(03) 9817 3624 info@jjmcmahon.org.au

Our Staff

Our experienced and enthusiastic teachers and assistants are highly qualified in early childhood education. Our university-trained teachers plan and deliver programs which reflect their specialist knowledge of child development. Most importantly all our staff love their work and the children. Some are past parents from our kindergarten community.

All staff have current First Aid, CPR and Epipen/Anaphylaxis training. In addition, staff are experienced in liaising with outside agencies where a child has additional needs.

Our staff are approachable and available to talk to parents about any problems or concerns that may arise.

Let us Introduce Ourselves

Three year (Yellow & Green) Team
Kylie Gazzola – Teacher

My teaching experience comes from working in a range of early childhood settings, and I am very happy to be the teacher of both 3 year old groups. I have a strong belief in parents and educators working together to ensure a safe and supportive kindergarten environment, and I consider myself fortunate to be trusted with children’s education in the early years. I enjoy getting to know each child and their family, and I learn as much from them each day as they learn from me. I love to explore, question, play and laugh alongside the children and find it most rewarding to see their curiosity, independence and love for learning grow.

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Sharon Cohen – Educator

My name is Sharon and I work as an Educator with 3yo Green & Yellow groups and lunch relief for 4yo Red and Blue groups. I completed my Associate Diploma of Social Science (Child Care) over 20 years ago and my Certificate III in Children’s Services. I returned to the workforce when my youngest began school and have been at JJ’s for 12 years. Watching the children grow and develop I feel is a great privilege which I truly value.

 

 

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Blue Group Team

Catherine Waters – Teacher
(Nominated Supervisor & Educational Leader of JJ McMahon Kindergarten)

I have a Diploma of Teaching and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education and have been delighted to call JJ McMahon home for the past decade.  Each of our 3 children attended this kindergarten and I served on the committee, so JJ McMahon is a very special place for me.
I see my most important role as that of Blue group’s teacher.  For me, it is the interactions I foster; both with the children and between the children which is of utmost importance.  It is my privilege each year to watch your children grow from quiet little people into confident, empathic children with a disposition for learning.  As Educational Leader and Responsible person of the centre it is my role to lead a team of dedicated educators whose goal is to make our kindergarten the best it can be, a goal that has been recognised in our exceeding rating in the ACECQA assessment process.

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Fiona Robertson- Educator

My name is Fiona Robertson and I am Co Educator in 4 year old groups. JJ McMahon is an extremely unique and special place for children to commence their learning journey. Our philosophy is implemented each and every day in an inspiring and nurturing environment. Both my teenage children attended JJ McMahon. I was fortunate to join the staff in 2009 and remained until 2013 when we were transferred to Brisbane. Returning to Melbourne, I am delighted to be re-joining the staff at JJ McMahon and look forward to meeting and getting to know all the children and families.

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Maria Garcia – Educator & Spanish Language Teacher

I came to live in Melbourne from Spain with my Australian husband and son in 2011. In Spain I was teaching drama to children 8 to 16 years old in a recognised Theatre for 10 years before co-founding my own Theatre Company & School. I graduated as a Primary School Teacher in Spain and here in Melbourne I completed a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching Spanish at JJ McMahon Kindergarten since 2018 and am currently running a government funded Spanish program across two kindergartens. My passion is using play to stimulate curiosity and creativity in children which I believe is essential for future learning. It is a delightful experience sharing my language and my culture with the children.

 

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Sharon Cohen – Educator

My name is Sharon and I work as an Educator with 3yo Green & Yellow groups and lunch relief for 4yo Red and Blue groups. I completed my Associate Diploma of Social Science (Child Care) over 20 years ago and my Certificate III in Children’s Services. I returned to the workforce when my youngest began school and have been at JJ’s for 12 years. Watching the children grow and develop I feel is a great privilege which I truly value.

