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 began working in gifted education in 2002, firstly with Gifted Kids. She has held various roles over the years, including Lead Teacher, Associate Principal and now CEO. She is passionate about leading positive change and, as a result of this, has played an integral part in the development of the NZCGE Curriculum and the Identification Process for students, and the growth of the programme overall. She is avidly and actively committed to strength and sustainability for NZCGE and its programmes. Deb has a Masters of Education (hons) with a focus on gifted, through Massey University and a Graduate Diploma in Not-For-Profit Management Business Management (hons) from Unitec. Although her CEO role is one of leadership, management and advocacy, working primarily with adults, she still jumps at the chance to work with our students, both present and alumni.
Anna joined Gifted Kids in 2007, having worked as a Gifted Education Adviser, Lecturer, Gifted and Talented Lead Teacher, and primary school educator. Her role as NZCGE’s Consultancy Manager has her managing and implementing services for the adults in the lives of gifted children. Outside of her work with NZCGE, Anna has contributed to Gifted Education in New Zealand through her role as a giftEDnz (The New Zealand Professional Association for Gifted Education) Board Member and the Te Toi Tupu Gifted and Talented Education Regional Coordinator and Facilitator for Central South. Anna holds a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education Degree endorsed in special education(hons). Anna has played a key role as co-editor and co-writer of the NZCGE Curriculum and programme implementation handbooks, and in the development of our entry selection process. She is particularly interested in creativity, depth, complexity and emotional development. She is acutely aware of the needs of gifted students and loves making a difference to their lives and education experiences.
Sue describes herself as an ‘ex-gifted kid’ and with three gifted children of her own, post-graduate studies in gifted education, and over 15 years of gifted teaching experience and leadership roles at Gifted Kids as Associate Principal, the Gifted Education Centre as Director, and St Cuthbert’s College as the GATE Specialist, she is very much a Gifted Education Specialist. A trained secondary teacher who has taught students aging from 6-60, Sue has also been a Head of Department, a tutor in the Certificate in Effective Practice in Gifted Education and a professional studies lecturer for pre-service secondary teachers. Her commitment to gifted education has extended beyond the classroom, with service as a Board member for giftEDnz (The New Zealand Professional Association for Gifted Education) and editor of giftEDnewz. Sue has been involved in the development of our entry selection process and, as co-editor and co-writer of the NZCGE Curriculum and programme implementation handbooks, she has played an essential part in the development of our programmes. Her particular interests in the field of gifted education are gifted girls, resilience, and conceptual learning for gifted students.
Lara is the Office Administrator at the National Office in Lower Hutt. She began work for us in March 2014 and over time has gradually increased her involvement and indispensability. The “big picture” of her job is to ensure that all National Office processes run smoothly and efficiently -her communication and problem solving skills are often called upon in this role! Lara’s work includes Entry Selection administration, event management, communications, student record management, and staff support. She says of her job, “I love the contribution I can make to the organisation especially as I see the difference our work can make to our students.”
Like the majority of our staff, Lisa works part-time but gives 100% to every task she undertakes. Lisa is based at the National Office and completes a range of administration activities to support all of our services. Lisa’s main role revolves around administration for Entry Selection for the NZCGE Centres nationwide, however she is frequently found answering the phone, organising the photocopier and grappling with the binder.
Sharon has had her own bookkeeping business for ten years, specialising in working with charitable organisations – Sharon started working in gifted education in March 2011. Sharon has previously worked for Deloitte and WHK accounting firms. Her job involves overseeing NZCGE finances, preparing profit and loss reports and board reports, and managing payroll, donation requests and invoices. Sharon was attracted to working for NZCGE by the passion and dedication shown by the staff and the great work that the organisation does for gifted children. “Everyone is so great to work with and they are so focussed on what gifted kids need to achieve – the kids are amazing.”
Gemma is a recent addition to the NZCGE team and has a background in communication and website development. The crux of her job is website management and advertising. Gemma loves showcasing our students’ strengths, talents, passions and successes and showing New Zealand what gifted education is all about.
