Our leadership team
Secretary for Education: Iona Holsted
Iona Holsted was appointed as Secretary for Education on 5 December 2016.
Prior to this, Iona was the Chief Review Officer and Chief Executive of the Education Review Office. She was appointed to this role in July 2014.
Between 2007 and 2014 Iona held 4 senior management roles at the Ministry of Social Development, most recently as Deputy Chief Executive, Students, Seniors and Integrity Services. In this role she was responsible for services to seniors (superannuation payments), Studylink, and the integrity of the benefit system.
Iona also spent 6 years as a Deputy Commissioner at the State Services Commission.
She started her career as a primary school teacher in Auckland, later becoming an advocate and researcher for the Public Service Association and then as General Manager of a community controlled primary health care organisation.
Iona has completed an executive leadership programme at the INSEAD Business School, and studied strategic leadership at Oxford University.
She has been a mentor with the New Zealand Institute of Management since 2007, a Member of the Executive Leadership Learning Network and has served on Barnardos and YMCA Greater Wellington Boards.
Iona has a Higher Diploma of Teaching from Victoria University of Wellington and trained as a teacher at Waikato College of Teacher Education.
Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support: Katrina Casey
Katrina is Deputy Secretary for Sector Enablement and Support at the Ministry, responsible for ensuring all support to the sector and operations and programmes provided directly to learners are focused on maximising learner achievement.
Katrina has extensive experience across a range of public sector settings. She was General Manager of Community Probation Services at the Department of Corrections, leading 2,500 staff across 220 locations to manage offenders serving community sentences and orders. Katrina joined Corrections as General Manager Strategic Development when it was formed as a new Department in 1995. She had previously worked in the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Works and Development.
Katrina holds a Bachelor of Science from Canterbury University and a Masters in Regional and Resource Planning (with Distinction) from Otago University.
Deputy Secretary, Parent Information and Community Intelligence: Apryll Parata
Apryll is the Deputy Secretary, Parent Information and Community Intelligence (PICI). The PICI group designs and drives initiatives that support parents, families, communities, iwi and employers to help every New Zealand child or young person progress and achieve. Engaged parents and families supported by communities with high expectations are key ingredients in delivering education success. Out of school matters.
Apryll has had a career in education for more than 35 years. She has been a secondary school teacher and principal, designed and delivered innovative and successful professional development programmes, led schooling improvement projects, established and managed iwi education partnerships and programmes.
In addition to her current position, Apryll has held other Deputy Secretary roles within the Ministry of Education:
- Priority Education Assignments - to respond to urgent project/intervention needs as identified by the Secretary for Education;
- Performance and Change – to advance the Ministry’s performance measurement, monitoring and improvement; and
- Māori Education – to strengthen the Ministry’s focus on improving Māori education outcomes.
She has also been a Private Secretary to a Minister of the Crown and the Director of the Education Practice at Gardiner Parata Ltd a private sector consultancy company.
Apryll has a Bachelor of Arts from Waikato University and a Diploma of Secondary Teaching from Auckland College of Education.
Apryll is of Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu descent.
Head of Education Infrastructure Service (EIS): Kim Shannon
Kim is a highly experienced operational and policy leader, who has been with the Ministry since 2000. She has led significant change in the Ministry, specialising in building value, driving good business practice and high standards of public service.
She has led programmes to unwind bulk funding, bring together multiple policy teams into one group, and managed major staffing reviews. As Programme Director for the Schools Plus initiative, she led a cross-government approach to lift achievement in education by developing pathways between secondary and tertiary education.
Kim was involved in the early part of Christchurch’s recovery, driving the business case for the capital works programme through to Cabinet’s approval. As Head of EIS, Kim introduced the first new schools PPP (public-private partnership) in education.
In Kim’s role of Head of Education Infrastructure Service (EIS), she is responsible for ensuring New Zealand’s schools are safe and inspiring learning environments, and oversees management of a $23.5 billion property portfolio, with a $600 million annual property spend.
EIS also delivers school transport assistance to more than 100,000 students in rural areas and students with special needs, drives better use of technology in schools through improved ICT infrastructure and the upgrades of all school IT networks, and ensures accurate, on-time payment for state education school employees.
Kim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and English and a Diploma in Secondary Teaching from Canterbury University. Prior to joining the Ministry, Kim worked at the Department of Internal Affairs and the State Services Commission.
Deputy Secretary, Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers: Claire Douglas
Claire joined the Ministry on 1 May as Deputy Secretary Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers. Claire is from Wellington and has held a number of policy leadership roles in central government on education policy matters. Her most recent role was at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prior to that Claire worked in the Treasury from 2004 to 2010 and as a senior manager in the Ministry of Education from 1990 to 2004. An earlier role held by Claire was in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries as an Agricultural economist.
Claire has a Master's Degree in Public Policy from Victoria University and an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Science.
The Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers Group is responsible for tertiary education strategy, policy, sector performance analysis, youth guarantee and vocational pathways, and international education. We work in a variety of ways to ensure young people transition successfully into work or further study. We also help New Zealand compete internationally as a place to study.
Deputy Secretary Early Learning and Student Achievement: Ellen MacGregor-Reid
Ellen started as Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement on 26 June 2017. The Early Learning and Student Achievement group supports education leaders to lift progress and achievement for all children and young people. The focus of the group is on supporting: New Zealand’s curricula; assessment of children and young people’s learning progress and achievement against the curricula; the provision of personalised learning pathways for children and young people; and a quality and sustainable education workforce. The Early Learning and Achievement group also has responsibility for the establishment and management of Partnership Schools.
