Team of Leaders

Sydney Early Education Centres boasts a leadership team of experienced early childhood professionals. All are highly qualified early childhood teachers who collaboratively use their knowledge and experience in SEEC’s policies and practices. We believe this is a fundamental element of high-quality early childhood care and education and what makes us stand out as an exceptional service.

“In play a child always behaves beyond his average age above his daily behaviour. In play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.”


Meet the Leadership Team

Margaret Wilson,
Manager of Sydney
Early Education Centres

Diploma of Teaching – Early Childhood (Sydney CAE)

Master of Educational Leadership in Early Childhood (Macquarie University)

Margaret is an experienced early childhood teacher with over 30 years experience in the management and provision of early childhood education and care. Margaret holds a lifelong commitment and passion to provide the highest quality of early education to the children in her care. Margaret designed, built and opened Westmead Early Education Centre in 1997, Northmead Early Education Centre in 2012, and Cheltenham Early Education Centre in 2020. Each centre is unique and architecturally designed using Margaret’s early childhood knowledge, expertise, and creativeness. Margaret is closely involved and monitors all aspects of Sydney Early Education Centres in her role as Manager and Education & Quality Support Leader. She takes a ‘hands on’ approach due to her passion for high quality early childhood education and the enjoyment she gets from working with a dedicated team of early childhood professionals.

Ann-Marie McConville,
Director of Cheltenham Early Education Centre

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)

Master of Educational Leadership in Early Childhood (Macquarie University)

Ann-Marie has 20 years experience working in a variety of children’s services and 15 as an Early Childhood Teacher/Director in Sydney Early Education Centres. Ann-Marie first began teaching/directing at our Westmead Campus before taking up the position of Director at our Northmead Campus in 2012, and then Director at Cheltenham Early Education Centre in 2020. Ann-Marie was involved with the design and creation of CEEC’s learning environments and team, and her dedication to CEEC and passion for early childhood education is the foundation for CEEC’s outstanding reputation. Now Ann-Marie is excited to be putting her new knowledge and experience into our new bespoke second Sydney Early Education Centre in Cheltenham which is due to be completed in 2024.

Sultana Thanawala,
Director of Westmead Early Education Centre

Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years)

Graduate Certificate of Education Studies (Specialising in Educational Leadership)

Sultana joined Sydney Early Education Centres in 2013 as the Early Childhood Teacher/Director at Westmead Early Education Centre. Sultana has over 15 years experience in the early childhood profession in a variety of roles including child care educator, early childhood teacher, trainer and assessor, and in-home care educarer. Sultana’s dedication to early childhood care and education with a community focus has helped to cement Westmead Early Education Centre’s strong reputation as the in-demand learning facility within the community.

Antonela Sala,
Director of Northmead Early Education Centre

Bachelor of Teaching (Birth to Five Years)

Antonela is a qualified early childhood teacher with over 14 years of experience working with children and babies. Antonela was a foundational team member at Northmead Early Education Centre when it opened in 2012 and became the Director in 2019, building upon NEEC’s high-quality reputation and outstanding education and care. Antonela is passionate about developing respectful, strong relationships with children and their families, and has actively researched and promoted the RIE, Pikler and Circle of Security approaches in SEEC’s policies and practices.

Melissa Garthwaite, Educational Leader – Cheltenham Early Education Centre

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), Certificate IV in Leadership and Management

Mel is an Early Childhood Teacher with over 20 years of experience in the early childhood education sector as a room leader and in leadership/management roles.  Mel is passionate about hands-on, holistic and inclusive education and believes that quality relationships and engaging experiences are key to a child feeling supported and engaged within the program. Mel enjoys getting to know families and working with them to engage children’s interests and build on their strengths. Mel also sees the importance of having strong practices in place and the team working together to support the development of a quality program for children. 

Jacky, NEEC’s Educational Leader

Jacky Zeng,
Educational Leader – Northmead Education Centre

Master of Teaching (Early Childhood)

Jacky has been teaching in the early childhood sector for over 10 years, during which time he worked at our Westmead campus for two years as an early childhood teacher. Now as NEEC’s Educational Leader, Jacky is dedicated to supporting the growth and development of our children and the learning community at NEEC, upholding our philosophy to ensuring that every child at the centre receives the best possible education and care. Jacky is passionate about early childhood education, and he believes in the importance and value of empowering children as capable and active lifelong learners. Jacky has an interest and experience in language teaching as he explores the growing interests of our society in bilingualism and multilingualism. 

Sydney Early Education Centres takes pride in our exceptional team of educators and support staff, many of whom have been working for SEEC for 5 to 20 years. Our teaching teams are highly qualified and diverse and share their specialist training or skills such as music, art, language and cooking.

We employ more staff per child ratio and more qualified staff than the regulatory authorities require as research-based evidence links high staff/child ratios and well-qualified teachers/educators to high-quality program delivery. Our teams are highly qualified and experienced and display a natural affinity and love for children and early childhood education. We believe these qualities are vital to your children’s happiness, care and education.


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’