Thank you to our Board who voluntarily offer their utmost to ensure we provide quality programmes and services to ensure growth and support for our extraordinary kids. They are passionate about gifted children and about providing opportunities to empower extraordinary minds.
Anne has a background in the cultural sector and is a sought-after not-for-profit leader in New Zealand. She is Executive Officer of the Cognition Education Trust, and Executive Director of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, which she started in 2001.
Anne worked with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for a decade in various artistic capacities and eventually as General Manager – a role she held for four years. She has also served as General Manager of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival and NZ Sculpture OnShore.
She is a member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand and the Project Management Institute. She regularly assesses grant applications and lectures in arts management.
Anne migrated to New Zealand in 1997 from the United States after a career in performance, education and arts administration in the Boston area. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, studied cello and arts administration through university and was awarded a Master’s Degree in cello performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
She is motivated by her awareness that the demands on New Zealand teachers and the needs of every learner are both very high. “It’s not possible for every teacher to have expertise in every complex learning need. I support specialist education for gifted learners who cannot be catered to in the traditional classroom with everything else demanded of teachers.”
Barry Akers is a self-employed consultant with a varied background in communications and corporate affairs management. He is a Director of financial and corporate public relations firm Senescall Akers, which works with clients across a broad front of sectors, organisations, projects and issues.
Barry migrated to New Zealand from Australia in 1986, becoming Public Affairs Manager of the New Zealand Stock Exchange and later Corporate Affairs Manager of Fletcher Challenge. He co-founded Senescall Akers in 2001. From 2010 to 2014 he was seconded as a member of the senior management team for the residential repair programme following the Canterbury earthquakes.
Barry was a member of the Board of Trustees for a state integrated area school in Auckland, serving as Chairman for four years.
His early career was in journalism, as a business writer and editor in Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
His involvement with the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education is founded on support for the right of children with special educational needs to be assisted to reach their potential. “Gifted children present both need and opportunity. Specialist services are vital to their development and fulfilment; and, in turn, they have the capacity to make a special contribution to the communities they live in.”
Karen has a record of leadership as a teacher, administrator and academic across the education sector. She has also made a significant contribution to policy and structural development in the school system, the profession and the community.
Karen is currently Deputy Principal at Papatoetoe High School, with responsibilities across the curriculum, assessment, reporting and professional learning. She has previously served in senior teaching and administration roles at One Tree Hill College and Rosehill College, and as a teacher with a focus on the social sciences at a number of schools in Auckland.
She has held senior roles in professional education and development, most recently at Unitec Institute of Technology, where she was a Senior Lecturer and Centre Entrepreneur in the School of Education. She was previously a Senior Lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology and at Auckland Institute of Technology.
Karen completed a PhD in Education at Auckland University in 2005. She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from Auckland University and a Diploma from the Auckland College of Education, and has recently commenced a Master’s Degree in Secondary School Education at Victoria University. She has written and presented widely on education policy issues.
Karen says there is a significant need for help for gifted students. “Many are unable to reach their potential because they do not understand themselves, and are unaware of the nature of their challenges or how to face them. They underperform and/or suffer social or emotional issues due to a disconnect from the world around them and from others who can provide guidance and support.
“When they gain insight into who they are and where their potential lies, they can grow into confident adults who make a great contribution and celebrate their place in the world.”
Currently retired from full time work, Elizabeth’s career has spanned teaching, research and leadership roles in academia and high school education, whilst actively promoting the participation of women in Science and Engineering.
Elizabeth has a PhD from Curtin University and a Master of Science degree from Auckland University. In her specialist field of engineering education she has published, edited or reviewed numerous research papers and articles in professional and academic journals and presented to conferences in several countries.
Her doctorate on the interaction of gender with the culture of engineering education gained her an international reputation in the field. Her passion throughout this work has been the empowerment and mentoring of young women (and men) to reach their full potential.
Elizabeth was Associate Dean Undergraduate at the School of Engineering at Auckland University for nine years. She was then a Faculty Senior Tutor at Auckland University and later a Senior Research Fellow on a project for the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and the University of Technology Sydney. She remains professionally active as a consultant in engineering education research and project management.
Her work and community involvement with groups such as the Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust has brought her into contact with many gifted and talented young people.
“I believe that, with the appropriate resources and support, our gifted and talented children will grow into adults who can and will make substantial, life changing contributions in their communities.”
Tracy is Associate Professor in Gifted and Talented Education in the Institute of Education at Massey University. She coordinates and teaches the gifted and talented education undergraduate and postgraduate papers, taught in face-to-face, online and blended delivery modes.
She is also the co-ordinator of the PGDip Specialist Teaching (Gifted and Talented) and PGDipED (Gifted and Talented) programmes, the only postgraduate qualifications in this field in New Zealand. She was awarded the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award for Sustained Excellence in 2007.
Tracy is a Director of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). She is a lifetime member of giftEDnz: The Professional Association for Gifted Education, in recognition of her roles as co-founder, inaugural Chair and Board member.
She serves as a New Zealand delegate on the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. She migrated to New Zealand in 1996 from the United States, where she had completed a Bachelor’s degree from Delta State University and Masters and PhD qualifications from the University of Southern Mississippi focused on education for talented and gifted students.
Tracy's involvement as a Board member is driven by her passion for creating better educational opportunities for gifted learners. She believes that all children and young people, including those with exceptional abilities and qualities, have the right to an education that meets their intellectual and social needs.
“Gifted education is important not only in helping our country develop the gifts and talents of our best and brightest kids, but also as a way of understanding strengths-based, personalised education for all.”