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Our people

Micheal King

Director, Education Partnerships


Micheal has built a reputation for unique leadership, he has developed a wide network of clients, with strong and consistent relationships, worldwide. Micheal is very experienced in school leadership, organisational management, curriculum innovation and governance strategy. He has exceptional project management experience, having led key projects across New Zealand, the Middle East and the Pacific region.

Dr. Pip Arnold

Director, Education Development Services

 

Pip is a pragmatic and considered leader, she has been working at Cognition Education since 2010, and brings with her a wealth of experience. She has project directed some of New Zealand’s largest primary mathematics contracts and has extensive expertise in curriculum and assessment development. Additionally she has led data collection and analysis projects, which ensure accurate identification of primary needs and impactful reporting across the New Zealand education system.

Sally Smart

Director, Visible Learning Plus

 

As a skilled leader, Sally has held several senior roles in the company including Senior Advisor to the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Project Director for the Public Private Partnership Project in Abu Dhabi, Chief Operating Officer for the Middle East and Regional Manager for South East Asia. Prior to joining Cognition in 2005, Sally was a New Zealand Secondary School Principal. Sally’s experience in and passion for international and corporate education environments combined with her people leadership skills contributes to her current role of Director of Visible Learning plus. She has oversight of strategic and management operations for five Visible Learningplus Licensees in Europe, United Kingdom, United States and Australia. 

Michael Blewden

Team Leader, Research and Evaluation

 

Michael brings over 20 years of experience in research and evaluation design, data collection, data analysis, reporting and contract management. He has significant experience designing and applying a diverse range of proven evaluation tools across a range of projects and sectors. Michael has strong experience in qualitative and quantitative methods secondary data analysis, longitudinal data management, impact evaluation and the development and use of monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

Mary Sinclair

Principal Consultant

 

Mary has had significant experience within New Zealand, Australia and Qatar, in system and school effectiveness, reform, and change management inclusive of strategic and operational leadership, and the planning, delivery, research/evaluation of instructional leadership and teaching professional learning programmes. During her time at Cognition she had supported Ministries of Education in Asia Pacific and the Middle East in system level reform initiatives. Mary has supported the Northern Territory Guiding Coalition during recent implementation of the Collaborative Impact Program: she has strong knowledge of the NT education context and the needs of Indigenous learners. 

Dr. Brian Hinchco

Manager, Education Consultancy Services 


Dr. Brian Hinchco has extensive experience in school and system leadership and educational project management, within New Zealand and internationally. Brian has project managed the development of our PB4L contract, the Ministry’s NZC PLD programme for Auckland and Northland, and the Student Competency Framework project for the Abu Dhabi Education Council. These projects have built on his extensive experience in curriculum development and involved such skills as curriculum design and mapping, resource development, senior leadership development and the establishment of clusters. Brian is currently an Expert Partner for CoLs/Kāhui Ako and leads the Cognition Associate programme. Prior to joining Cognition Brian was an intermediate school principal, president of NZAIMS, and a sector representative on a number of Ministerial reference groups.

Christine Hardie

Manager, Curriculum North 

 

Christine started with Cognition Education at the beginning of 2012. She has been working in teacher professional development in mathematics and statistics education since 2004. During this time she has worked alongside school leaders and teachers delivering a wide range of in-depth and flexible mathematics professional learning as well as presented a range of mathematics and statistics workshops, most recently with a focus on overall teacher judgments and moderation.

Fiona McDiarmid

Manager, Curriculum South 

 

Fiona joined the Cognition team in July 2012 and is currently the regional coordinator for Mathematics Years 1-8 based in Central South Region. She has been working in teacher professional development in mathematics and statistics since 2001.   Fiona brings a wealth of experience to the team. Prior to joining Cognition, Fiona spent 8 years with Victoria University where she led the mathematics advisory team and lectured a few mathematics master level papers. This was followed by a three year stint at the Ministry of Education where her main role focused on improving mathematics educational outcomes.   Fiona is passionate about mathematics and believes that all students can be successful in learning mathematics.