Prior to taking up this role, Ellen was Deputy Secretary for Strategy, Planning and Governance for the Ministry. During her time in this role Ellen led the Update of the Education Act and the Review of Funding systems, along with leading work for the Ministry on business strategy, organisation performance, risk and assurance, legal services, communications, ministerial services and support for the Secretary for Education.
Ellen joined the Ministry from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), where she was Deputy Director for the Policy Advisory Group and policy advisor to the Prime Minister on social sector issues. Prior to her 3 years with DPMC, Ellen had spent almost 5 years at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), where she held a variety of roles including General Manager Social Sector Strategy, General Manager Planning, Performance and Governance, and Deputy Director of the Chief Executive's Office.
Ellen began her public service career at the Treasury and holds a Master of Arts in Geography from the University of Auckland.
Deputy Secretary, Education System Policy: Dr Andrea Schöllmann
Andrea took on the role of Deputy Secretary, Education System Policy, in November 2013. She joined the Ministry of Education in 2007, and since then has held a number of senior management roles, in the tertiary, international and system policy areas. Prior to this, Andrea worked at the then Ministry of Economic Development, in regional and sector development roles, for 7 years.
The Education System Policy Group is responsible for strategic policy advice on education system settings, including advice on the system’s ability to deliver material improvements for learners at all levels. The group provides policy advice on early childhood education and schooling, and on the performance of the education system for Māori and Pasifika learners. It also has a focus on strengthening the medium to longer term strategic focus of the education system, and manages the Vote Education Budget. The group is also leading the development of a social investment framework for education.
Andrea holds a PhD and a Masters degree from Lincoln University, where she lectured for some years in tourism geography. She emigrated to New Zealand from Germany in 1990, so she also holds a number of German qualifications in the area of business management and administration, and she worked in the private sector in Germany.
Deputy Secretary, Business Enablement and Support: Zoe Griffiths
Zoe was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Business Enablement and Support group on 16 February 2015.
The role is responsible for the Ministry’s organisational capability ensuring the critical people, processes, systems and infrastructure is in place to achieve the business strategies of the Ministry. The functions within this group include: IT, Finance, People Capability, Business Services and Procurement.
Prior to working for the Ministry, Zoe was seconded from the Ministry of Social Development to work as Director of the Ministerial Inquiry into Novopay. She was appointed to the Ministry’s Leadership Team as the Director of the Secretary’s Office on 1 June 2014.
Prior to this Zoe has held a range of senior roles in the Ministry of Social Development, including General Manager – Care and Protection Support in the Child, Youth and Family Service and General Manager Strategy and Service Development in Work and Income.
Zoe has a Bachelor of Laws from Auckland University.
Acting Deputy Secretary Strategy, Planning and Governance: Jeff Gibson
Jeff was seconded to the role of acting Deputy Secretary Strategy, Planning and Governance in June 2017. In this role Jeff is responsible for business strategy, education system stewardship, planning and governance, risk and assurance, legal services, communications and ministerial services.
His previous role was Group Manager Corporate Strategy and Performance where he led the planning and performance, project and investment advice and governance functions. Jeff has been with the Ministry since 2014 when he joined as EPMO Director. Prior to joining the Ministry Jeff established and led the IRD Business Transformation programme for four years. Jeff has worked in and has held a number of senior executive roles in the public, private and NGO sectors in the UK, Europe and North America.
Jeff has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Operations Research and languages from the University of Canterbury. He has undertaken a number of coaching, mentoring and leadership qualifications in the UK and recently completed a Certificate in Company Direction through the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.
Raukura/Chief Advisor Te Ao Māori: Dr Wayne Ngata
Wayne took up the role of Raukura/Chief Advisor Te Ao Māori in September 2017. He was raised in Māngātuna, Ūawa (Tolaga Bay), and is of Ngāti Ira, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Ngāti Porou descent.
A former teacher, Wayne has an extensive education background, with a lifelong professional and personal commitment to transforming the futures of Māori children and young people through education. This is not the first time Wayne has worked at the Ministry—he has previously been the Ministry’s Group Manager, Te Reo Māori Schooling.
More recently Wayne has been Head of Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa Tongarewa where he managed a team of curators responsible for the care of the taonga Māori collection, and provided advice across the organisation on Mātauranga Māori approaches in museology—the science of organising, arranging and managing museums.
He is a strong advocate for te reo Māori and is the current Board Chair of the Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission). He has also been an Associate Professor with the School of Indigenous Graduate Studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and a Principal Investigator with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre for Research Excellence at the University of Auckland.
Wayne gained his gained PhD, written in te reo Māori, from Massey University in 2009. His area of scholarship was Māori literature, specifically the language of mōteatea (traditional chant).
Deputy Secretary Evidence, Data and Knowledge: Dr Craig Jones
Craig was appointed to the role of Deputy Secretary, Evidence, Data and Knowledge in May 2016.
Originally from Invercargill and a graduate of Otago University, Craig has been involved in the New South Wales public service for most of his career. All of his roles have had a strong focus on research and evaluation to inform policy decisions with evidence about ‘what works’, for whom and under what conditions. He has held leadership roles in Justice and in the NSW Treasury and, most recently, at the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation within the New South Wales Department of Education. In his most recent role, Craig was overseeing the evaluation of major reform initiatives across the NSW education system and other strategic research projects to inform education policy decision-making. Craig holds a PhD in forensic psychology from the University of New South Wales.
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