Linda Ward – Managing Director and Owner
Linda is the owner and manager of the Reach Forward Early Learning Centres. Right from the very start she knew she would be involved in teaching – as a young girl she would line her dolls up and proceed to show them all how to read and write. From these humble beginnings she has soared in her career.
For the first 11 years of her work life she taught primary aged school children both here, in New Zealand and overseas. And then before moving on to owning and operating her own businesses she spent a further 11 years working in a church developing their children’s enterprises. Previous experience in opening five children’s facilities led to this stage of her career. But owning and operating Childcare Centres is not all Linda loves to do. She has a particular passion for training teachers to be effective and gifted professionals. Her collection of books continues to grow as she buys more and more in order to assist those under her care.
Travel features high on her goals in life. She has already travelled to over 34 countries – Europe, Africa, America and Asia but she still longs to see more. She says travel has broadened her view of people – deep down we are all the same but the way we express ourselves can be so diverse. This diversity is the spice of life. Mission trips to other countries to help the locals with whatever they need is also one of her passions.
Her husband spent his childhood in the middle of Borneo whilst his parents shared Jesus with the local Dyak people. So consequently both Evan and herself support many mission ventures. Daily disciplines such as Bible reading and prayer and the joy of belonging to a local church keep her life in balance. And cooking up a storm and having theme dinner parties allows for quality time with her family and friends.
Linda leads by example, works with all her might and has the vision and capacity to grow Reach Forward into a place where children, teachers and families develop and flourish.
Rachel Badger – Lead Teacher
Rachel was born and raised in Christchurch, with her two sisters, one older and one younger. She loved going on family holidays to the Marlborough Sounds, Nelson and touring around the South Island during her years as a young girl. Rachel has wanted to work with children since she was a little girl helping with Sunday School lessons at her church. After all the rumbling and shaking of Christchurch, Rachel moved to Auckland in 2013 after graduating from Canterbury University with her Bachelor of Teaching and Learning.
Rachel is cheerful, creative and fun loving. She loves to bring joy into the classroom. As a young teacher she shines in her ability to inspire others and is well able to lead the centre, staff, parents and children with skill, ability, enthusiasm and maturity. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys exercising, going for walks in the lovely New Zealand native bush, drinking coffee and having brunch at the best cafes around Auckland. We thank Rachel for being with us as her skills and character help make Reach Forward a great place to belong to.
Josephine Tatad – Teacher
Jo and her 9 siblings grew up collecting eggs on their poultry farm, in the Philippines. Country life was a large part of her childhood but her passion for learning new things inspired her to take up the teaching profession. After gaining her Masters degree, she embarked on eight years of teaching in the Philippines before making the decision to teach in New Zealand.
Starting a new life in New Zealand is a choice she and her husband made for the welfare of their 4 young children. She feels that Auckland is an ideal place to raise a family as it is a safe, friendly environment and provides wider opportunities for personal growth and development. She also loves to read inspirational books and could stay inside a library for a whole day. She also loves walking to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Passionate, driven, determined and enthusiastic are some of the words she uses to describe herself. In the future, she wishes to travel with her family around the world. Jo is a fully registed teacher and has added to all her other degrees by completing a New Zealand Graduate Bachelor of Education ECE.
We all appreciate Jo as she approaches each day with positivity and a determination to give everything her best.
Jennifer Livingstone – Teacher
Jennifer is a ‘local’ to Helensville and thoroughly enjoys living on a lifestyle block with sheep, a cow, many chickens and a dog. She tells us stories of finding big nests of eggs in hidden parts of the property.
Jennifer was born in Buffalo, New York, USA. While there she gained her Primary Teaching Certificate but dreams of making a difference filled her head. So she joined the US Peace Corps and served in Namibia in Africa. After many adventures – one of which was meeting her husband – she had to decide on which country to settle down in – Africa or USA? Why not just go and have another adventure so off they set to the ends of the earth – New Zealand. And this is where they decided to settle… All this happened in 1997, well before their two kiwi children arrived.
