Our Staff


Hi! I’m Eliza Dynes.

I am the teacher for the Sea Star and Seal groups and the co-ordinator of the pre-school to collaborate with our staff of 7. I began working at Balcombe Preschool in 1998 and my qualification is a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood). I became an “exemplary” teacher after validation in 2016.

My favourite activities at pre-school are art and craft and the messy activities, however my specialty is making ”smelly” play dough;- chocolate scented brown play dough and lemon scented yellow play dough are my specialties! 

 I live in Rye with my husband Bill. Our daughters Emily and Sophie are in their 20’s! 

 Apart from working with young children, I love travelling, walking, music and cooking (if I hadn’t chosen pre-school teaching, I was going to be a chef!)


Hi! I’m Jessica Dixon. 

I have the pleasure of working with our Dolphin, Penguin and Turtle groups and this year marks my 9th year of teaching at Balcombe Pre-School. At Pre-School, I enjoy interactive experiences which foster creativity (such as; - art, construction, dramatic/imaginative play, music and movement experiences). I also love making the most of our amazing yard!

I have a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Monash University) and experience working with children from birth to thirteen years of age. 

When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, making improvements to our home (through gardening and a little DIY!), listening to music, attending ice hockey games (Go Mustangs!!!) and exploring new places. I live in Bittern with my husband, Jareth, my beautiful little boy, Ollie (Oliver) and our two energetic, Red Heeler x Kelpies; - Bear and Crash!


Hi! I’m Kerri McMillan.

Formalities out of the way first! I've pretty much lived on the peninsula all my life. I have an Associate Diploma in Early Childhood (I.E.C.D) Melbourne Uni and I have been at Balcombe since 1997! (I was a Family Day Care Field Worker prior to that and have worked in Child care in Frankston North and Berry Street in Richmond). I honesty LOVE this work and I really am honoured to be part of your children’s lives.

Now, what can I tell you about me! I have had 2 ferals. I mean sons! I absolutely adore them and they have given me joy, laughter and a greater understanding of why animals eat their young!

My eldest, sadly, died in 2011 (please don't feel I can't talk about him, I love to! He was the light of my life). My 'baby' moved to live in Melbourne last year so for the first time I have an empty nest (still working out how I feel about that!)

I am a child of the 70’s and 80’s. Bay City Rollers Rock!!

I am absolutely convinced that Hugh Jackman should (and wants to) be with me but his wife is so nice I can’t bring myself to break them up. So I have decided to marry Elmo when I grow up instead. Um … I could go on but you may never leave your children with me if you know too much! 


Hi! My name is Kristy Bell.

My introduction to Early Childhood began when I started my own business through the Mornington Peninsula Shire. I cared for children through the Family Day Care scheme. 

The role was extremely fulfilling and I decided to extend my knowledge within the field. I obtained my Certificate III in Children’s services and my Diploma in Children’s services.

I started working within a wonderful service, Balcombe Pre School in 2011. I am looking forward to meeting new families and re connecting with previous families. I’m looking forward to sharing upcoming experiences with the children especially my favourites messy and creative play.

Outside of work I enjoy crafting with felt balls, home improvement, caravanning and adventures with the family. Huge holders of my heart are my two boys Ayden and Leighton. We reside in Mornington. 

Hi! I’m Natalie Cootes.

I live locally in McCrae with my children Tom, 21 years and Matilda, 18 years.

I hold a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) and have been teaching for 26 years. I have taught in Bendigo and Somerville and the past 18 years have relieved for the teachers here at Balcombe Pre-School. 

I love teaching Kinder age children and get excited watching the children’s creative development through the year. I’m sure to show off your child’s painting, drawing or creation to you! I am also a qualified Children’s Yoga teacher and add this to the program both formally and incidentally over the year.

When not teaching I love open water swimming, yoga, walking and gardening.

Hi! My name is Tathra.

I joined the wonderful team at Balcombe Pre-School in 2016, after completing my Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care at Chisholm Institute of Tafe in 2015. 

I have grown up in Mt Martha with my parents and older brother. I attended Mt Martha Kinder, Osbourne Primary School and went on to Mornington Secondary College. 

In my free time I enjoy photography, doing crafts, traveling, going to the beach, camping and spending time with my friends and family. 

Hi! I’m Victoria Barber.

I am the teacher for Dolphin, Penguin and Turtle groups. I obtained my Bachelor of Early Childhood (Monash University) in 2010, and returned to University in 2015 to achieve my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Deakin University). I returned to University to help further my knowledge and skills in helping children transition from Early Childhood into the Primary years. During the last six years I have been a Kindergarten Teacher for the City of Casey. This is my first year at Balcombe Pre-school and I am so excited to be joining such a wonderful team of educators and also getting to know a new community of children and families. 

At pre-school I love to cook with the children, and use this time to share different recipes from families and the wider community. I also love to read and enjoy music and movement, singing songs, dancing and being involved in dramatic play. 

I live in Safety Beach with my husband David and our gorgeous son Eddie, who we absolutely love and adore! We feel so lucky to be able to bring our son up in such a beautiful location. Eddie is already quite the beach baby! Together as a family we love to get out and explore the local peninsula which has so much to offer, especially to young families.