Meet the Bee Keepers

Our teachers (we’ve nicknamed them the keepers of our little bees) are highly trained and experienced to provide you and your child with an outstanding learning experience that is both nurturing and fun.

For us, the best element of our job is that we get to play a special part in your child’s development and watch them learn, grow and create.

Emily Mitchell

Teaches: Bee-Artistic, Drama-Bees, Bee-School

Emily is a practicing artist, who has been successfully selling her artworks for several years.  She specializes in acrylic on canvas, illustrations, and printmaking.  Emily holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters in Teaching.  She has been teaching Visual Arts for a number of years, in well know schools like The Junction Primary and Kotara High, and she loves fostering creativity in young children.  Emily’s passion for art, creative thinking, self expression and kids led her to the Hive where she is committed to building and maintaining an inspiring community of young creatives through drama and art.

Vanessa Lynch

Hive Director and Teaches: Bee-School, Kindermusik, Bee Musical & Just me Bees
Interests: Vanessa loves to be creative and enjoys baking, sewing and playing music with her kids – they even have their own little family band!

Vanessa has a B.Ed (hons) – Bachelor of Education with a major in Music and has spent several years teaching classroom music in high schools and primary schools in London. Vanessa is an accomplished pianist and flute player and has achieved an ATCL level in performance.

While studying an honours degree in Music Education, with a focus on neural research on children’s intellect and cognitive function, she discovered that music is especially powerful in shaping a child’s interests and abilities in the preschool years. Opening Hive, a creative learning studio for local families, was a natural step in her desire to give children the opportunity to develop the cognitive and musical skills that early childhood music training offers.

Vanessa is also a mum to Zara, Jayden and Brianna.

Amanda Batterham

Teaches: Kindermusik, Humming Bees & Private voice lessons
Interests: Performing on stage and being creative through both music and interior design.

Amanda is a very talented singer, songwriter and performer, with numerous appearances on stage at local events, including the popular Speers Point Carols by Candlelight. Amanda is a qualified Early Childhood Music Teacher and has spent numerous years working with vocal groups, choirs and in performing arts.

With years of experience in teaching children both in Kindermusik classes and in private lessons, Amanda is a supportive, kind and inspiring teacher for our young bees.

Amanda’s cheerful, energetic and enthusiastic approach to our creative classes is  contagious.

Melissa Saunders

Teaches: Performing Arts Classes – Kindermusik for 0-6 yrs – Drama – Private Tuition
Interests: performing live music, puppet shows and singing.

Melissa has a background and qualifications in early childhood teaching and music education – giving you and your child a complete educational and creative experience. Before joining the Hive, Melissa worked as an Early Childhood Teacher and Director and also as a Voice Teacher and Choir Director. Melissa’s skills extend to the stage as well, where she has many years of experience in writing, directing and producing musicals and dramatic theatre productions.

She’s also a singer and songwriter – you might just see her wowing audiences at live performances in local venues around Newcastle.

Melissa is a proud mum to Natasha and Daniel, who share her passion for beautiful music and performance.

Alexandra Hussein

Teaches: Drama

Alex graduated from Newcastle University in 2011. She was awarded first class honours with the university medal for her double degree in Primary teaching and Arts, majoring in Drama and primary music. Alex has also taken courses in acting at NIDA and the Urdang academy in London.

Prior to completing her degree, Alex worked as an Actor in both Australia and London. Aside from performing in classical theatre, Alex performed in a variety of Children’s shows which toured extensively throughout the UK and Victoria. Alex has also appeared in numerous tv commercials and short films as well as working for Newcastle’s NXFM and KOFM for over ten years.

Alex is a very passionate drama teacher who aims to teach children the classical craft of acting and performance skills.

Alex is the daughter of Victor Emeljanow who is the longest serving Professor of Drama in Australian history as well as an accomplished Director and Author. Alex is also proud mum to her two little girls, Aria and Ayla.

Effie Barr

Teaches: Art – Drawing, Portrait, Oil Painting, Sculpture, Photography

Art is & has always been Effie’s passion in life. She has been a working artist for the past 16 years, working predominately in graphite & oils. She also sculpts & is an avid photographer.

Effie has an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts & studied Art Education at COFA. She has been part of more than a dozen group exhibitions & has sold her work privately in Australia, the USA & Europe. In 2008 Effie was commissioned to create a Public Art Work for the City of Sydney Council, and in 2010 her painting won the People’s Choice Award in North Sydney, and was purchased by the council for permanent display in their Sydney Heritage collection.  Effie has also worked as a photographer & is currently creating artwork for a local fashion label for both textile print & marketing.

Effie is Mum to her beautiful children Sapphire and Atlas, and has worked extensively with children in early childhood education, in which she holds a Diploma of Early childhood education.

Below are a selection of oil paintings and graphite drawings by Artist Effie Barr.

Caitlin Pengilly

Teaches: Flute, Piano, Saxaphone

Caitlin is a highly skilled musician with her AMUS in flute, and is currently in her second year of study at the Newcastle Conservatorium. She has been teaching children and preparing them for AMEB exams for the past 5 years and has also worked closely with the Band Link program. Caitlyn provides comprehensive tuition that engages your child in correct technique on their instrument, reading, listening and playing. She has a great personality for working with children, and is loved by all her students.

Estela Martinez

Teaches: Bee-School, Spanish, Kindermusik & Bee-Musical

Hola! Estela is a passionate teacher of Spanish and Music. She has a long history of making music in her family, and enjoys playing piano and guitar.  Estela studied for 8 years at the Conservatorium in Spain where she was immersed in the Solfege system, theory of music, piano and voice.  She pursued a career in sound engineering and travelled widely with performing artists, setting up and mixing the sound for concerts.  She also spent many summers teaching in holiday clubs for children. After moving to Australia to be with her husband, Estela found her passion for teaching Spanish and music to young children. She has a natural rapport with small children, and a highly engaging manner which makes her an instant hit with kids!

Qualifications: Qualified and Licensed Kindermusik teacher, Adv Dip in Sound Engineering, Diploma in Spanish as a second language, Masters in Communications

Josh Bowen

Teaches: Guitar

A graduate of the Newcastle Conservatorium, Josh is a highly skilled guitarist and teacher. Proficient in all styles of music, Josh can teach your child good technique, chords, strumming patterns using music they are interested in playing.

Hannah Cizzio

Teaches: Piano, Bee-School

Hannah has a holistic approach to teaching piano and a high commitment to excellence in teaching.  Hannah is in her 3rd year of teaching, and works closely with each child to engage them in learning that develops their ear, their reading and their playing technique.  She is skilled and qualified with AMEB examinations in classical and contemporary playing which makes her a great teacher for children as well as teenagers.

Hannah is passionate about nurturing creativity and skill in young children and she enjoys her work in Bee-School where she has an assistant teacher role.