National Executive Members - 2019/2020

The Professional Learning Association New Zealand Te Māngai Whakangungu Kaiako o Aotearoa (Inc) is led by a national executive. Each year, members are elected to the national executive which consists of a Māori medium committee and an English medium committee with a chair for each committee that become co-chairs of the national executive.

Nichole Gully Nichole Gully

Arareo Māori Team Leader & Faciltator
Māori & English
CORE Education

Nichole is a Māori-medium team leader at CORE Education. Before moving to CORE Nichole has worked in Māori-medium education in a variety of roles from early childhood to tertiary. Nichole lectured at the University of Canterbury teaching for over 12 years in te reo Māori and Māori education. She led a number of masters level papers in Hoaka Pounamu: Māori Bilingual and Immersion Teaching specialising in language teaching methodologies and language revitalisation. As well as the educational sector Nichole also has an ongoing commitment to working with whānau, hapū and iwi to regenerate te reo and excellence in educational achievement. She has also been a the National Provision Lead working with the Ministry of Education for Te Reo Māori in Māori-medium. Nichole has also worked in the government and business sectors developing Māori language strategic and culturally responsive practices planning and implementation.

Helen Cooper Helen Cooper

Senior Manager Contracts
English Medium - Committee
CORE Education

Helen is a member of CORE Education’s Senior Leadership Team. She oversees Professional Learning and Development contracts awarded to CORE, Early Years through schooling. Helen supports and guides project teams, providing leadership in design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. She has had a specific focus on Learning with Digital Technologies programmes, and is currently sponsor for the Connected Learning Advisory, Grow Waitaha, centrally funded PLD, Emerging Leaders and Expert Partners.

Helen is committed to fostering collaborative partnerships, building effective trusting relationships between schools, providers and iwi, through developing shared vision and agreed ways of working. Helen has also had a lead role in the design and implementation of Grow Waitaha, working in collaboration with Leadership Lab, Massey University, Evaluation Associates and Mātauraka Mahaanui. As a member of the Operations Management Group for Te Toi Tupu she worked closely with Cognition Education, University of Waikato, NZCER and Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development. Prior to joining CORE in 2011, Helen worked for the National Office of the Ministry of Education as Senior Advisor in the e-Learning Unit and prior that, as Senior Advisors Arts in the Secondary Outcomes Team. Helen has a Masters in Education in Professional Learning.

Michael Absolum Michael Absolum

Company Director
English Medium - Committee
Evaluation Associates

Michael is the founder and director of Evaluation Associates and a thought leader in assessment for learning. He is the author of ‘Clarity in the Classroom’ which is recognised by teachers as the best New Zealand text on assessment for learning.
Michael is currently directing the Consortium for Professional Learning (CPL) Leadership and Assessment PLD in the Ministry of Education's Southern, Central South and Northern regions. He is also the co-national lead for the Ministry of Education’s Māori-medium aromatawai (assessment) project.

Michael has a deep knowledge of the New Zealand education system and what it takes to lead an effective school, create inspired and inspiring teachers and enable students to become powerful engaged learners.  He is also one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded evaluators.

In the past, Michael has held positions as a teacher, a psychologist, and with the education review office. For the last 15 years he has consulted to schools and the wider education system through Evaluation Associates, leading many highly successful professional development programmes.

Michael has a Master’s degree in science and a post-graduate diploma in educational psychology from Auckland University.

Ian Stevens Ian Stevens

Director, Education Support Services, University of Otago
English Medium - Committee
Te Tapuae o Rehua Mau ki te Ako Consortium

Ian is Director of Education Support Services (ESS) at the University of Otago. Since 2012 ESS has been a partner with the University of Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in the Te Tapuae o Rehua Mau ki te Ako consortium. In his role Ian has been responsible for leading a range of Professional Learning and Development (PLD) contracts for ESS, including English and Māori Medium, Literacy and Reading Recovery contracts.

Ian has been a Social Sciences and Leadership facilitator for the Otago/Southland region History and a Teaching/Learning lecturer at the College of Education. He is currently lecturing History in the University of Otago Masters of Teaching and Learning programme.

Ian has a strong commitment to equality of education for all students and challenging and supporting centres, kura and schools to make significant shifts for those underachieving within our system.

