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Year 7 Totara Team
Kia ora koutou. My name is Blake Wilson, and I’m thrilled to be in the year seven Totara Team.
I come to Auckland Normal Intermediate as an energetic and passionate teacher eager to encourage learners to reach their academic potential while supporting their social and emotional wellness. I’m a firm believer in giving everything a go and living by this mentality. Growing up I was a frequent to the bright lights of the stage, being cast in musicals such as Oliver, Hairspray, and most recently Wicked. I find great stress relief in art, recently learning the techniques of printmaking, and growing up I enjoyed rowing, running, and playing tennis.
After finishing my studies, I spent three years working for Air New Zealand as an international cabin crew. During this time, I developed a love of working with diverse people, learning about new cultures, and travelling the world. My favourite destinations were Vancouver, Canada, and Seoul, South Korea. After heading back to university and joining the wonderful world of teaching I’ve never looked back and enjoy the everchanging environment, meeting new people, and making a difference.
Year 7 Kauri Team
My name is Mike Fenner and I am the year 7 teacher in Room 19 and the Performance Leader here at ANI. It is my first year here at ANI, after teaching in year 6 for four years, and I am incredibly excited to be working with students of this age group. My goal for all my students is to find their strengths and continue to build the skills and confidence they need to be outstanding citizens while having some fun along the way! My background is in music, after living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA for five years, studying performance, working as a professional guitarist, and teaching guitar and music theory. This passion for music hasn’t dwindled, but my interest in teaching has grown. My favourite things in the classroom to teach are creative writing and maths, for I adore storytelling and problem-solving. In my spare time, I will generally be playing guitar, dungeons and dragons or video games, experimenting with a recipe or catching up with a good novel or show. I look forward to meeting you all and helping your tamariki in their first year here at ANI.
Kia Ora, my name is Vanja Franich and I am super excited to be the classroom teacher of Rm 21 for the remainder of this year! I was born and raised by the beach in Tāmaki Makaurau, although I have only returned this year (2022) after spending the last 5 years in the capital - Te Whanganui-a-Tara pursuing my studies at Victoria University. I have recently graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma of Education. Prior to my postgraduate studies, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Environmental & Development Studies. My undergraduate degree fits perfectly within the IB program as we explore the social sciences and tackle real-world scenarios.
In my own time, I love enjoying the company of my friends and family, getting out into nature, cooking, creating things, travelling and listening to music.
I cultivate a classroom environment where students embrace their identity, are confident, creative, and excited about their learning and becoming future contributing citizens. I encourage curiosity and risk-taking and I want my students to welcome mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. Strong authentic and caring relationships with my ākonga and their whanau sit at the heart of my practice. I see myself as a lifelong learner, as I am always looking for opportunities and experiences to expand my knowledge - I encourage this mindset in my classroom. I hope to foster a classroom environment that promotes both academic and personal growth!
Asaalam alaykum and Kia ora o te whanau, Ko Sunilla Naik toku ingoa. I am the classroom teacher of the young champions of room 22. This is my third year of teaching at ANI and my second year as the staff House Leader for Whenua. It is my privilege to work in an environment that supports and extends students to reach their full potential and beyond.
I have six years of teaching experience in a range of year levels between years 1 to 6, as well as two years of teaching at a university in Pakistan as a visiting faculty member. My family moved to New Zealand in 2015 and I completed my teacher’s training in 2020 from The University of Auckland. The following year, I was fortunate to complete a post-graduate scholarship course that specialises in teaching math and science to young children. I admire and respect the thinking of intermediate- age students and strongly aim to support them to extend their learning and strive for excellence. In my classroom, I promote inclusiveness and foster positive relationships and lifelong learning. Alhamdulilah, I am married to Faisal- an IT professional. We have three energetic boys, Masha Allah and we both support them with their academic and sports activities. In my free time, I experiment with cooking traditional cuisine and watching a good cricket series with my family. Born and raised in Pakistan and having maternal and paternal families in India, my first two languages are Urdu and Hindi. I love to play badminton and won the women’s double championship in my community last year. I am thrilled and excited to be part of the ANI family and looking forward to a fun-filled learning year ahead.
Year 8 Matai Team
Kia Ora and Konnichiwa! My name is Yasuko Okamura from Japan! I obtained a Bachelor of Education in Japan and studied in Australia majoring in Master of Teaching and Master of Applied Linguistics. I have 11 years of teaching experience in a range of year levels at international schools. I joined ANI in 2020, however, I could not come to NZ due to Covid restrictions. I am so grateful to be back at ANI last year and finally get to meet all the lovely students! I believe it is important to establish trust and strong relationships with my students and their parents so that they feel safe and happy in an inclusive environment.
Apart from teaching, I am passionate about running, trekking, and drawing. The longest distance I have run is 80km a day. I have participated in 10 full-distance marathon races. I also love travelling by myself to experience different cultures and meet new people. I have been to 30 countries; which country is next? I always want to share my experiences with my students so I can help to inspire and motivate them!
