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Expert Partners supporting Communities of Learning (CoLs)

Education Support Services has been successful in having a team of 11 accredited facilitators who are experienced, trained teachers, named as Expert Partners to work alongside “CoL/Kahui Ako Leadership and Regional Managers to efficiently, rapidly and effectively support CoL and Kahui Ako to raise the quality of leadership and teaching across the schooling sector”.

The Expert Partners role is to act as a “critical friend to CoL/Kahui Ako Leadership and will support the development of achievement challenges and associated action plans. As this is Ministry funded there is NO cost to schools.

The Expert Partners will support CoL/Kahui Ako Leadership to strengthen evidence gathering practices, critical data analysis and evaluation skills, problem definition and evidence informed action planning to respond to their achievement challenge. They will provide external critique. These partners will work with a CoL/Kahui Ako as they form and will support them to self–sufficiency.

ESS Expert Partners Team

Cheryl Pym - M.Ed. (Massey)
Phone: 021 190 1317Pym, Cheryl cropped
Summary of skills/experience
Cheryl’s work as national facilitator demonstrates understanding of the contextual influences on PLD. This informs the use of teaching as inquiry, coaching methodology and data analysis to identify what is happening for the students focussed on achievement, engagement, curriculum design, embedded discipline specific literacy, pedagogy and assessment matters. She has successfully established and maintained inquiry clusters across Otago, Southland and Taranaki focused on evidence and data to improve student outcomes.
Problem definition is part of each individual’s action plan and the cluster has an overarching goal and action plan to guide the work. Collaborative and individual inquiries are guided with specific feedback given to maintain acceleration of student achievement. Diagnostic tools and practices are used to ascertain the focus using an appreciative approach to draw together the range of needs in the group. Smart tools are developed and used to monitor the progress in the cluster. This keeps the focus on student achievement over time. Tracking of students using NCEA and other achievement data has been a specific focus of the work to ensure the acceleration of focus students. Cheryl’s experience in Research and Development in the Ministry of Education Instep project rounded in Activity Theory and Intervention Logic.