Phil (Piripi) Prendergast Phil (Piripi) Prendergast

Kaihautū Māori
Māori Medium - Committee
Kaiārahi: Mau ki te Ako

Piripi began his career as a secondary history teacher in the Bay of Plenty and later specialised in teaching English in Māori medium settings, mostly in Christchurch. He is the author of several bilingual social studies texts and is on the executive of the Canterbury Association for Gifted Education. Currently, Piripi is the Kaiārahi for Mau ki te Ako, the PLD consortium of ngā papatipu rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago. Mau ki te Ako is one of six strategic partnerships that come under Te Tapuae o Rehua. Piripi also does facilitation work for provisionally certificated teachers.

Jill Parfitt Jill Parfitt

021 512 580

Jill has worked in education for over 25 years. From teaching and then facilitation, Jill moved into contract management and leading teams of facilitators, delivering professional development and learning in schools, predominantly in the Auckland and Northland regions. Jill has a published article about effective facilitator practice.

Jill is currently consortium manager for Te Toi Tupu - Leading Learning Network. In this role she works collaboratively with five professional learning and development organisations who hold a number of Ministry of Education contracts.

Lifelong learning and continual improvement within a supportive and growth environment are important to Jill. Working collaboratively with a number of different professional learning organisations on common issues and focus has been a highlight for Jill in recent years.

Ella Newbold Ella Newbold

Ngāti Porou, Waikato
Māori Medium - Committee

Ella is a Māori Medium Professional Learning and Development Project Director and Facilitator at Te Puna Wānanga, and the School of Māori Education within the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Auckland.  Ella specialises in pūtaiao/science, te reo, pānui, curriculum development and leadership and management. She also lectures in pūtaiao/science education at an undergraduate level.

Tammy Gardiner Tammy Gardiner

Te Arawa, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Awa, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Whakatōhea
Māori Medium - Committee

Tammy Gardiner is a facilitator supporting the pāngarau provision. Her current research and theory on teaching and student learning continues to influence her professional practice to focus on Māori success as Māori. Tammy’s leadership roles including Special Education Needs Coordinator, Deputy Principal, Acting Principal, and 20 years of experience within the Māori medium education sector have all contributed to her wealth of knowledge in education.

Kathryn Hodson Kathryn Hodson

The Institute of Professional Learning: Te Whai Toi Tangata

Kia ora tātou
I am proud to lead the wonderful team of facilitators and administration staff at Te Whai Toi Tangata; the Institute of Professional Learning (IPL). We are part of the Education Faculty at the University of Waikato. The team and I work hard to ensure the needs of teachers and school leaders, local, national and international, are well served.

I bring experience in the international and national PLD scene to my role as Director of IPL. I have learnt an awful lot about what is important to educators in various locations and mostly it comes back to He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Close and respectful relationships go a long way! I am an expert partner for one Kāhui Ako, work I find challenging and exciting and I am an accredited facilitator.

Tama Kirikiri Tama Kirikiri

Kaihautū Mātauranga Māori – Māori Education Leader
Institute of Education

I am driven, passionate and dedicated to te reo Māori and Māori educational achievement and development. I am an inclusive practitioner of Kaupapa Māori or Māori principles who utilises kaupapa or principles as a foundation for all of my practice. I am a strategic thinker who can work effectively with others in a timely manner to achieve deadlines as required.

The way in which I engage with colleagues is underpinned by value, manaakitanga (care and inclusiveness). I look to support and work professionally with colleagues and demonstrate safe ways to behave particularly in te ao Māori. My extensive experience working with and for Māori communities has shown me that meaningful engagement comes from building relationships, gaining trust and thereby creating change.

I have experience at governance level which has allowed my development in understanding a different level of leadership; taking responsibility for the strategic direction of an organisation; ensuring that the right staff are employed that will bring about the desired outcomes; and making sure that the organisation meets both internal and external obligations.

Ōku Pukenga - Key Skills

• I proactively take a leadership role particularly when it comes to biculturalism and technological innovation
• I have proven relationship management skills with clients and staff at all levels. Strong relationships ensure safety, clear communication, understanding
• Experience in strategic planning and implementation
• I am an experienced project manager having led projects at national and organisational levels.
• I am a fluent speaker and writer of Māori
• I am an experienced facilitator and communicator - in both English and Māori

Aku Wawata - My aspirations

My career is distinguished by leadership roles in the arts, community and tertiary education.