Our Team

Liala Davighi – Owner

Liala Davighi was studying philosophy at the University of New South Wales, during which time she had her first baby and her first experience in child care. The campus child care services were full with wait lists in the hundreds. Along with other students, she petitioned the students union and within nine months the university funded a house and the students organised a child care cooperative.
Once she graduated she moved to Italy where she spent several years teaching English in primary schools and to adults in corporate business. In 2000 an opportunity arose to move to Barcelona for two years. She moved with her two daughters and was involved in establishing a franchise of ice-cream shops.

She moved back to Australia in 2004 and has been involved in the operation of the family owned child care business. She believes in keeping the ‘care’ in early education and supporting families which is reflected in her passion for the Reggio Emilia approach to education for young people. Liala enjoys spending time with her family which also includes two grand children, reading a good book and getting outdoors.

Grateful for her natural swimming ability and love for the ocean she volunteers as a surf life saver and water safety officer for Nippers, helping others foster a love for the water while feeling safe.

Lisa Friend – Director and Educational Leader Pottsville

Lisa has an extensive background in Early Childhood spanning over 16 years. Starting her career in Family Day Care and then experiencing both Community Preschools and Long Day Care Lisa found her niche within the Gumnuts Family. Lisa has completed her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and is currently studying her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.
Lisa began her journey with Gumnuts back in 2006 as a casual educator. She has since held various roles including Lead Educator in both the Joeys and Preschool Rooms. In 2012 Lisa fulfilled the Director’s role for a maternity leave position. She then continued as the Assistant Director until 2014 when she was permanently promoted as the Director.
Lisa is an advocate for children; their well being and sense of agency being paramount through their journey at Gumnuts. She is passionate about the Reggio Emilia approach and believes in the ideology of the children’s right to be heard. She is intent on the environment being full of wonder, excitement and opportunities to explore and believes in the environment being the third educator. Lisa is a firm believer that collaboration between children, educators and families ensures the development of secure, reciprocal and respectful relationships, thus allowing children to become successful, confident lifelong learners.
All four of her children have attended Gumnuts and she is an active member of the Pottsville Community holding various roles on the Pottsville Beach Football (soccer) Club’s Committee where she is currently the Vice President. Lisa enjoys spending time at the creek and beach when she isn’t acting as chauffeur to her children!