Laurayne Tafa

Manager, Programmes 

 

Laurayne has a wide range of teaching, leadership, advisory and evaluation experiences in educational contexts situated in rural and urban Māori and Pasifika environments. In all of her roles her focus has been on building communities, and organisational performance to achieve improved student outcomes. She is skilled at developing open, consultative processes with stakeholders to grow educationally powerful partnerships. These result in capacity and capability building within communities. Over many years she has played an integral role in challenging the failing status quo and bringing about positive change in both literacy leadership and school leadership schooling improvement projects.

Therese Ireland-Smith

Manager, Learning, Health & Wellbeing


Therese has over 30 years experience in the education, health and corrections sectors. Her leadership roles extend from being the principal of low decile secondary schools to overseeing the national leadership contract for the Ministry of Health’s health and wellbeing for learning (HPS) approach. Her skills include research, evaluation, governance and advising schools and workforce on leading positive change. Therese’s approach is evidence-based and results focused. She is passionate about enabling those most in need to gain power and influence over their lives and futures.

Tracy Bowker

Manager, Education Contracts 


Tracy comes from a varied secondary education background, including National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) roles. Tracy’s expertise revolves around the use and integration of digital technology in teaching and learning.   Tracy currently represents Cognition as the project leader for a number of New Zealand Ministry of Education contracts. She was previously the project leader for the national blended e-Learning and digital technologies guidelines projects. Tracy provides Cognition with a unique background and strong leadership qualities.

Alana Madgwick

Accredited Consultant 

 

Alana Madgwick is a highly experienced secondary literacy facilitator with proven experience in accelerating literacy achievement in secondary schools. She had worked for 12 years at the University of Auckland on a number of national literacy contracts for TEAM solutions. She has presented at conferences and delivered workshops on a wide range of topics including: improving writing across the curriculum, accelerating Pasifika achievement, valuing student voice, improving reading across the curriculum. She is the facilitator for the Secondary Literacy Online community which has an audience of 850 teachers.

Brooke Trenwith

Accredited Consultant 


A holistic educator, Brooke Trenwith works with teachers, leaders and families to meet the learning, social and emotional needs of all students, whilst creating a “rising tide” of achievement to support diverse learners and the minoritised. Her approachable, flexible style encourages engagement in change management and supports honest reflection. An experienced teacher, Brooke has taught students aged three to adult and has experience with NCEA at a national level. She was the assistant director of an English language school (primary) in Taiwan where her portfolios included curriculum development and teacher training. Brooke is a national representative for the New Zealand Association of Gifted Children and has been project leader of a Ministry of Education contract designed to support schools, build their capability, and develop effective, robust and transparent GaTE programmes.

Chris Henderson

Accredited Consultant 


Chris Henderson has 10 years’ experience working in education and international development. As well as teaching Geography in East Christchurch, Chris has been a youth development planner and facilitator for UNICEF New Zealand, the United Nations Environment Program, and UNESCO. With Cognition, Chris designs and leads projects focusing on youth employability and leadership development, education innovation, child protection and workforce professional development. In New Zealand his clients have included the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Social Development. In Southeast Asia Chris’ clients include Google, NGOs, and philanthropic foundations. Chris holds a Master of Education (Research) with High Distinction from the University of Sydney, where he is also an adjunct lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Dianne Ogle

Accredited Consultant 


Dianne has been working in mathematics professional development since 2009. She also has experience in leading professional development in digital technologies, literacy and gifted education. Dianne is passionate about mathematics education and is particularly interested in developing student discourse in mathematics classrooms, data-informed decision making and the role of digital technologies in mathematics education. Dianne is able to support schools in data analysis using wide sources of evidence and assists them to make data-informed decisions. She has recently completed her Masters of Education (Hons) at Waikato University specialising in professional learning.

Dr. Phil Coogan

Consultant

 

Dr. Phil Coogan is a well-respected educator with a background in secondary school English teaching, teacher education and teacher professional development. He has been a Commonwealth Fellow, President of the New Zealand Association of Teachers of English and national moderator for NCEA English. He is an associate of the University of London Institute of Education and is currently on the national executive of PLANZ (The Professional Learning Association New Zealand Te Māngai Whakangungu Kaiako o Aotearoa). Phil’s doctoral thesis explored the influence of high stakes assessment on English teachers’ adoption of innovations such as ICTs. He is a Senior Associate who has a deep understanding and expertise in schooling reform, curriculum development, teacher professional development and research and evaluation.