Vanessa joined our team in 2016 as a consultant to assist with Gifted Online Review. As a huge advocate for gifted education, a parent of gifted children and a gifted individual herself, Vanessa is an asset to the team. She successfully ran our 2016 Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour and has made herself indispensable as part of our social media team. Currently, Vanessa is establishing an ongoing blog, working on some website and social media promotion, and learning more about NZCGE’s services and curriculum. Vanessa has a Masters of Specialist Teaching (gifted and talented) with distinction.
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 taught the full age-range from years 3-8 at Gifted Kids and continues to do so in NZCGE’s MindPlus and Gifted Online programmes. She is also a member of our Consultancy team. Previously, she taught in mainstream schools in Auckland and London for eight years, where she developed a special interest in students who sit “outside the norm”. She has also implemented Future Problem Solving, taught at Bubble Dome, worked for both Massey and Auckland Universities and has had her own consultancy firm providing tailored professional development in literacy teaching. She is passionate about gifted education, particularly the social and emotional aspect, and loves to “fuel intellectual excitement” in our students. A role model for continuous learning, Madelaine is currently studying towards her second Master of Education degree, this time in gifted education. Madelaine describes her work with NZCGE as “exciting, rigorous and enabling … the best job I’ve ever had!”
Diana juggles work at NZCGE’s MindPlus with being mum to two gorgeous boys and a role as GATE teacher at Cornwall Park School. She joined Gifted Kids in 2006 and prior to this was Deputy Principal at an Auckland intermediate school, with responsibility for gifted education within the school. She is skilled at providing a safe, calm, positive and challenging environment for gifted students and works hard to build a rapport with students and their families. Diana has a strong interest in individualised learning and has found a natural fit at NZCGE. She describes gifted education as her “teaching path” and enjoys being part of the NZCGE team, “a passionate and intelligent group of people who believe in our children”.
Susan has worked in gifted education for well over a decade, originally teaching at the Gifted Education Centre, prior to the establishment of NZCGE and her Specialist Teacher role at MindPlus. She currently has various work commitments as a gifted educator, tutoring in the Certificate of Effective Practice In Gifted Education, co-ordinating and teaching a GATE programme at an Auckland primary school and working at St Cuthbert’s College as the Specialist GATE Teacher in the Junior School. She is the parent of a gifted child, so has experienced first hand the joys and challenges of bringing up gifted individuals. Susan’s background in gifted education has shaped her into a versatile, creative and professional specialist. Her enduring aim is to offer her gifted students targeted expertise, genuine enthusiasm and individualised learning opportunities to help them reach their true potential.
Wendy has taught for 20 years from preschool age to high school in regular and gifted education. If you don’t count having three gifted childre of her own, she began her career teaching gifted children in 2008 with the Gifted Education Centre’s One Day School, teaching years 2 to 8, then added Gifted Online Storymakers to her role in 2013 and Small Poppies in 2014. Her love for gifted children’s education has only gotten stronger and she is very proud to continue her career with NZCGE. Currently, Wendy is part of our Gifted Online teaching staff, delivering two GO Talent programmes: Storymakers and Designers.
Jenny has over 30 years’ teaching experience in the primary, intermediate and secondary sectors. Her experience includes roles as a general classroom teacher, music and performing arts specialist, visual arts specialist, English specialist and home-schooling her own children at sea for several years. During her clinical studies as an arts therapist in 2012, her interest in the gifted population was ignited. Her research, which involved working with gifted individuals, helped her embrace the challenges of her own giftedness. Following her Master’s studies, and feeling constricted in her mainstream education roles, Jenny was intent on uniting her multipotentialities with a more holistic approach to working with children in an education arena. A series of synchronistic events lead her down the path to MindPlus in 2015. “ My experience teaching Lorde (Ella Yelich O’Connor) and watching her rise to fame highlighted for me the potential for greatness not yet manifest in gifted kids. I love the holistic MindPlus curriculum, the opportunity for professional expansion, the diverse individuals I get to work with, and the amazing team of passionate professionals who are my colleagues. This work is interesting, challenging and enriched with meaning and purpose.”
