NZCGE has a range of educators nationwide who have come to us via the merger of Gifted Kids and the Gifted Education Centre or more recently to the newly formed organisation. Staff are specialists in gifted education with a wealth and depth of experience and expertise.
Deb Walker CEO
Anna MeuliConsultancy Manager
Sue Barriball Programme Manager (Auckland)
Michelle MartinOffice Administrator
Lisa Horan Administration Assistant
Jo Bate CEO Support
Adriane Bancroft Administration Support
Sharon HillockFinance Officer
Joy Woollett Fundraising Coordinator
New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education staff are specialists in gifted education with a wealth and depth of experience and expertise. They come to us with a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisation and are united in their desire to provide quality and appropriate learning opportunities for young gifted New Zealanders.
Madelaine Armstrong-Willcocks Regional Lead Teacher, MindPlusAuckland West and North ShoreLead Teacher, Gifted Online
Jenny BezuidenhoutSpecialist Educator, MindPlusNorth Shore
Diana HaymanSpecialist Educator, MindPlusAuckland East
Anna Faid Regional Lead Teacher, MindPlusAuckland Central and East
Anna has taught for over 20 years in a variety of roles, many of which have centred around supporting and extending students, dependent on their individual needs. This has included many years teaching ESOL, as well as literacy, e-learning and junior gifted students within the mainstream primary school.
Her journey with giftedness began with her own children and her oldest son attended both One Day School and Gifted Kids, the precursors to MindPlus. His experience and Anna's observations of friends and other students she taught in her own classrooms and groups has sparked an enduring interest in giftedness, and particularly those diagnosed as twice exceptional and those who sit outside the norms of traditional primary schooling. She hopes to be able to encourage, ignite and extend passions in gifted students through MindPlus and to be able to support and share the hopes of parents.
Joining the Mind Plus team in 2018, Anna is excited to be learning alongside other very skilled, experienced and passionate teachers in the NZCGE community and feels privileged to be able to support others in their giftedness journey.
Susan Jackson Specialist Educator, MindPlusAuckland Central
Ashle ArmstrongSpecialist Educator, Small PoppiesAuckland (on maternity leave)
Ashle did her teacher training in America and began teaching in 2007. She has always worked under the umbrella of special education, so she is particularly adept at motivating and engaging "non-traditional" learners. Ashle’s initial teaching qualification was in secondary education, but she has a master's degree in Special Education, and Ed.D. in Deaf Education.
While Ashle lived in America her experience with teaching was at a high school level. Since moving to New Zealand she has had the opportunity to work with children from new entrants through to high school. Ashle has also been able to get a bit of experience with early childhood education by doing some reliving at her children’s day care.
Ashle has two boys of her own, the oldest of whom has been attending Small Poppies since the start of 2017. This is beneficial to Ashle as she can be especially compassionate and empathetic with parents as she is walking this whole gifted "journey" alongside them.
Ashle is particularly passionate about getting young learners to tap into their social and emotional intelligence, as well as just finding what interests them and running with it.New Zealand Centre for Gifted education is proud to have a great team of educators such as Ashle behind them to encourage our gifted children to reach their potential.
Anne Devlin Regional Lead Teacher, MindPlusHamilton
Sue Bufton Regional Lead Teacher, MindPlusRotorua
Sarah KirbyRegional Lead Teacher, MindPlusWellington
Cathryn BjarnesenSpecialist Educator, MindPlusWellington West
Sarah McAuslanSpecialist Educator, MindPlusWellington South and West
Vicki AdamRegional Lead Teacher, MindPlusHutt
Lynley BallSpecialist Educator, MindPlusHutt
Smruti PavlovRegional Lead Teacher, MindPlusChristchurch
Tamara DrewSpecialist Educator, MindPlusChristchurch
Sue LuusRegional Lead Teacher, MindPlusWakatipu
Sue Luus is the Regional Lead Teacher of MindPlus Wakatipu. She has worked exclusively gifted education for over 30 years and has two adult gifted children. Sue joined NZCGE in January 2018 after returning from Australia to live in Central Otago. She also worked for Gifted Kids, one of our founding organisations for several years. Her passion for working with gifted children was ignited by a young gifted child who was severely bullied at school. This inspired a determination to make a difference for gifted children in schools and sparked her continued studies in gifted education, culminating with a double Master of Education (Gifted Education) and a Diploma in Special Education.
As well as teaching gifted students, Sue is deeply aware of her role to support parents of gifted children, particularly in the social and emotional aspects of giftedness. In 2008, she was appointed the Australian liaison for SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted). Sue has delivered workshops for GERRIC’s school vacation programs (University of New South Wales) and Young Scholars (Brisbane, has presented nationally and internationally, has tutored in Inclusive Education at Queensland University of Technology and continues to work as a marker for post graduate teaching degrees in inclusion for Griffith University.
In returning the NZCGE team, Sue believes that she is “home”. She is inspired daily, not only by the children she teaches but by the passionate people who she works with, who share their expertise so generously and touch the lives of so many children and their parents.
Sue BreenLead Teacher, Small PoppiesChristchurch
Jenni Hammonds Specialist EducatorGifted Online
Jenni began her teaching career after extensive travel and gaining a BA (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) and PGDip (Development Studies). Wanting to move into education policy she decided being at the coal face was an important step, so became a registered teacher.
After six years in the classroom with a strong digital technology and inquiry/project based learning philosophy, Jenni began exploring alternative educational opportunities including her Masters in Education. Other Professional development includes Te Ara Reo Maori (Level 4), and PGCert in Digital and Applied Learning (MindLab) where she was one of four nominees for the Expert Teacher Award in 2018.
Her small business, Tuitive, works with schools to integrate digital technology into the classroom and school systems, as well as develop and design school websites.
Teaching Gifted Online, as well as her roles with Virtual Learning Network and overseas online learning organisations allow Jenni to spend 6 months of the year living in Alaska with her partner. It is the perfect opportunity to maintain registration, educational development, and time with passionate students.
Vanessa WhiteConsultant (Hamilton)
Ashliegh JacksonSpecialist Educator, Small Poppies Auckland
Having been on a journey with her own gifted child, Ashliegh has an in-depth understanding of all of the struggles that can come along with gifted children and keeping up with them.
Ashliegh has home-schooled her daughter and it has given her the opportunity to become knowledgeable on a wide range of topics that spark Izzy's interests. While homeschooling has not been easy, it has helped to not only spark a passion for gifted education but has also helped Ashliegh (and her husband) to acquire skills in dealing with educational, social and emotional needs which she hopes to pass onto both our young learners and parents.
With a background in health science, human biology and chemistry, she is incredibly passionate about all things science and you'll find her and our young learners conducting some particularly amazing science experiments!