Gillian Kissling

Accredited Consultant


Gillian Kissling demonstrates passion and capability in improving teaching practice. At the heart of her work alongside schools is the development of young people as life-long learners and productive citizens. With significant expertise in collaborative inquiry Gillian empowers leaders and teachers to respond agentically. She has strengths in evaluation and self-review, acceleration practices, curriculum design and delivery and mathematics pedagogy. She has presented at symposia in New Zealand and Australia, been involved in internal consortium review and provided consultancy education since 2009. Prior to her role as education consultant she held a number of positions in the primary sector ranging from literacy leader, special education needs co-ordinator to principal. Gillian is curious, optimistic and passionate about her work in education.

Heather Lewis

Accredited Consultant 


Heather has been involved in mathematics education since 2008 and joined Cognition Education in 2012. Her facilitation experience includes working with school leaders and teachers to deliver in-depth and flexible mathematics professional learning. Her previous experience has been in curriculum development in mathematics in an International Baccalaureate school and developing enrichment programmes for gifted students in mathematics. She has presented at conferences and symposia in New Zealand and Australia, including MERGA and MAV.

Jacque Allen

Accredited Consultant 


Jacque is an education consultant for Cognition Education in the area of Innovative Learning. She is working with many schools, both with new and existing learning spaces. Her experience in teaching at both primary and secondary levels enables her to work across all curriculum areas and at all year levels. Jacque is passionate about the change management involved in innovative learning pedagogy and practice, utilising innovative learning spaces to capitalise on the advances in pedagogy across New Zealand and around the world. Jacque provides a co-constructivist approach, enabling leaders and teachers to develop strategies for learner agency, collaborative teaching practice and transforming learning spaces. Jacque is a founding and current member of the Learning Environments New Zealand committee. She has recently completed research on sustaining value within online communities.

Jenna Crowley

Accredited Consultant 


Jenna has held a broad range of teaching and leadership roles in a variety of contexts and is now working alongside teachers and leaders to support their professional learning and development. She has strengths in curriculum design and delivery, change management and school self-review, as well as teacher inquiry and collaboration. Jenna has led and specialised in the learning areas of mathematics and statistics and learning languages. She is passionate about culturally-responsive pedagogy and relationships-based learning. Jenna is a reflective learner who likes to work collaboratively with others and is passionate about raising student achievement for all learners.

John Rutherford

Accredited Consultant  


John is an educator and educational leader with extensive experience and expertise gathered over 32 years in both primary and secondary levels of schooling, and the Ministry of Education. He has worked as a teacher, middle leader, deputy principal and principal during his career.   His skill base includes extensive experience in self-review and strategic planning, data analysis, appraisal, curriculum, evidence based teaching practice and pedagogy, and special needs. John is currently leading a team who support schools in developing curriculums that are responsive to community and learners needs.

Julia Tong

Accredited Consultant 


Julia joined the Cognition team in 2015.  Prior to this she was a teacher and lead teacher of mathematics in a year 1–8 school in Palmerston North.  She is an experienced primary classroom teacher with a specific interest in mathematics. Julia currently works in Palmerston North and New Plymouth to support schools with professional development in mathematics and statistics, offering a wide range of topics including effective pedagogy, mathematical content knowledge, acceleration practices and the use of inquiry to improve teaching and learning.   Julia also contributes to the Programmes for Students project – ALiM (Accelerated Learning in Mathematics) and MST (Mathematics Support Teacher), as a mentor and training facilitator. Julia is passionate about developing data driven decision making skills and leadership capability that will raise student achievement for all learners.

Kim Bulluss

Accredited Consultant 


Kim joined Cognition in 2012. Prior to this, Kim was a primary teacher for 16 years and had led curriculum teams in literacy, numeracy and the arts.  Kim has worked in a diverse range of schools across Auckland delivering professional learning and development to build teacher and leader capability in mathematics years 1–8, effective pedagogy, culturally responsive pedagogies, data analysis, teacher inquiry and implementing and monitoring acceleration programmes.   She has a particular interest in relationship based learning and building stronger partnerships with whānau groups and local communities to improve the learning outcomes for their students. Kim regularly presents at Primary Mathematics Association and Mathematics Association of Victoria conferences and has an interest in incorporating her love of music and the arts across the curriculum into the delivery of mathematics.