Charmain has taught all age groups, from preschool children to adults, and has worked in gifted education for the past 9 years. She is a trained secondary teacher in English and Biology. Teaching two such different subjects caused numerous challenges around timetable management and decisions about what to teach earlier in her career and, as a result, Charmain relates particularly well to students who struggle with choices in our programme.
As a Search Consultant for much of her career she was contracted to recruit personnel nationally, with specialist skills for manufacturing, engineering and management service industries. Working confidentially with highly skilled and talented individuals on a business and personal level provided invaluable experience which has greatly influenced her endeavours in gifted education.
Charmain believes that understanding of and believing in ‘self’ is a key factor for our students. She is dedicated to supporting this journey in every possible way for each and every student that she has the privilege of working with.
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 is a passionate educator who, after many years in various roles in main stream education, has chosen to specialize in the fascinating world of working with gifted students. She worked with students in the Gifted Education Centre’s One Day School programme for many years and after a stint teaching at an international school in Sarawak, Malaysia, joined NZCGE in 2016 as a specialist educator at MindPlus Hamilton. Anne brings to her teaching practice many professional and life experiences, including having developed and implemented the Sirius Programme in Canterbury for gifted children in small, rural schools; developed and delivered after-school social skills and philosophy programmes for gifted children; delivered professional development; and been a deputy principal. She has two adult daughters and 3 wonderful grandchildren. Her belief that every child has the right to the opportunity to reach their potential motivates her to both understand and provide relevant experiences for the students in her classroom.
Sue has a lifelong passion for gifted education, sparked by her own frustrations as a gifted kid and as a parent of three gifted children. Her passion to specialise in gifted education grew from her interest in extending and challenging gifted students in her mainstream classes. She has completed a post-graduate gifted education paper through Massey University and the Certificate in Effective Practice in Gifted Education and contributed her knowledge and skills as part of the NZCGE curriculum writing team. Sue loves being involved in a programme that supports students’ personal and academic growth and that she and her own children would have loved. “It all really comes down to the fact that we get to work with kids who love to learn, think, question, create and push themselves, and we get to think of ways to help them do exactly that!” Sue is also a member of our Consultancy team.
Vicki joined Gifted Kids in 2010, having led the Venture Class, a gifted and talent programme at her previous school, for eight years. She has written challenges for BP Challenge and has taught thinking skills, school-wide. Now part of our MindPlus team, Vicki describes teaching her students as “a box of chocolates” – every day is different. Teaching philosophy at MindPlus is a highlight of her teaching day - enabling students to investigate the deeper questions and to use their insightful understandings to delve and discuss issues from multiple perspectives. Her passion for teaching science, maths, drama, the arts, language and music are an asset to our Talent Development programme.
Prior to the establishment of NZCGE, Sarah was part of the Gifted Kids team. Before joining Gifted Kids, Sarah ran programmes for able students at both Evans Bay Intermediate and Hutt Intermediate. She is a qualified Future Problem Solving coach and national evaluator and is trained in Philosophy for Children. She has also worked with educators, teaching about the latest research in education, embedding thinking tools in classes and advising on many aspects of classroom practice, including provision for gifted kids, and she continues to work with teachers as part of our Consultancy. She sets extremely high expectations for herself and her students in her work, and provides a flexible and creative learning programme for her students. She loves her work at NZCGE. She says “understanding, supporting and encouraging these kids is the best job I could have.” Sarah is currently studying towards a Master of Education degree in gifted education.
