Meet the team

Ruth Libby

Centre Owner / Lead Teacher

I established Koru Montessori in 2006, but have taught in Montessori early childhood education for 28 years. I have also mentored student and graduate teachers during my time and acted as a visiting lecturer at AUT for Bachelor of Education students. Originally I trained as a physiotherapist and worked with children with developmental delays. Through this work I discovered Montessori and studied further to become an educator specialising in the Montessori method. I believe in encouraging children to be independent, motivated individuals with a love of life, learning and a respect for themselves and others. With my husband Kim, we have four adult children, all of whom started their educational journey in Montessori. I have seen first hand the great start and benefits of the Montessori approach in the early years. My grandchildren are now starting their Montessori journey which is very exciting.

I love my job as every day I get to see children growing and learning. They make me constantly smile and I feel very privileged to be able to work in partnership with families/ whanau to support this very important stage in their child’s life.

Saori Kayano

I have been working at Koru for nearly nine years now. Originally from Japan, I moved to New Zealand in 2000. Originally, I was qualified as a nurse but always wanted to work with children so completed a Bachelor of Education (Montessori Speciality) and here I am. I love working as a teacher and enjoy settling new children, making them feel at home and part of our community. Children always surprise, inspire and amaze me by just how curious and capable they are. It is also a lot of fun working with the children.

I love music, concerts and I’m a bit of a foodie, enjoying exploring different kinds of foods and eating out with my partner and friends.

Sophie Geary

Originally from France, I moved to London to continue my studies in 1996 and flew to the other side of the world 10 years later. Having worked as an environmental scientist and as a translator for a number of years, I discovered my real passion when I started looking for a preschool for my children. Walking into Koru Montessori, I knew straight away that it was the right place for my children but also for myself!  To be meaningful and long-lasting, I believe that the learning process should be relevant and joyful, and this is exactly what the Montessori philosophy is about. I just love how the Montessori environment provides children with real, meaningful hands-on experiences to learn from so they can become confident, independent, compassionate and happy adults. I am currently studying the Montessori method of education whilst working at Koru as a teaching assistant.

I love nature and the environment, arts and crafts, music, learning languages, reading, playing games, eating and cooking, and travelling! I also love learning new skills and just wish there were more hours in a day so I could give more time to all my interests and passions, and fit in all my little projects!


Kia Ora! My name is Joanna and I come from Shanghai China. I came to NZ in early 2019 to further my study in early childhood teaching at NZTC. I’m so glad to join Koru Montessori and work with the lovely children and families! I’ve been working as a Montessori preschool teacher in bilingual childcare centres in Shanghai for 6 years. I have obtained Teacher’s Qualification of China and the Early Childhood Credential of American Montessori Society (AMS). I believe children are competent learners and explorers and what I aim to do is to follow their interests and strengths, empowering them with the abilities to observe, to explore and to learn, and protecting their natural curiosity and individuality.

I’m a lover of music, reading, drawing and traveling. I really enjoy my new life in New Zealand and feel very lucky to be so close to the spectacular nature everyday.

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