Kylie Surgenor

Accredited Consultant 


Kylie began her career with Cognition in April 2016, joining the mathematics team based in South Taranaki. Prior to this, she worked in an intermediate school as a classroom teacher and mathematics leader where she focused on accelerating student achievement in mathematics. She participated in ALiM and MST Programmes for Students.  Since joining Cognition, she has mentored ALiM and MST teachers in the Taranaki region and supported teachers, leaders and principals with professional learning and development in mathematics teaching and learning.

Louise Miller

Accredited Consultant 


Louise has worked within the education sector in local and international settings. Since relocating to New Zealand, she has developed a commitment to developing rich, authentic learning experiences for students, teachers and leaders. Louise has worked in a range of capacities delivering professional learning support in mathematics to schools, leadership clusters and regional symposiums. She has supported networks of schools to develop both effective home school partnerships and strong assessment practice through the implementation of the Mutukaroa project.  Louise supports schools to demystify learning in the classroom in order to build authentic relational learning partnerships with whānau. She values strong inquiry practices, is invested in exploring and implementing research-based learning to develop strong cultures of learning in schools and across local communities.

Marie Hirst

Accredited Consultant 


Marie has over 15 years’ experience as a facilitator specialising in providing quality professional learning and support in mathematics and statistics. She has worked extensively with many schools across Auckland to develop effective mathematics teaching, assessment, data analysis, leadership, and intervention programmes to accelerate learning in mathematics for a diverse range of students. She presents regularly at PMA and NZAMT mathematics conferences in New Zealand as well as internationally at MERGA and MAV, and has written mathematics resources and support material for teachers. Since joining Cognition in 2012 Marie has also coordinated professional learning for educators in the LEOTC sector (Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom). Prior to facilitation, Marie was a primary school teacher both in New Zealand and England.

Raewyn Gainsford

Accredited Consultant 


Raewyn joined Cognition in 2013 and is currently a consultant based in Taranaki. While the main focus of her work is mathematics, she has also worked as a facilitator to support networks of schools involved with the Mutukaroa project. Prior to this she worked in primary education for many years and has a passion for developing skills in making teaching and learning accessible for everyone.

Selena Hinchco

Accredited Consultant 

 

Selena is an experienced facilitator and educator who promotes evidence-based practice and instructional leadership in her work with leaders and teachers. As a Visible Learningplus consultant, both in New Zealand and internationally, Selena supports Kāhui Ako and schools to embed the principles of the world-leading Visible Learning research in order to maximize student achievement outcomes. As an Expert Partner, she supports Kāhui Ako to meet their aims and is skilled in building collaborative inquiry habits, and has strengths in Practice Analysis Conversations and in establishing PLCs. Selena recently worked with international and private schools in Abu Dhabi to pilot a framework of 21st century competencies. Her Master of Education (Hons) research was focused on the use of rubrics to support formative assessment in the classroom.

Dr. Shaun Hawthorne

Principal Consultant 


Shaun joined Cognition Education to work as part of the Visible Learningplus team in early 2014. Currently he is a principal consultant leading the New Zealand delivery of the Visible Learningplus PLD programme of self-review and school improvement for school leaders and teachers. Shaun’s other roles include development of new products and PLD materials as well as managing the implementation of collaborative impact programmes in New Zealand and internationally. Shaun has over 20 years’ experience working in the secondary schooling sector in New Zealand, most recently as a deputy principal in a co-educational year 9–13 school in Auckland. Shaun holds a Doctor of Education degree specialising in effective practices in teaching writing and motivating adolescent learners. His other areas of expertise include the cognitive science of learning.

TeAhua Park

Accredited Consultant 


TeAhua Park (Ngapuhi/ Ngatihine) has worked in the education sector for 20 years as an experienced classroom teacher in primary school settings. For the past four years she has facilitated the learning with digital technologies professional learning and development contract in a range of Northland schools. TeAhua is a passionate facilitator with expertise in designing connected curriculum, working in innovative learning environments, building community partnerships through collaboration and learning and teaching with digital technologies. TeAhua works with all stakeholders (students, whānau, teachers, leaders and BOTs) to review, design and deliver responsive professional development opportunities which build leadership and teacher capability, improve student outcomes and create a catalyst for effective change.

Questions? We’d love to hear from you.