Meet the Teachers

Meet Mrs Evonne Phillips – Head Teacher

Teaching has been my vocation for many a year and I began teaching way back in 1978. I have worked with young children for more than 20 years and then with adults for a further 10. I am a teacher through and through and just prior to coming to First Church Preschool I was fulfilling a dream of mine to ‘teach the teachers’ as a lecturer at NZ Tertiary College. There I was able to be a part of the lecturing team working with student teachers who were doing their early childhood teacher education with NZTC.

I gained a Kindergarten teachers Diploma in 1977 and then my Bachelor degree in Education many years later in 2011.  In 2013, I added a Post Graduate Diploma in Education, with Merit.  All of my study has been done part time in conjunction with working full time and raising a family, so I know the value of hard work!

I am married to Tom who is the Minister at First Church – a place I love. Tom and I have been married for just over 40 years and we have two beautiful adult children. We became grandparents some time ago and now have two beautiful grandsons. It has been my privilege to lead the team at First Church Preschool – a privilege which I hope to fulfil for many years to come.

Meet Mrs Barbara McEldowney – Teacher

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I come from Bozeman Montana in the USA – but I am a kiwi as of July 2018! I am married to Rob for 38 years and counting! 

I currently live in Drury, South Auckland. I have two adult children – Charisa, 33, married to son-in-law, Dan – and Cameron, 30, and (hopefully soon!) another lovely ‘daughter’, Gwen, who is Maylasian born. I spend my free time making cards and I have 3 lovely grand-cats – Meggy, SirEd, and Tenzing. I love to help others, to serve – I love to be a source of blessing! I have a way with kids and love to learn with them. I love to discover.
I have worked here at our Preschool with the most fantastic children in South Auckland for nearly 25 years now – and I plan to keep on doing so.

I love my Saviour, Jesus, with my heart and soul. 

I look forward to seeing you at Preschool!

Meet Mrs Melanie Whitham – Teacher

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I am a qualified teacher,  and I studied at Auckland University. I have been teaching full time since 2012. I have a strong passion for children and their learning.

In my spare time I enjoy getting creative with craft and knitting is one of my favourite hobbies. My husband and I now have two wonderful children who bring us great joy to our lives.

I enjoy many crafts, farm life and diy projects are always fun to get into.

The four of us enjoy going to Motorsport events where my husband is part of the media photographers.



Meet Mrs Susan Brown – Release Teacher

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I am married to Todd and we have three wonderful children. Before having children, I completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Japanese and minoring in Education. I then worked in the tourism industry for eight years. After that I decided to stay at home with my preschoolers for nine years. It is from my experience as a mum and loving these preschool years that I decided to retrain as an early childhood educator. I have a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education.

All of my children attended First Presbyterian Church Preschool and I was on the preschool committee and then became the Chairperson for a year from 2011-2012.  This Preschool holds a special place in my heart and I value all that it represents.

Outside of work and school I enjoy hanging out with my family, playing card games, riding my bike, reading, and going to church.

I am really looking forward to getting to know both you and your children.

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