The Auckland Kindergarten Association is a government-funded organisation that operates as a charitable trust. (CC22833)
AKA is governed by a board of nine elected members who are responsible for the governance of the Association. You can read the AKA Constitution here.
The day-to-day management role is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer who is supported by specialist staff at AKA's Head Office.
The Auckland Kindergarten Association is made up of 107 kindergartens, five KiNZ all day early learning centres, and five Playgroups. Each kindergarten or KiNZ Centre has a teaching team - typically a head teacher (or Centre Manager) and 2 - 4 teachers as well as support staff (such as Teacher Aides, Relievers and Administrators). The Playgroups are mostly run by the families that attend, with assistance from our Playgroup Co-ordinators.
MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SIMON JONES, BOARD Chairperson
I am proud to be a board member of the Auckland Kindergarten Association, and, for the last four years, Chairperson. During that time we have strengthened the Board to ensure that we have the right mix of skills and experience to ensure the Board is equipped to deal with the various challenges in a rapidly changing environment, together with implementing Strategy 2025. I remain committed to the AKA achieving its strategic objectives and delivering a high quality public early childhood education that all those involved with the AKA can be proud of.
Independent of my AKA responsibilities, I am the Chief Financial Officer of Moana New Zealand. As an experienced financial executive with three periods of my career spent living overseas, I bring to the AKA a robust financial discipline, together with governance skills and a strong business background.
My formal qualifications include a Master of Business Administration, and Master of Commerce (Honours) degrees from The University of Auckland. I am a Chartered Accountant, being active with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and a member of the Institute of Directors.
Originally from Taupō and Whangarei, I live in central Auckland with my family. Outside of work, when not spending time with my two young boys' sporting activities, I keep fit by playing interclub squash. For relaxation I am either in the garden or playing the piano.
ROBIN HOULKER, deputy BOARD chairperson
I have been a board member of the Auckland Kindergarten Association since 2010 and have a deep commitment to the Association's heritage. My connection began with my first position as a kindergarten teacher at Grey Lynn (formerly St James) and then Ferndale, followed by the Head Teacher role in the newly formed YWCA Mobile Preschool Unit, in partnership with the AKA. I chaired the AKA Appointments Committee and was on the Disciplinary Committee following time as the national president of the Kindergarten Teachers Association.
My passion for engaging the whole family and whanau around the child's learning was fostered in these early years and became, and still is, a strong part of my philosophy during my time as a teacher, lecturer, and education consultant over the past 40 years. As director of the internationally regarded intergenerational Manukau Family Literacy Programme (MFLP) from 2001- 2008 this philosophy was further strengthened and highlighted for me how significant, long-term positive outcomes for families can be achieved when the education sectors work more cohesively around family.
I hold a Masters degree in Adult Education and recently qualified as a coach and mentor. My consultancy work includes professional education research and literacy audits, publishing of a parent magazine, course development, workshops and staff development including SELO projects, public relations, media sponsorship and fundraising, mostly with a community focus. Advocacy is fundamental to my life and I currently serve as trustee of the Hillary House Leadership Centre and as the consumer representative on the NZBCF Clinical Advisory Group for the NZ Breast Cancer Register.
In my time on the AKA Board I have been a strong advocate for building our capacity through our strategic plan to meet the current needs of our families while recognising the importance of our teachers in all aspects of our programmes and delivery. As an honorary member of OMEP (World Early Childhood Organisation) I maintain currency with local and international early childhood perspectives. It has also been a delight to enjoy spending time with my grandchildren as they participate in our kindergartens in the past three years and particularly to share with them my great love of children's literature.
CLIVE NELSON, BOARD MEMBER
I am proud to serve on the board of the Auckland Kindergarten Association.
My leadership experience spans industries including infrastructure, government, health and the media. I am currently employed as the Chief Executive of the Health Promotion Agency, a Crown entity in the health sector established to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.
I am MBA-qualified and a member of the Institute of Directors.
I am married with two teenage sons.
CHRIS BARROW, BOARD MEMBER
My youngest daughter attended and enjoyed Ponsonby Kindergarten until June of 2017, and I was grateful for the role that Kindergarten played in preparing her for school.
I have been a solicitor for more than 20 years, having worked for major international law firms in London (While & Case, Watson Farley & Williams, Dentons) as a tax and finance lawyer and in-house as general counsel of two London finance boutiques. Prior to practicing law in the UK, I was a tax consultant with BDO in Auckland.
More recently, I co-founded two healthcare investment businesses in the UK. I was both a board director and general counsel of both.
At the end of 2015 my wife and I moved back to New Zealand with our three children to spend more time with family and be more involved with our local community. Presently, I am working on collaborative business models in New Zealand.
I have a double degree in law and commerce (accounting major) from the University of Otago.
JO JUKES, BOARD MEMBER
I believe strongly that it is critical for families and communities to be involved in the governance of the Auckland Kindergarten Association and it is a privilege to join the AKA Board.
I am a multi award-winning fundraising and event professional, with a background in constituent engagement in the not-for-profit sector. I have experience developing and delivering the strategic direction of fundraising and long-term constituent engagement.
Right now, I am most interested in what is best for children.
I am very aware of the funding versus philosophy conflicts that many charitable organisations face and will champion decision-making that keeps international best practice ECE as its core principle. I would very much like to see a focus on engaging with families and communities as the primary means of future-proofing kindergarten’s place in society.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
BRUCE MCLACHLAN, BOARD MEMBER
I have taught in both primary and secondary schools in Auckland for more than 30 years and have held a variety of school management and leadership roles. I recently retired as Principal of Swanson School in Auckland and I am now working in a consultative role, supporting Boards of Trustees, Principals and Leaders of Early Childhood Centres. I have also served on the Complaints Assessment Committee of the Education Council for over six years. I am therefore very experienced at dealing with all manner of complaints and conflict in schools and early childhood centres.
Kindergarten is, of course, where children learn through play. Since 2014, I have fielded numerous national and international enquiries about my philosophy of children’s play. As Principal of Swanson School I introduced the concept of Free Play, and, among many other invitations, I was asked to do a TEDx talk at Bond University and speak at an international Early Childhood conference in Australia.
I am excited to play a role in the Kindergarten movement for several reasons: Blockhouse Bay Kindergarten was where I began my own life of learning; one of my daughters and my sister both work in early childhood; I have worked closely with early childhood teachers and leaders in my role as a school principal and an investigator; and I have a particular interest in children’s play.