Nomi has over 20 years’ teaching experience and joined Gifted Kids in 2011. Although her first love is History, as seen in her MA in this subject, she has totally immersed herself in Gifted Education over the past few years, researching theories of giftedness and teaching practices most suited to gifted students. She has completed a Post-graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Gifted Education) through Massey University and is committed to supporting the development of new ways of thinking with her students and teaching in ways that will add more connections to the wiring of her students’ brains. Nomi is a highly reflective practitioner and has extremely high expectations of herself and her students. In addition to her experience teaching children, Nomi also taught pre-service teachers before she came to New Zealand and brings her skills and knowledge of teaching adults to her work with our Consultancy. She says of work at NZCGE, “I love that I am learning new things continuously, because it is challenging and gives sense to my life.”
Anne has worked with us since 2007, originally as part of the Gifted Education Centre’s teaching staff and since 2015 as a MindPlus teacher in Wellington. Prior to joining the staff, Anne completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and was a classroom teacher and then Learning Support Teacher at Scots College for 18 years.
Her interest in gifted education was sparked by having a son who was obviously gifted but did not enjoy school because he was frustrated. She is a strong believer in lifelong learning and enjoys working with gifted children because of the exciting challenges they bring to her teaching with their diverse interests and personalities.
Anne states that her greatest reward is when parents say that their child had a wonderful day and didn’t stop talking about what s/he had done all the way home.
Smruti joined NZCGE’s teaching staff mid-2016. Her journey in gifted education began over 13 years earlier when she taught her first primary school class in New Zealand, and a few years later she found herself parenting two gifted children! Prior to that, Smruti's passion was foreign languages and translation. She has a degree in French and Russian and recently completed a Master's degree in French on the translation of children's literature. She delights in bringing her love of languages to her students and enjoys seeing how gifted children thrive on the challenge and mental stimulation that acquiring a second or third language brings.
As well as teaching gifted students, Smruti's sees another vital aspect of her role and mission as supporting and providing assistance to parents of gifted children, She feels great empathy for those who face the every day challenges and emotions of parenting and advocating for a gifted child. Smruti has a strong interest in twice exceptionality and hopes to pursue postgraduate studies and research in this area.
In joining the team at NZCGE, Smruti feels that she has finally found her tribe and can't believe that she gets to work with such diverse, intelligent and passionate people who all share the same dream, and who teach and share what they know with an open heart.
Sue is the Lead Teacher of Small Poppies, which came under the umbrella of NZCGE in 2014. She has been teaching for over 40 years, involved in gifted education for over 30 years and has two gifted children, now fully grown with their own children. Since 1996 she has worked fulltime in gifted education, primarily teaching the Small Poppies programme. Sue is a life member of both the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children (NZAGC) and Explorers, the Auckland Branch of NZAGC; has served as NZAGC National President; edited both “Tall Poppies” and “Apex”, and organized and/or presented at numerous workshops and conferences for teachers, children and parents. She was a member of the Writing Team for the Development Band of the Mathematics Curriculum Statement and coordinator of a writing team for “Supporting Scientifically Talented Students.” As Assistant Director of Tamaki Education Centre in the early 90s, she initiated subsidised programmes for gifted children from local low decile schools. Sue is a former member of the Boards of giftEDnz and the Gifted Education Centre (GEC), and was director of GEC prior to the merger of GEC and Gifted Kids. She has a special interest in creative writing, maths, science and technology, and is passionate about her role working with our young gifted children.
Tamara has over 10 years of experience in teaching; in New Zealand as well as in South Korea and London. Tamara is passionate about gifted and talented students, having taught many herself as well as her own children, who are currently showing traits and characteristic of giftedness. Tamara has found in the past her classroom often has many people who can identify as gifted, now having the chance to see children pursuing their talents is something she is delighted about.
She was born in Christchurch and gained a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning from Christchurch College of Education. She is trained in many different aspects of teaching from being a reading recovery teacher through to teaching English as a second language.
Tamara firmly believes in emotion coaching, which has proven to be a successful tool for her as a parent. Emotion coaching is something that Tamara brings to the classroom to help her students understand their unique gifted personality.
Over the last few years Tamara has been involved with early childhood education, learning alongside her own children.
Tamara is excited to join the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education team and especially the MindPlus program.