The conference is themed around effective governance and how boards of trustees can shift what we do to create a culture in our schools that accelerates educational success for every learner.  

President of the NZSTA Lorraine Kerr says in her conference welcome that school trustees have a role to ensure “shift happens” for our students. 

“That’s what we mean by ‘accelerating educational success',” Kerr says. 

A key aim of school trustees is to help students understand and thrive in the world outside school better, faster and stronger – and to take their turn in “making shift happen”, Kerr adds. 

Although data is crucial for boards of trustees, it is worth remembering the people – students, school staff, parents and other trustees – are just as important and together they create a clearer picture. 

Keynote speakers and a series of workshops during the three-day conference in Wellington will examine ways to accelerate educational success for every learner in NZ schools. 

Among those speaking at the conference, is doctor of psychology Paul Wood, who became the first person in NZ’s history to progress through undergraduate and Masters degrees while in prison, and then begin a Doctorate while incarcerated. 

As an 18-year-old, Wood was completely off the rails – he was not coping with the impending death of his mother, he was dependent on drugs, and was an unemployed high-school dropout who was committing crimes to feed his habit.

Two days after his mother died he lost control when his then drug dealer attempted to sexually assault him – Wood was convicted of murder for this offence and then spent more than a decade in prison. 

On his release, Wood has been able to translate this knowledge into strategies for improving business and personal performance within organisations while working as a senior consultant and manager in the field of leadership development and organisational psychology at OPRA Consulting NZ. 

He spends most of his time working with senior leaders and organisations across both the private and public sectors to help them reach and maintain peak performance. 

Also speaking at the conference is Katrina Casey, the recently appointed acting secretary for Education (from July 4), when Peter Hughes takes up his role as State Services Commissioner.

Casey became the deputy secretary Sector Enablement and Support at the Ministry of Education in 2012, and has also spent time as the general manager Community Probation Services at the Department of Corrections, leading 2,500 staff at 220 locations in managing offenders serving community sentences and orders, and in various other roles. 

In her role as deputy secretary Sector Enablement and Support, Casey is responsible for ensuring that all support to the sector and operations, and programmes provided directly to learners, focus on maximising learner achievement.

John Parsons is an Internet Safety and Risk Assessment Consultant to the education sector, private sector and the health sector, John Parsons will also take to the stage. 

Parsons provides specialist advice and direction on the safe use of digital communication technology. 

He provides support and consultancy to principals who are dealing with major events impacting the school and community and works with the New Zealand Police, Child Youth and Family, Safeguarding Children Initiative (SCI New Zealand), government sector agencies and Barnardos.

The NZSTA Annual General Meeting is also scheduled for during the conference, where there will also be ample time for networking. 


Early bird registration for the conference closes on July 1. 

What: The 27th NZSTA Conference 2016 Effective Governance - Accelerating educational success for every learner
When: July 15 – 17, 2016
Where: Hosted across two venues: TSB Arena Convention Centre and InterContinental Wellington

Visit nzstaconference.co.nz for more information on attending this popular conference.