While Jennifer’s own children were under 5 she turned her home into a home based care centre. She enjoyed this so much that she decided to add to her primary teaching certificate and earned her Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education.
Jennifer describes herself as curious, creative, playful and positive. She enjoys sharing in children’s wonder and exploration.
In her spare time she can be found either reading, playing tennis with her son, walking, baking or spending time with family and friends. She and her family enjoy attending a local church.
Jennifer is a well-qualified teacher who brings a wealth of knowledge and the love for her local community to the team.
Monika Sovea – Teacher
Monika was born and raised in Fiji. In 1985 she decided to join her older brother in New Zealand and this is where she met her husband. They married in 1988 and have enjoyed a very ‘fruitful’ marriage with 7 children. As well as her own 7 children, she welcomed into her family 2 foster teenage girls.
Monika loves to see each person as a ‘gift from God’ and feels that the most important times for imparting and instilling good character are within the early years of a child’s life. This is what led her, in 2004, into the Early Childhood Education field. She is well qualified, not just from the experience of raising 9 children, but also with a Diploma of ECE. She loves music and is often found singing to the children.
Monika lives locally. She says that she has a special talent for ‘peace-making’ and for making people ‘feel at home.’ Her favourite meal is the meal of Fijian raw fish. We appreciate Monika’s calm, quiet and hard-working manner.
Louette van Deventer – Teacher
Aunty Louette is originally from South Africa. She and her husband, Dewald, like to spend time with friends and family. They were both raised in Christian homes and have a deep love for God. Louette has a talent for art and craft; especially painting and sewing. Home decorating and house design also bring her joy. She and her husband love the outdoors and are keen to explore New Zealand.
Louette studied for her Bachelor of Education degree in S.A in a small town called Potchefstroom in the North West province. She completed her studies in 2010. She has been a teacher ever since. She loves children and thoroughly relishes the role of being a godmother to a baby boy.
Louette is of the opinion that she is called to be a teacher. She is passionate about children and enjoys each stage of their development.
Jasmine Ye – Teacher
Jasmine was born and raised in Canton, China. She came to New Zealand to study Early Childhood Education. In China, her mum is an early childhood teacher in a kindergarten. While growing up she would visit her mum’s class and play with children there. She found that working with children was really fun so she decided to become an Early Childhood teacher – like her mum.
Not long after arriving in New Zealand Jasmine became a Christian. She believes that it’s God’s plan for her to work at Reach Forward because she is enthusiastic about supporting children to develop Christian character and grow their faith through the early years. While studying, she worked in numerous childcare centres in Auckland. She has experience working with infants, toddlers and preschools. She enjoys working with all age groups as they are all precious gifts from God!
Jasmine says she is caring, compassionate and warm-hearted. Her passion is to help and serve others. When she was in China, she was a regular volunteer in her local community. She went with social workers to visit the elderly and children with disabilities. After she came to New Zealand, she volunteered for Leprosy Mission and World Vision.
In Jasmine’s spare time she enjoys singing, playing the piano, reading and jogging. We are all so happy to have Jasmine with us as we know her soft and kind spirit will draw the best out of our young children.
Evan Ward – Property Manager
Evan, Linda’s husband, is the practical work horse that silently operates behind the scenes. His days are full with maintenance work, building, carpentry and technology; makeing him a valuable member of our team. Apart from Linda, Evan’s other passion is audio visual production. His interest in capturing the right “shot” is an extension of his desire to create a perfect environment.
Evan spent 10 years of his life (from age 10 to 20) living in a remote village in the middle of Borneo while his parents did missionary work amongst the Dyak people group. Evan speaks fluent Indonesian and has a real appreciation for the value of things. Spending his young formative years working with people who had very little in the way of material possessions has influenced his thoughts and actions; he is constantly grateful for the life we have, here in New Zealand.
Evan is a huge asset to Reach Forward as his work supports the development of the centres, allowing us to concentrate on developing and delivering the best programme possible