TMET Trustees and Administrator

Passionate about providing a quality education inspired by the Montessori philosophy which nurtures in the child a lifelong love of learning through self-discovery.

  • Montessori@Arataki and Montessori@Bellevue are both governed and administered by a registered Charitable Trust, Tauranga Montessori Education Trust (TMET).
  • TMET was established to ensure a quality Montessori education would be available to children in the Tauranga area.
  • The Trust was established in 2002 and has successfully governed the establishment of Montessori@Bellevue Primary, the largest Montessori Primary School in New Zealand.
  • The Trust’s objective is to provide opportunities for children to be educated within a Montessori environment and Montessori@Arataki is the latest step in this journey.

I have been involved in Montessori education for over 20 years, firstly as a teacher at both pre and primary level. I spent three years at St Nicholas teachers’ college in Dublin, Ireland, where I studied Montessori Education: Birth-12 years. I have worked in a variety of primary and preschools in Ireland and in New Zealand, and I established a preschool called Montessori Helen’s Bay in County Down, Ireland, which I sold before backpacking through Africa.

There I met Grant, a Kiwi, who was heading back to NZ after his OE. After numerous African adventures, I decided to head to New Zealand where we married and have had four children: Henry, Charlotte, Freddie and Patrick, all of whom have attended Montessori@Bellevue.

As a family we are involved in Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service in the summer, along with rugby and hockey, where I coach a Bellevue School team in the winter. I enjoy triathlons, half Ironmen and have faced and beaten the challenge of Ironman. This was perhaps the biggest challenge I have undertaken but it certainly taught me a great deal about myself and my mental fortitude, and to complete it was an achievement I am truly proud of.

My role as EO allows me to continue my passion for Montessori education. I oversee both of our schools and ensure that our teachers and wider school community are supported in their mission of delivering the NZ curriculum using the Montessori philosphy. This is done through organising professional development, keeping abreast of new curriculum developments and by liaising with the principals and BOTs of both schools. I am also involved in the arranging and supporting of parent meetings where we offer education and information around Montessori curriculum and philosophy.

I am always happy to have a coffee and a chat with anyone and am open to all suggestions – you can always catch me in the school car park, at Montessori@Bellevue, or by sending me an email. It is an honour to be part of TMET, and I look forward to the continued success of our Trust and the growth of our current primary schools.

Leanna Mitchell
TMET Executive Officer

I have four children who have attended Montessori@Bellevue with the youngest having started recently and the oldest two having just left to embark on their Intermediate journey. My children have thrived in their respective Montessori classrooms and I feel truly grateful that they have been able to experience an education philosophy that celebrates their individual strengths and allows them to learn and progress at their own pace. Being part of such a wonderful community and working with dedicated parents is the icing on the cake. Professionally, I spent the bulk of my working life in the City of London’s investment banking sector as an Economist, fixed income sales person and fund of funds administrator. Since having children I’ve undertaken wide ranging administrative volunteer roles within Playcentre and Plunket. My personal interests include health and nutrition, interior design and property.

Lee Martin
TMET Administrator

I am a lawyer specialising in corporate and commercial law and a mother of 2 young girls. Both my girls thrived at Montessori preschool and the eldest is now at Montessori@Bellevue. We moved to Tauranga from Melbourne and have loved the outdoor lifestyle and sense of community in this beautiful city that we now call home.  I truly believe that the holistic, practical and engaging approach to education provided at Montessori@Bellevue and Montessori@Arataki offers our children the best possible start to their education journey. During my law career I have practised in Australia and New Zealand and I have experience in large law firms as well as private in house practice and advising organisations in the public sector. I am currently a Senior Associate at Cooney Lees Morgan.

Tanya Drummond
TMET Chair

I’ve been on the Bellevue School Board of Trustees since 2013 and the TMET Board since 2014. I currently serve as Bellevue School BoT Chairperson and TMET Treasurer. I have an ACA accountancy qualification and over thirty years of work experience in the financial media, sustainability, investment banking and chartered accountancy sectors in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. I run the Asia Pacific operation of a global online interest rate derivatives news service. Being of Ngaiterangi-Ngati He descent, I have strong local whanau ties. I grew up in Southland, studied at Otago University and spent fifteen years in London before settling in Mount Maunganui. My wife and I have four children who will keep us connected to Montessori@Bellevue for a while yet. Outside of family my main passion is football. I coach a number of teams, am Head of Youth Development at Tauranga City AFC Football Club and assist with the delivery of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Federation talent programmes.

Maia Ririnui
TMET Treasurer

My husband Mark and I own a local Montessori preschool.  Between us we have four boys, our three older children are now young adults and our youngest son is in the senior Montessori 9-12 classroom at Bellevue Primary. Our family only discovered Montessori in 2010 but we are grateful to have found an education philosophy that closely aligns with the life values that are important to us.  I believe that a child rich in social dispositions and responsibility will succeed in life, and will add value to the lives of others. We feel that Montessori@Bellevue supports our family vision and the holistic growth of our son.  I have come to TMET with a diverse business skill set, having left the finance industry to re-train in my current teaching role. I look forward to building on the solid foundations of Montessori in Tauranga and growing our Montessori community.

Fenella Wilson
TMET Trustee

Julie has a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about the value that Montessori education brings to the lives of our children and wider communities. Julie and her husband Kurt fell in love with the Montessori way when they were up in Auckland and their children, Zach and Isobel, attended Marshwood Montessori, St Heliers. When they moved to Papamoa they continued the children’s Montessori education with Zach enrolling at Montessori@Artaki and Isobel attending Montessori Milestones preschool in Papamoa. Both children are now in the M@A classroom Julie is a working mum and enjoys balancing her job in strategy at Zespri (and eating lots of healthy kiwifruit) with spending quality time with her family. She is excited to join the Trust to support TMET and our schools as we continue to grow our Montessori children and communities, and watch them flourish.

Julie Fisher-Somervell
TMET Trustee

I was raised in Levin by Jan and Noel and my four other siblings. Our family later moved to Matamata when I was 14. I attended Matamata college, left after my school certificate year and served my building apprenticeship with a local builder. When I was 23 I left NZ for my OE to the US, UK and Europe. During that time I met my wife, Michelle, in London. We lived in Fulham (south-west London) and we loved the lifestyle.  One of our flatmates was a Montessori teacher and she sparked mine and Michelle’s interest in the Montessori philosophy. After a bit more travelling Michelle and I returned to NZ and were married in 2009. Lucia was born in 2012 and Ella in 2016. When it was time to decide what education we wanted for the girls, Montessori was the standout choice. Lucia attends Montessori@Bellevue and Ella attends Montessori@Otumoetai (preschool). Both girls love Montessori. Currently I am the director of a busy building surveying company. I love spending time with our family and enjoy get-away weekends and local outings. I am personally enthusiastic about contributing to the Montessori community and being a trustee of TMET.

Kent Hazlehurst
TMET Trustee