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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.
Kia ora koutou – my name is Katherine Souness – former chairperson of Roskill South Kindergarten, mother of two kindergarten graduates, and primary school teacher. As a new entrant teacher with 17 years’ experience and a parent of two girls aged 5 and 7, I have a deep working knowledge of the transition between kindergarten and school and of child development. I value community, child centred pedagogy and robust policies and procedures that provide a framework for our teachers to build excellent practice within. I am keen to contribute to the momentum gathered by the Auckland Kindergarten Association over the last year. I am particularly interested in our constitution and how it can be improved to develop stronger community involvement now and into the future. I bring organisational skills, an eye for detail, tenacity, strength in researching and collating information, and a commitment to helping our kindergartens go from strength to strength. As a board member, I am privileged to be able to contribute to the Association’s future direction.
Professor Tania Ka'ai
Māori (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu), Hawaiian (Kanaka Māoli), Cook Island Māori, Sāmoan. I am a Professor and Director of Te Ipukarea Research Institute and Te Whare o Rongomaurikura – The Centre for Language Revitalisation in the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies at the Auckland University of Technology. I have a background in primary and secondary teaching and I have been an educator in tertiary education for over 30 years. As an Indigenous scholar teaching and researching in a university, I use the cultural values and knowledge transmitted to me by my Māori and Pacific elders and mentors as an epistemological framework to inform my writing and teaching within the academy. I have been been involved in Māori language revitalisation interventions for almost 30 years including Te Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori. This work has expanded to the Pacific in working with communities on creating digital resources to increase access to their endangered languages. My research and publications reflect this work with communities. I feel privileged and humbled to have a role on this Board and hope my experience and knowledge will contribute in helping the Auckland Kindergarten Association to achieving its goals and aspirations for a future based on the health and wellbeing of all our children and families within our diverse communities in Auckland.
Kia ora koutou, my name is Ankita Sharma and I’m presently the Centre Manager at KiNZ Myers Park care and early learning centre. I have worked in the ECE sector for the past 8 years as a teacher and immensely value what a difference a quality ECE setting can make in the lives of young children. I’m an advocate for quality education and believe in adapting and enhancing our teaching practice in line with teaching pedagogies. I have a keen interest in the governance of Auckland Kindergarten Association and would like to contribute to the Board with a teaching perspective. As a value-based leader, my strengths lie in respecting and understanding the needs of our kaiako and working with a growth mindset. I have experience in the private ECE sector as well and I understand the needs of the business as well as education and know how to present a balanced view to both parties. I believe my strong likeness for diversity, ability to articulate precisely, a balanced approach to comprehend and communicate the perspectives of the board and the teachers is critical for this role with the association.
Kia ora koutou - I feel proud to be involved with the Auckland Kindergarten Association and privileged to be part of shaping the future of kindergarten in NZ. Thanks to the long history of kindergarten, I was lucky enough to send my children to the same kindergarten my husband and I attended. I would love to see my children’s children given the same opportunity. I currently sit on the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association board and my local school’s board of trustees. I have an eye for detail, commitment to following process and a desire to not only meet but exceed compliance. I enjoy the role of governance and looking at the bigger picture to see how we can strengthen and grow the kindergarten movement in NZ while remaining responsive to the needs of our families and keeping the well-being and learning of tamariki at the heart of all our decisions. I believe every child in NZ deserves a brilliant start to their life-long journey of learning.
Kia ora, my name is Ashleigh Pope and I am proud to have been appointed to The Auckland Kindergarten Association Board and to help contribute to the future success of our kindergartens. I have 2 daughters, 3 and 4 who are both currently attending the same kindergarten I attended as a child. Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be involved in Belmont Bayswater Kindergarten's 75th birthday celebration which was very special to see and a testament to the long history and importance and success of our kindergartens. I have experience sitting on local community education boards for several years in a governance role and am eager to further this contribution with the AKA. I also have a strong family history of involvement in the education sector which I am proud to be able to continue. I am an extremely passionate, focussed and tenacious advocate for both our tamariki and kaiako and am looking forward to providing support at a governance level to help our centres as a whole excel, and, in turn, have a positive influence on our future generations. “Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia o tatou mahi – Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work”
Pauline A. Winter
Chief Executive Officer
Pauline Winter (Te Ᾱti Awa-Taranaki/Samoa) has been with the Auckland Kindergarten Association since November 2017. Pauline is guiding the Association through a time of change to strengthen the organisation’s ability to respond to the changing nature of the Tāmaki Makaurau population and the growth of early childhood education opportunities. Supporting Pauline during this time is a new executive leadership team with a strong focus on supporting teachers and staff to continue the legacy of what Aucklanders and New Zealanders have been part of for over 100 years – the Kindergarten experience. Pauline has a business background having run her own consultancy and a small light manufacturing enterprise. She has also held Chief Executive positions in the NGO sector and the Public Service in Wellington. Pauline has held governance roles on several Private/Public boards and also holds community advisory positions. A former Westmere Kindergarten child, she has been a Playcentre mother and worked in the Adult Community Education sector and tertiary education. She also served as a Commissioner on the TEC board. Pauline Winter is a previous Pacific Business Woman of the Year and was awarded a Queen’s Service Order (QSO) in 2008 acknowledging her work to business and Pacific communities.
Chief Financial Officer
I am very pleased to be joining the Auckland Kindergarten Association. I have been working in finance and operations for more than 20 years across a variety of organisations including banking, telecommunications and retail. I am excited to bring that diverse experience to early childhood education and will strive make a difference to the lives of the children of Auckland and their wider communities. My team manages the finance, property and ICT functions and our role is to provide a strong supporting framework for our teachers and a clean, safe and engaging kindergarten environment for the children. My family and I are kindy kids from way back, having attended Glamorgan, Chelsea and Devonport over three generations and I am very happy to be continuing our kindergarten journey. The team at AKA have achieved a lot over the last few years and I look forward to playing my part in continuing that work to ensure a strong and sustainable association for future generations.
GM Education and Innovation
I started my career as a nurse in the Netherlands. In New Zealand I spent nearly 30 years in different management positions in Health and Disability services, including intellectual disability services, mental health and addiction, aged care, and child health. For the last 5 years, my efforts have been to improve outcomes for our young tamariki and working in Early Childhood Education with the kindergartens is one of the best ways to achieve this. This is an exciting time to work for AKA and the kindergarten movement at large as we are focussed and driven to strengthen and grow the movement to provide more tamariki with the opportunity to benefit from the kindergarten experience. I have a strong focus on collaboration, networking and innovation and believe that by working together we can achieve great outcomes for our young tamariki, and future generations to come. As our communities and society changes over time, we need to ensure we remain relevant and meet the needs of our communities and whānau whilst we maintain that what makes kindergartens the best learning environment for children.
GM Community Engagement
Toni Nealie is Acting GM Community Engagement. She has wide experience in strategic communications, issues management, marketing communications, education and media. Toni has worked for private, government and not for profit organisations in Aotearoa, the U.S and U.K, and is also a teacher, writer and editor.
GM Culture, Capability and Wellbeing
More to come...