the joy of teaching, the love of learning

the joy of teaching, the love of learning

Meet the Board

Welcome to the Board

Our Board are passionate about our kindergarten communities - children, their whanau and our staff. As such, our kindergarten communities are the focus of all decisions, discussions and future directions that we as a Board undertake. We feel privileged to be part of the learning journey that the Tamariki in our kindergartens are embarking on and are greatly inspired and encouraged in 'the joy of teaching and love of  learning' that is fostered in these communities.


The Napier Kindergarten Association Board is responsible for the governance of the Association and its role includes:

• Development of the Association’s Strategic Plan
• Employment of the General Manager
• Monitoring of strategic outcomes
• Management of risk
• Monitoring of legal compliance
• Setting policies

The Napier Kindergarten Association Board is comprised of the following 9 positions:

Vice President
Staff Board Member
Board Members (x6)

The General Manager, Finance Manager and Education Managers are Ex officio members of the Board.

Members are either voted or conscripted onto the Board for a 2 year term.

The Board meets regularly throughout the year in order to carry out its responsibilities. Representatives of the Board also attend Kindergarten AGM’s, the Association AGM and on occasion may participate on various Standing Committees or Review Groups.

The Board prepares regular newsletters which are distributed to our kindergarten communities and are also available under the Board Newsletter page.

Current Board Members:

 Rachel Leutele

I am currently a stay at home mum of two amazing children, one of whom attends Onekawa Kindergarten. My family and I moved here in December 2021 after deciding to bring our children up in my husbands’ home town.

Prior to becoming a stay at home mum, I was a law graduate who then went on to be admitted to the bar as an enrolled solicitor and barrister of the High Court of New Zealand.

I am passionate about learning and using my skills to help people. Although my background is in law, in 2022 I completed a Certificate in Business (Accounting Support Services) purely for the purpose of increasing my skills and broadening my knowledge.

I am also the creator of the instagram @the_savvy_saver where I share what works for me in terms of budgeting and saving on a single income. I am the kind of person who thrives on learning and aims to do everything to the very best of my ability.
Rachel was co-opted to the Board March 2023, elected on 21 June 2023.

Kelly O'Leary-632 Kelly O'Leary (President)
Kelly was elected to the Board at the 30 June 2020 AGM.

I am blessed to be a mum of two amazing tamariki – Daniel (nearly four years old) and Anna (two years old). I feel privileged to be part of the Eskview Kindergarten whanau for nearly a year.

I am in awe at the māhī all kiako and staff undertake with our tamariki every day. I am impressed at the highly effective practices I observe, the way the learning is based on tamariki’s interests, the respectful and genuine day to day interactions which leads to positive learning relationships and most importantly (to me!) is the kindness shown to whānau and tamariki. This environment means my son loves kindergarten, is highly engaged in his learning and I feel confident to leave him in the very capable hands of his teachers.

I am incredibly passionate about all things education. I have had a fulfilling teaching and leadership career thus far and I am looking for a position that will allow me to explore new challenges and continue to develop my areas of interest. I have a genuine interest in children and their education and wish to further this on the Board. I believe that quality governance has a positive impact on staff, students, whānau and wider community and I believe I have knowledge, experience and skills to contribute to the abundant skills already on the Board.

I am committed to providing all learners with the best standard of education possible. Therefore I believe it is important to undertake personal and professional development. In 2011 I completed my Masters of Education which was predominantly focused on effective leadership practices, supporting Māori students to be successful in schools and effective literacy practices in the classroom. I believe it is important to keep myself up to date with current research around best practice which helps me to make informed decisions to improve outcomes for learners. As a new board member I will ensure I undertake professional learning to ensure I am working to do the best for our Napier community.

I am considered a fair, reasonable and calm person. I bring these attributes with me when supporting people to resolve conflict. It has been a deliberate development in my leadership over the past several years. This has been developed through learning conversations with my colleagues, extensive reading and several courses to understand the theory and pedagogy behind “open to learning” conversations whilst keep a positive working relationship with staff.
I have a proven ability to connect and engage with staff, tamariki, whānau and wider community from a respectful and strength-based perspective. Most of all, I want to make a positive difference in our community and ensure tamariki are at the heart of decision making.

Lydia Johnston

I am the mother of 3 girls (aged 6, 4 and 18 months), with one child (Emily) who attends one of the Napier Kindergartens and another (Claudia) only 6 months away from joining.

I am thrilled my girls are having the kindergarten experience and the joys of discovery and interaction with the world at large it presents.
I am a full time working mother who is a lawyer for a large tech company and have board and governance experience to bring to this position.

I am passionate about early childhood education and the community it supports. Napier Kindergarten is a crucial part of the community it represents and it is important it does represent the needs of that community.

It has been a rewarding experience joining the board late last year and with a few months under my belt it feels like the board has got its feet under it. l would like to continue to offer up whatever assistance I can to the board of Napier Kindergartens.

Remaining open and engaged with all parts of the kindergarten community is important to me - please feel free for a discussion at any time!

      Lillian Church (Staff Elected Board Member from 30.01.23)
I am a permanently employed Head Teacher of Onekawa Kindergarten and have been in this role since October 2015. During this time I have attended many B.O.T. Meetings (prior covid), to gain a better understanding of the Napier Kindergarten Association Governance at a B.O.T. level. I have previously been a Chairperson and Secretary for the Patoka Rural Kindergarten prior to becoming the Senior and Supervising teacher of a small team. I found my time with Patoka Rural Kindergarten very rewarding and a time where I learnt and developed a passion for Governance. I was with Patoka Rural Kindergarten for 26 years. When I moved to Hastings and secured my role at Onekawa Kindergarten, I also became the Finance member of the Board of Trustees for Hastings Central School for 2 terms (6 years), and resigned in September 2022. I loved my role with the school and was privileged to have gained knowledge of the school funding systems, SMS, kaupapa, policies and regulations. I would like to now learn the kaupapa of our own Board of Trustees and contribute to the mauri / life and the mana of our Association in a leadership role that I believe this position will provide.

‘Mahia to mahi, hei painga mo to iwi—

Work for the betterment of our people.’

 Hayley Burnett

My name is Hayley Burnett, I am a mum of two beautiful tamariki, a baby girl, and a boy who attends Tamatea Kindergarten. I have some experience in early childhood services, having studied a degree focusing on the first eight years of life, however, my core background is in primary school teaching. My teaching career so far has seen me develop a passion for the transition between early childhood services and primary school and last year saw me teaching a class of high-school aged learners who were aspiring to become early childhood teachers.

I have recently taken a break from teaching since having children, and currently work for Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawke's Bay, which is a youth focused not-for-profit organisation.I have wanted to stand for nomination for a while, however, the timing has only been right for me this year. With my combined knowledge of both Te Whāriki and the NZ Curriculum, how tamariki learn, and my commitment to making a positive impact on the world, I am confident that I could contribute valuable insights and perspectives to the board. I want to help make a positive difference in our kindergarten community and help drive meaningful change.

I am excited about the possibility of joining the board of trustees and leveraging my skills and experience to help advance the mission and goals of the organisation.

Hayley was elected to the Board on 21 June 2023.

Contact Us


Phone:  06 835 7890


66 Kennedy Road, Napier

PO Box 4298, Marewa, Napier

New Zealand

Mission and Vision Statements

Our Vision
Learning is child's play and teaching is a passion.

Our Mission:
Children and parents look forward to their kindergarten experience