National Executive Members - 2021

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.

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.

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.

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.

John Leonard John Leonard

Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāi Tūhoe
Kaha Education

I am a PLD facilitator and have had over 25 years’ experience in the education sector, with over 16 years as a school principal.  I completed Hoaka Pounamu Graduate Diploma in Bilingual and Immersion Teaching in 2008 and opened a bilingual unit in Freeville School.  From 2012 – 2013 I was seconded for eighteen months to lead Mau ki te Ako; the collaboration of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, University of Canterbury and the University of Otago to deliver culturally responsive teaching and learning professional development.  

I led the implementation of Huakina Mai, a strengths-based relational intervention in schools.  Huakina Mai was piloted for two years in three North Canterbury Schools in a collaboration between the Ministry of Education, the University of Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.  I contributed to research projects in health, philanthropy, work safety, sport and education. A director of Kaha Education, and Ihi Research,  I am an accredited Expert Partner and PLD facilitator, and have supported schools as a critical friend on the Teacher Innovation Fund.

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.

Rosina Shandley Rosina Shandley

Ngati Porou
Learning Leaders

I am a Lead PLD facilitator. My teaching career has spanned Kohanga Reo (Early Childhood)  through to Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels of the education system. I have been a successful primary school principal and also a Lead Advisor with the Ministry of Education. My Master of Education Degree was awarded with First Class Honours in 2013. That same year I was awarded the New Zealand Association of Research in Education (NZARE) prestigious Rae Munroe award for my ground breaking research into accelerating Māori medium students' curriculum achievement and language capability.  I am a published researcher and leading authority on Second Language Acquisition, and Formative Assessment practices. I continue to dedicate my career, and PhD research, to supporting equitable educational outcomes for all children.

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.

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.

Michael Richards Michael Richards

Telco Technology Services

I’m a passionate educator who thrives on the challenge of teaching at all levels. I believe in hands-on, inquiry based learning where learners have ownership of their learning and can therefore access education in meaningful, self-driven contexts.

I began my teaching career as an intermediate teacher, enjoying the challenge of extending gifted and talented students. Likewise, I have worked with struggling pre-adolescents as they developed the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive as young adults. From there, I progressively moved down the year levels, teaching years five and six for several years, and then finally teaching years one, two and three. Teaching at the junior end of schooling equipped me with the skills and understanding to teach foundation numeracy and literacy.

Since leaving the classroom, I’ve moved on to develop my adult teaching skills. During this time, I have been heavily involved in developing Ministry of Education funded professional learning programmes for New Zealand schools. This has involved face to face, internal training, and workshopping to develop, refine and improve our offering, thus ensuring value for money and efficacy of delivery.

Anna Sullivan Anna Sullivan

Evaluation Associates

I am the Chief Executive at Evaluation Associates.  With a background in teaching and school leadership, I moved into the world of PLD many years ago now.  Since that time, I have been fortunate to have worked with many people in our PLD whānau through the different roles I have held. 

About a decade ago, I worked in the Ministry of Education national office, managing the school support services contracts and a range of other PLD contracts. From there, I worked for Cognition Education managing their PLD teams and I was also the foundation consortium manager for Te Toi Tupu – a collaboration between NZCER, The University of Waikato, CORE Education, Cognition Education and Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development.  When I came to Evaluation Associates, we were part of the Consortium for Professional Learning with the University of Auckland.  And so, collaboration across organisations is a very familiar and welcome space for me.   Mā whero, mā pango, ka oti te mahi.

At Evaluation Associates we have a nationwide team of accredited PLD facilitators.  The benefit of this for PLANZ is that I’m able to bring perspectives of the varied regional nuances and the national system.

When the idea of PLANZ was mooted, I was involved in the establishment phase.  Since then I’ve helped out largely behind the scenes for PLANZ – drafting communications, peer reviewing submissions to the Ministry, standing in for Michael Absolum on occasions and representing PLANZ as your English-medium representative on the PLD system redesign group.

I strongly believe that our PLANZ perspective is an important voice to be included as changes in education are made, and I would love to have this opportunity to represent you and be an advocate for our collective expertise.