 

 

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Vanessa Chessum-Buxton – Educator

I am very excited to be an Educator in Red group at JJ McMahon & lunch relief in Blue group. I am married, have three teenage children and many pets. I am Diploma qualified in Children’s Services, but I also have an Advanced Certificate in Fine Arts and Design as well as a Bachelor of Photography. I like to use my art background in the kinder room so we can make exciting art projects and creations. I also have a passion for gardening, cooking and sustainability and love sharing my knowledge with the children.

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Pam Rochforte– Uniting Additional Assistant

Hi my name is Pam and I am very happy to be part of Blue Group as an Additional Assistant this year after previously assisting in Red Group. I am married and a Mum to three teenagers who keep me on my toes. As a family we enjoy the outdoors with bike riding, swimming and bush walks. I look forward to learning all about the kinder group of 2022 and helping them to develop into independent and confident children.

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Red Group Team

Emily Millward – Teacher

Emily has a Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education and is in her 16th year of teaching. Emily has worked both in Australia and the UK and is very passionate about education in the Early Years. Emily loves the relationships that she builds with the children, and is always grateful for the learning she gains from them each year. This year Emily will be teaching 2 days in red group and will be team teaching with Chloe.

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Chloe Cooper – Teacher & Educator 

I completed my Diploma of Education studies in 2019 and chose to move into a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education because I found that my passion was in the Early Years. It is a privilege to be able to nurture children’s development and their sense of identity. I am so happy to be part of the JJ’s team and excited to take on a team-teaching role in Red Group. The most important part of my philosophy is fostering secure and strong relationships with the children so that they feel confident to explore and extend their learning and I cannot wait to further develop this as a teacher.

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Vanessa Chessum-Buxton – Educator

I am very excited to be an Educator in Red group at JJ McMahon & lunch relief in Blue group. I am married, have three teenage children and many pets. I am Diploma qualified in Children’s Services, but I also have an Advanced Certificate in Fine Arts and Design as well as a Bachelor of Photography. I like to use my art background in the kinder room so we can make exciting art projects and creations. I also have a passion for gardening, cooking and sustainability and love sharing my knowledge with the children.

 

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Fiona Robertson- Educator

My name is Fiona Robertson and I am Co Educator in 4 year old groups. JJ McMahon is an extremely unique and special place for children to commence their learning journey. Our philosophy is implemented each and every day in an inspiring and nurturing environment. Both my teenage children attended JJ McMahon. I was fortunate to join the staff in 2009 and remained until 2013 when we were transferred to Brisbane. Returning to Melbourne, I am delighted to be re-joining the staff at JJ McMahon and look forward to meeting and getting to know all the children and families.

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Qun Gai – Educator

I am currently studying my Masters of Education at the University of Melbourne. I graduated from Deakin University in 2021 from a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. During my time studying this degree I completed a placement at JJ McMahon and was offered casual employment in 2018. I really enjoy working in the JJs environment and gaining experience across all groups. I am very happy to be joining the red group team and can’t wait to share many of my interests with the children, such as playing piano.

 

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Maria Garcia – Educator & Spanish Language Teacher

I came to live in Melbourne from Spain with my Australian husband and son in 2011. In Spain I was teaching drama to children 8 to 16 years old in a recognised Theatre for 10 years before co-founding my own Theatre Company & School. I graduated as a Primary School Teacher in Spain and here in Melbourne I completed a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching Spanish at JJ McMahon Kindergarten since 2018 and am currently running a government funded Spanish program across two kindergartens. My passion is using play to stimulate curiosity and creativity in children which I believe is essential for future learning. It is a delightful experience sharing my language and my culture with the children.

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Sharon Cohen – Educator

My name is Sharon and I work as an Educator with 3yo Green & Yellow groups and lunch relief for 4yo Red and Blue groups. I completed my Associate Diploma of Social Science (Child Care) over 20 years ago and my Certificate III in Children’s Services. I returned to the workforce when my youngest began school and have been at JJ’s for 12 years. Watching the children grow and develop I feel is a great privilege which I truly value.

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