with two children and enjoys family picnics, reading and walks along many of the Nelson beaches.


Christine Hunter

Jane Murray

Ko Tracey White ahau, no Waihi ahau.  My background, I have a level 7 degree in Information Technology (2001).   My husband and I were self-employed from 2005 – 2013 running an electrical business and home improvement products business.  We have two sons aged 24 and 14 and a daughter aged 10 and we live in the Brook, which we love!

I started relieving for Bays Montessori in August 2017 and joined the Miro room two days a week in November 2017.  In 2018 I started working three days a week in the Miro room and completed my Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) through Te Rito Maioha.

I completed two placements at a local kindergarten (children aged 12 months – 2 ½ years – similar to Miro room) and a daycare centre (children aged 2 – 5-years).  I was also blessed to have the opportunity to have two terms of observing Babyfocus classes which align with the Pikler philosophy.  These experiences have made an impact on my own philosophy which strongly aligns with Montessori and Pikler.


“Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorise, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core”

– Dr Maria Montessori

the bays montessori, nelson, stoke, kauri

To enrol your child or to find out more information



Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.

Captcha Image
the bays montessoris, new zealand

Phone us on 03 546 8768

“The classroom has a peaceful atmosphere and children have opportunities to concentrate without interruption, to develop self-control and to explore the things they are interested in”

– Parent Testimonial