Our Leaders

Maurie Abraham, Secondary Principal

Maurie started as Principal in October 2012. Prior to that he was Principal of Opotiki College for 10 years after being Deputy Principal for 10 years. His teaching areas have been in the Social Sciences. Maurie is considered to be a leader in the area of restorative practice and has run workshops on this topic throughout NZ and overseas. This, along with his passion for exploring new ways to engage teachers and students, resulted in decile 1 Opotiki College achieving NCEA results equal to those achieved by high decile schools. The commitment to academic excellence and strong, positive relationships with students is what he brings to his role as Principal.

Daniel Birch, Principal

Daniel has been involved in education for most of his life. What drives him is the desire to lead change, in creating schools environments that provide relevant and authentic learning experiences. He moved from Christchurch at the beginning of 2012, with his wife and 3 children to work on the exciting project of seeing Hobsonville Point Primary evolve from vision to operation and beyond. He have been very lucky in being able to surround himself with a team of creative and capable educators, who all believe in the vision for creating an inclusive and stimulating learning community. Over the past 12 years he has been leading change within schools, both in N.Z and Australia. He assists in developing school curriculum, vision, values, principles and teacher pedagogy. Recently, he became an Apple Distinguished Educator. This makes him part of a small group of international educators recognised for creating stimulating learning opportunities for their students. As part of this group, he is able to access world-class professional development helping him to continue to grow, question and ultimately lead change. On a personal level he enjoys food, all sports, learning to surf with his son, listening to great music and all things Apple.

Claire Amos, Secondary Deputy Principal

In 2011-2012 she was the Director of e-learning at Epsom Girls Grammar School. She has also been the facilitator of the ICTs in English community on English Online. In 2010 Claire held the position of Auckland Secondary English Facilitator at Team Solutions at the University of Auckland. Claire has led and taught English for 15 years in a range of secondary schools, most recently holding the position of Head of English Faculty at Auckland Girls Grammar School. She has worked at a national level in assessment and curriculum in English as a part of the writing team for the redevelopment of the NCEA standards and as a marker for NCEA external standards. Claire is recognised as a national leader in the area of e-learning. In 2009 Claire was a Ministry of Education e-fellow for which she undertook a study of how ICTs can be used to support literacy in and beyond the English classroom.

Di Cavallo, Secondary Deputy Principal

Di is a passionate educator with over 16 years’ teaching and leadership experience in schools in Auckland and the UK, and prior experience in the private business sector. She brings significant experience in roles ranging from Senior Management and Head of Art, Design & Technology Department to leadership of curriculum development, professional learning, Gifted and Talented programmes and quality assurance. In 2010, Di was a Ministry of Education Study Award recipient and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership & Management. She has pioneered innovative integrated curriculum projects and introduced academic coaching and whole-school thinking skills programmes. Di has been a national level assessor with student work regularly selected for national exemplar. She is ardent about making learning link to the real world and making a difference for all students.

Lea Vellenoweth, Secondary Deputy Principal

In 2005 - 2011 Lea was the Deputy Principal at Opotiki College. Prior to this she was the Head of English. During her 19 years teaching English, she has also taught Media Studies, Music and PE. While in the role of Head of English, Lea was involved in facilitating the implementation of NCEA. She is passionate about teaching and learning and as Deputy Principal was committed to restorative practices. Lea led the professional learning and implementation of learning advisories at Opotiki College – small groups of students led by one teacher who was their academic and pastoral mentor. Lea believes that strong relationships are the key to students having positive educational experiences. She is driven by the challenge to create an environment that excites students and allows for them to aim for excellence and be prepared to meet the demands of the world they live in.

Lisa Squire, Primary Deputy Principal

Lisa started as Deputy Principal in July 2012. Prior to this, she was the Deputy Principal at Linwood North Primary School, in Christchurch. She has worked in the private sector of education, as an e-learning facilitator for eTime Education Consultancy which is recognised for it's excellece in delivering professional development to schools throughout Canterbury . During her 15 years teaching, she has specialised at senior levels of school and taught across all learning areas with strengths in literacy, e-learning, health & P.E. She is committed to life-long learning and has completed a range of additional qualifications, including counselling with students and teaching English to foreign students. During her career, she has developed partnerships with overseas schools, initiated outdoor education programmes and worked on extensive e-learning projects. She is driven by the challenge to engage students in their learning through creating exciting learning opportunities.

Kristyn Rack, Primary Associate Principal

Kristyn started as Associate Principal in January this year. Prior to this she was a Team Leader and classroom teacher at Summerland Primary School for 5 years. Over her 8 years teaching, she has lead a school-wide programme that builds teachers' reflective thinking through self driven inquiry. She has facilitated a range of workshops and presentations, sharing her knowledge and strategies to enhance student learning outcomes. Earlier this year, she presented at the 16th International Conference on Thinking with a focus on empowering children with the tools to drive their own success. Driven by current learning theory, she is passionate about teaching thinking skills, combining a powerful blend of reflective and critical thinking tools to support children’s thinking and learning through careful analysis and reflection. She believes that when given the power to think critically and imaginatively, children see themselves as flexible architects of their own success. Furthermore, as educators we must provide the right mix of challenge, support and varied contexts for children to discover who they are and establish understandings of who they want to become. She is passionate about connecting community to school through health initiatives and outdoor education.