The Forest School

School Staff

Our Amazing Team

Gavin and Tennille are the Directors of The Forest School, are married and have three boys. They are highly experienced and skilled educators with a combined experience of over 37 years leading education for children from pre-school, primary and high school through to adults in tertiary education and the corporate sector. They believe the combination of nature, relationships and meaningful connection, is a powerful context to experience authentic growth and learning – that lasts a lifetime.


Founding Director & Head of School

Tennille is mum to 3 boys, married to Gavin and together they started The Forest School so kids could be kids, be happy, be themselves, play, explore, have fun, and learn in a rich way. She loves all children, particularly the ones a wee bit outside the box and in her free time enjoys cooking, walks on the beach and spending time with her family.


Founding Director & Head of School

Gavin is married to Tennille and together they founded The Forest School. He is all things adventure here and particularly loves games and free play alongside the children. Gavin has spent his career working in the outdoors with people of all ages creating rich learning and growing experiences. He loves the water, surfing, sailing and all things adventure.


Lead Teacher

Danielle is one of our head teachers at The Forest School and comes to us all the way from Canada! She has been part of the team for four years now and we don’t think she’ll ever leave, because she often says this is the best job she’s ever had! Danielle enjoys spending her free time with her husband exploring this beautiful country, keeping fit and motivating others in the gym, and going on hikes in the beautiful New Zealand bush. 



In 2017  our whole whānau fell in love with The Forest School. Our three children all attend, and after five years it is still my absolute favourite day of the week. I enjoy supporting children through different challenges, guiding them and seeing them engaged deeply in what they are passionate about.


Office Administrator

I first joined The Forest School four years ago as a parent when my eldest daughter was 12 and struggling at school. I was looking for alternative education where she could be herself and learn in her own time. She loved attending The Forest School and it was so nice to see her so excited to go.

Jill Harvey

Accounts Administrator

I came on board recently to assist Gavin and Tennille with the administration side of the business allowing them both to go out and do what they do best, inspire, motivate, and provide an awesome outdoor educational experience for kids. I love working with other like-minded people that are out to make a difference. My own interests include natural health and well-being, rock collecting, and spending as much time in the outdoors as possible.


Office Manager

Natalie is the Office Manager at The Forest School. This year she will be going into her third year in this role. She enjoys
spending her free time with her hubby and kids at home, gardening and sightseeing around all the local natural attractions.



Esta is one of our casual teachers who is always on-hand to join the team in the forest when we need her! She is a mum of two outdoor-loving, incredibly creative boys and is a true advocate and lover of nature play herself. 



Jodie is a teacher at The Forest School and this is her 4th year with us. She enjoys spending time with her family going on adventures outdoors, walks and bike rides with her boys and getting in the garden. She has a soft spot in her heart to help children feel comfortable in themselves and reach their full potential, gain confidence and achieve things when they feel overwhelmed or unable to overcome obstacles.


Teacher & Social Media

This is her fourth year as a parent at The Forest School, and her second year as part of the staff team. She has a soft spot in her heart for vulnerable children and enjoys spending her free time gardening, weaving harakeke and being outdoors in nature with her two young children and hubby.