I hope we have a great experience during our time together!
Year 8 Rimu Team
Tēnā koutou katoa. This is my 4th year at ANI and I am so excited to be teaching year 8 students the skills to be lifelong learners. I was travelling the world for some time where I discovered just how important it is for all of us to be global learners and to soak in the knowledge of the wider world. Social studies is my favourite subject which fits well with the school's International Baccalaureate program.
I have a huge focus on building strong relationships with my students, their families and the relationship between the students in my class. I believe with a strong foundation of surrounding relationships, creates an inclusive and safe classroom environment that exhibits students who are empathetic, confident, creative, innovative, willing to take risks and many more positive outcomes as a result.
In my spare time, I love to travel, garden, cook, bake, explore new places, spend time with family and friends and also be a lifelong learner. This year, I personally have a big focus on pushing myself outside my comfort zone and trying new things. I hope my students will follow as an example and try something different this year.
Kia Ora and Namasthe! My Name is Alby Jose, and I am excited to be with Year 8 students this year. From India, I moved to New Zealand in 2018 for new experiences. I completed my Master of Arts and Bachelor of Education in India, where I started my career as a teacher. I have worked as a reliever in ANI for the last two years and am delighted to be a part of this inspiring team. I believe in creating a classroom culture where students feel safe, happy and productive to become lifelong learners. Creating engaging learning environments along with building solid positive relationships are always important.
In my spare time, I love being with my family (husband and two children) and enjoy cooking, reading, watching Netflix series and exploring new places with friends.
I always appreciate open-mindedness, risk-taking and grabbing opportunities, and I look forward to what we achieve together this year.
Kowhai Team (Specialists)
I come from a family of teachers, having 2 sisters currently teaching at high schools and a mother who taught primary school, (she was even unfortunate enough to teach me). I grew up in the South Island on a farm just outside of Timaru where I spent most of my spare time outside riding my bike, herding sheep, playing cricket, and building huts. I worked as a Land Surveyor in Timaru for 8 years before heading to London where I ended up working in a school for autistic children. This encouraged me to study and brought me to Auckland where I slaved in the hot sun as a landscaper while studying for a Primary Education Bachelor's degree.
I was fortunate enough to do my final placement at ANI where I have remained since. When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy skateboarding, walking, biking, and spending time with friends and family. I am looking forward to the fun and challenges of the year ahead.
I’m Sharon and I am very happy to be the teacher for Room 30 for the rest of this year. After spending the past few years overseas, I’ve decided to return to beautiful Aotearoa and teach at my alma mater - where I’ll be able to give back to the community that has taught me so much. I have a background in classical violin, although my current passion lies in jazz composition and other contemporary formats. I believe music is paramount to a well-rounded education and all children are musical by nature. Music actively engages all of our senses and connects us globally. It is an art form, a mode of self-expression and most of all it is FUN!
Can’t wait to meet you all!
Part-time Support Staff
Hi, my name is Bruce Banbury and I am the Property Manager at ANI.
Kia ora, my name is Harry Williams and I am excited to be joining ANI as a teacher aide this year
I have recently completed a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation majoring in Coaching at AUT. My degree has helped me learn how to bring the best out of others and to strive to be the best they can be, both in the classroom and in the sports arena.
I am passionate about all things sports, particularly rowing and swimming. I rowed all through high school (St Peters College) and I was lucky enough to be a part of a team that competed at Henley Royal Regatta in 2019, which was an awesome experience for me. I am currently a rowing coach at St Peter’s College and work part-time at Athlete Development out of AUT Millennium on the North Shore.
Kia Ora ! My name is Roisin Smyth and I am excited to be joining the ANI team for the 2023 year.
I have just moved to New Zealand from Ireland and I am really looking forward to experiencing different cultures and traditions in a New Zealand school. I will be working as a Teacher Aide for 3 days a week and running the library as ANI’s School Librarian for 2.
I studied a four-year degree in Ireland in Early Childhood Care and Education - working with children up to 7 years old. I am hoping to become a primary school teacher so my experience in ANI with older students will certainly shape the way I teach in the future. I am really passionate about working with students, and helping them in whatever way they may need.
Back in Ireland - I grew up in the countryside, where I loved spending time with friends, family and of course my dog Holly. Since moving to New Zealand, while my family interactions have all been through FaceTime, I have certainly made a lot of friends who have become my NZ Whānau!
Tēnā koutou, ko Millar Mercer toku ingoa. I am a teacher aide that brings a nurturing and positive mindset to the large variety of students I interact with. I value equality, hard work, and optimism, encouraging students to become better than they were yesterday. My passions lie with the natural world, as I have spent many years studying te moana and te whenua of Aotearoa. I endeavour to foster a passion for the natural world through this knowledge. To complement my passion for the natural world is a love for the outdoors, I enjoy surfing, travelling, tramping, and diving. I currently play ultimate frisbee and would love to teach anybody who would listen. If you see me around, don’t hesitate to start a conversation.
I look forward to working with you and your children to advance the future of New Zealand