Hitchcock, Denise croppedDenise Hitchcock Ph.D. (Curtin)
Phone: 021 912 947
Summary of skills/experience
Denise was the Secondary Literacy National Coordinator and regional facilitator for the Secondary Student Achievement contract from 2012-2016. She is experienced in working from a culturally responsive disposition with senior and middle leaders, within a culture of inquiry, to collate and analyse data, and to develop evidence based responses to identified needs. Denise has worked extensively in schools and inquiry clusters to guide leaders and teachers through inquiry based practice.
Denise’s doctoral thesis (Hitchcock, 2013), incorporated a mixed-method research design involving the collection and analysis of a wide range of data from secondary school contexts, including literacy and NCEA achievement data, interviews, observations, and documents. Based on the evidence gathered, Denise worked collaboratively with leaders and teachers to design literacy intervention programmes to improve student achievement, continuously monitoring teacher practice, student progress and subsequent outcomes for students.
Denise is skilled in bringing together research and practice in order to inform proposals, plans and pedagogy.
Smith, Rosemary croppedRosemary Smith M.Ed. (Tasmania)
Phone: 021 249 4203
Summary of skills/experience
As a facilitator working in Ministry of Education contracts for over ten years, Rosemary has delivered support through Education Support Services in a number of areas: Leadership and Management, National Aspiring Principal Programme (NAPP), as Director of Assessment to Learn (AtoL), Literacy and the New Zealand Curriculum. Working for the University of Auckland, Rosemary has also been involved in delivering the First Time Principal Mentor Programme (ACEL) and Leadership and Assessment support.
All of this work required an action research component based on a Theory of Action or through causal links between chosen actions and intended actions. Rosemary’s experience delivering workshops on National Standards, moderation, the use of assessment tools, data gathering and analysis has enabled her to develop teachers’ and senior leaders evaluative and improvement capabilities.
Relational trust, building relationships and mentoring have played a wide role in being effective in this. Alongside this work she has undertaken the writing of milestones and evaluative reports on the effectiveness of interventions.
Prior to working as a facilitator in schools Rosemary was a principal in 3 schools across Otago and Southland and she has maintained many of those contacts and relationships across the sector.
Sandra Joseph croppedSandra Joseph M.Ed. (Hons) (Auckland)
Phone: 021 903 947
Summary of skills/experience
With thirty years of experience in education and a background in primary school teaching, Sandra has worked in various leadership roles both within schools and as a facilitator supporting schools.
Sandra’s teaching and school leadership experience has been mainly in low decile, large urban schools. Her current work in Education Support Services has enabled her to develop a deeper understanding of Teaching as Inquiry, developing self-sustaining models for building competence and reflective practices including supporting teachers and leaders to use assessment data for improving student outcomes. Facilitation has been across various regions in the North Island of New Zealand. Previous work in School Support Services (2008-2010) involved supporting the effective implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum through Network Learning Communities (NLC), a Ministry of Education initiative. These NLCs were based on partnerships between school leaders across schools in the Northland and Auckland regions. Functions within this initiative included supporting school leaders with change management, collaboratively establishing requirements for school strategy and action plans going forward.
Turner, Joan croppedJoan Turner M.Ed. (endorsed in Bicultural Education with distinction) (Otago)
Phone: 021 912 167
Summary of skills/experience
Within Joan’s career in teaching and education in New Zealand and overseas, she has worked in many roles supporting school leadership teams to enact change. She has worked with primary and secondary principals and school leadership teams in New Zealand assisting them to gather and analyse relevant student data, engaging them in challenging conversations to clarify school priorities, supporting them in writing professional development plans and mentoring them over time as they enact their plans to bring about school-wide change. This work was carried out through her roles as National Co-ordinator Provisionally Certificated Teachers and facilitator for Education Support Services, and as an independent consultant. In the USA, Joan worked with Education District leaders to develop strategic plans to implement systematic change at district level and at school level resulting in change in teacher practice and improvement in student literacy achievement.
Thompson, Mal  croppedMal Thompson Ph.D. (Curtin University)
Phone: 021 190 1400
Summary of skills/experience
Through her work in the Secondary Literacy Project (SLP) Mal has developed skills in gathering data and evidence for decision-making; analysis of data to identify areas of concern and develop strategic action plans to help improve achievement in years 7 -13. While working in SLP, Mal also completed her PhD on literacy challenges in reading science text; and embedding literacy across all learning areas has been a focus of her work in the recent Secondary Achievement contract. Mal was previously a secondary English teacher with considerable experience, and has worked with English teachers in the Otago/Southland region. Mal’s national coordinator role has strengthened her skill base in the literacy area. Other areas where she has acted in the role of ‘critical friend’ are the English Learning area, and Pathways/ Careers, including STAR and Gateway. Collaboration with other entities such as Careers NZ have been instrumental in developing strong links and networks with schools. Evaluative frameworks underpins her work with schools and assists in monitoring and tracking school progress.
Rice, Kate croppedKate Rice Ed.D. (Otago)
Phone: 021 793 771
Summary of skills/experience
Through her work in Assessment to Learn (AtoL) as well as primary and secondary science facilitation, Kate has honed her data gathering and analysis skills to support decision-making processes to identify areas of concern and develop strategic action plans to improve achievement in years 7 -13. The key to this work has been engaging school leaders and teachers in the development and implementation of action plans to address these problems. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation has strengthened teachers’ responses and inquiry into identified problems and led to evaluative reports that compare the progress made by management, teachers and students as a result.
Kate’s National Coordinator role in Sciences has recognised her skill base in building scientific literacy across all levels of science. Her Doctorate in Education research on effective professional learning approaches for Science, resulted in Kate refining her facilitation approaches in Primary and Secondary Science to incorporate culturally responsive learning and assessment contexts such as formative assessment, NCEA, National Standards. This includes facilitating teachers’ reflection on current teaching practice and considerations of its impact on student outcomes and ways to enhance student engagement and achievement through teaching and learning approaches linked to local science contexts.
Williams, Stephen croppedStephen Williams M.A .(Cardiff)
Phone: 021 908 269
Summary of skills/experience
Stephen has many years’ experience working with schools in the Central South Region as science curriculum and learning facilitator. He has worked with primary and intermediate schools in the Wellington region to incorporate science in teaching and learning programmes using contexts that are meaningful and engaging for learners. This involved collaborating with schools to gather quantitative and qualitative data in order to arrive at a shared understanding of student centred achievement challenges. Using this information, he has worked with schools to develop an action plan with clear outcomes and strategies for achieving them using the Teaching as Inquiry model.
This work has taken into account the need to develop a culturally responsive environment that respects and responds to tikanga. The collaboration required to design a plan of action is kaupapa based, as informed by our partnership with Te Tapuae o Rehua and the Pasifika Success Talanoa project. It is also driven by Best Evidence Synthesis and the diverse needs and cultural identities of students and their whānau. By agreeing on a kaupapa with stake holders, it has helped keep schools and teachers focused on their plan of action and has created a secure and safe environment for robust discussion.
Mitchell, Nigel croppedNigel Mitchell M.A. (Hons) (Canterbury)
Phone: 021 277 6664
Summary of skills/experience
Nigel was Secondary English Facilitator and National Coordinator in the Secondary Student Achievement contract from 2013-2016. This involved working with senior leadership teams, middle leaders and members of the school community to analyse quantitative and qualitative data to develop a shared understanding of specific achievement challenges from which to develop achievement plans, teacher PLD programmes and changes of practice, using the Teaching as Inquiry process.
Nigel’s practice is informed by the knowledge that challenging assumptions in a collaborative, safe environment is an essential part of facilitating meaningful change that can result in shifts for priority learners. Co-constructing a culturally responsive kaupapa in which the mana of all participants is acknowledged and in which their voices can be heard, opens the way to genuine dialogue about achievement data.
Nigel has also facilitated inquiry clusters of middle leaders from secondary schools within regions, and talanoa with key members of a school community, including leaders of contributing primary schools, church leaders and Tokelauan, Samoan, Nuiean and Maori whānau. In the latter setting, Nigel was able to use a culturally appropriate approach (talanoa) to open dialogue between stakeholders that lead to a mutually agreeable action plan.
Smith, Derek croppedDerek Smith M.Ed.St (Massey)
Phone: 021 913 150
Summary of skills/experience
Derek has been involved in the formation of school clusters for the purpose of: raising student achievement; sharing pedagogy across primary, intermediate and secondary sectors; identifying common goals based on data analysis; and utilizing SMS to track students at risk or cause for concern.
Derek has worked alongside the SLT in a number of schools to form culturally responsive and relational contexts for learning. His mahi involves working with school leaders and middle leaders and teachers to analyse structures, processes and procedures in schools to monitor performance and initiate improvement. This involves: profiling and planning; gathering evidence to accelerate, reflecting, reviewing and acting.
He brings a level of understanding for the importance of Kaupapa Māori principles, cultural values, achievement and successful outcomes for all students.
An example of Derek's work is with a Ministry of Education SAF, 7 principals and 7 middle leaders, identifying educational gaps in school programmes, supporting teachers in utilizing and coordinating expertise within the community to support the community. Outside expertise helped develop cohesive learning programmes and provided improved outcomes for students with a shared understanding of what each school provided and how they could lift their student profiles in each of their specific learning needs.
Marilyn Holmes M.Sc. (Curtin)
Phone: 021 191 2400
Summary of skills/experience
Marilyn is a senior adviser following many years as a primary classroom teacher, senior management and senior lecturer. She is the regional coordinator in mathematics in Professional Learning and Development (PLD) and Programmes for Students (PfS), and facilitates in mathematics in schools.
Her work in schools involves raising student achievement through raising the capability of teachers through collaborative, culturally responsive, inclusive approaches. Marilyn is experienced in data analysis, teaching as inquiry, supporting strong leadership practices, curriculum understanding, classroom management and organisation, content workshops, observations and can demonstrate different strategies/approaches in teaching mathematics.
Although Marilyn has not worked in an established CoL, each year she supports a cluster of Lead Teachers in North Otago. She has initiated and supports a strong network of twelve schools in Australia which include early childhood, primary, and early secondary teachers.