The Board

Catherine Isaac Chair

Catherine Isaac has many years’ leadership experience in corporate, public sector and not-for-profit roles, including in education policy research and advocacy. She was Chair of the Partnership Schools Working Group from 2011 to 2013 and a member of the government’s Welfare Working Group. She was a director of St Lukes Group (now Westfield), General Manager, Public Affairs, for the National Provident Fund and a consultant to the Treasury and the GST Launch Team.

Catherine has been Managing Director of Wellington communications consultancy Awaroa Partners since 2002. Her community roles include nine years serving on state school boards of trustees, Chair of the Karori Sanctuary Trust, and a trustee of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the Wellington Community Trust.

Catherine Isaac

John Shewan, CNZM Deputy Chair

John Shewan is an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University of Wellington and a member of the Business School's Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research.  His lengthy involvement with education includes chairing Samuel Marsden Collegiate School for five years during which time it established a new school in Whitby, and chairing the Government's Tax Education Office for 10 years.

John was chair of PwC New Zealand for nine years, and is currently Chair of Yealands Wine Group, Westpac Stadium and the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund. He is also a director of Munich Holdings of Australasia and China Construction Bank (New Zealand). He assists a number of non-profit organisations including the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoors Education Foundation, and is a member of the Supporters Council of the Young Enterprise Trust. He was awarded a CNZM in 2012 for services to business.


Rhys Faleafa Member

Rhys Faleafa is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in working with small and medium-sized organisations in the private and not-for-profit sector.  He has also lectured at the University of Auckland Business School and worked as a Tuakana mentor.  Rhys is currently Vice-Chair of the New Zealand Tongan Business Council, Chair of the Pacific Island Chartered Accountants Network, and a founding Trustee of the Tupu Toa Trust which pathways Māori and Pasifika tertiary students into corporate sector roles.

Rhys also served on the Board of the Pacific Business Trust, and during this time became acutely aware of the negative educational and wealth outcomes that Pasifika and Māori experience in New Zealand despite the best intentions of our existing systems.  He is passionate about creating opportunities for community-led innovations in education to change the lives of disadvantaged young people and their families, and educational pathways that lead to meaningful careers for all of New Zealand’s young people.

Rhys Faleafa1

Terry Bates Member

Terry Bates was until recently Chief Executive of Cognition Education – a private education training and consulting company that operates globally.  Terry has a background in secondary education and education-related public service roles.  He was the foundation Principal of Southern Cross Campus in Mangere,  the largest composite school in New Zealand.  Terry has held senior management roles in both the Education Review Office and the Ministry of Education.  Before working for Cognition, Terry was Regional Manager (Northern) for the Ministry of Education.  Terry is an active supporter of a number of philanthropic enterprises.  He is currently Chairperson of the Lopdell Trust that has redeveloped and operates the Lopdell Arts Precinct (in West Auckland) in association with Auckland Council, and he is a director of the New Zealand Maritime Museum.  

Terry Bates

Sir Toby Curtis, KNZM Member

Sir Toby Curtis, of Te Arawa, Ngati Rongamai and Ngati Pikaio is a leading Maori educationalist, with extensive experience in teaching and school and tertiary sector leadership. He was Director of Primary Education at the Auckland College of Education in the 1990s, and later Deputy Vice Chancellor at AUT.  He has served on many ministerial commissions and panels on Maori education, broadcasting, welfare and economic development issues.

Sir Toby is currently Chairman of the Iwi Education Authority for Nga Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa, a member of the Iwi Leaders Forum and Chair of Te Arawa Lakes Trust.  He has a PhD from The University of Auckland and was a Fulbright Scholar. Sir Toby was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013 for services to Maori education. 


Gillian Heald, MNZM Member

Gillian Heald is a former secondary principal, an education consultant and a director with over ten years’ experience. She was Principal Lecturer, Mathematics Education at the Christchurch College of Education, principal of Rangi Ruru Girls' School and founding co-principal of Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti in Christchurch which delivers a personalised model of education. She was also deputy chair of the New Zealand Independent Schools Council, a member of the University of Canterbury Council, a trustee of the University of Canterbury Foundation and trustee for a number of charitable and community boards. Gillian also served as a director of the Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand.

Gillian is currently Chair of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Education Commission, a trustee of CORE Education Charitable Trust and a member of the Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu (the Correspondence School) board of trustees. She was awarded an MNZM in 2010 for Services to Education.

Gillian Heald

John Morris, ONZM Member

John Morris is a secondary education specialist with 40 years’ experience in the sector. His leadership roles include 20 years as Headmaster at Auckland Grammar School and four years as Principal of Takapuna Grammar School. He is founding Chairman of the Association of Cambridge Schools in New Zealand, a member of the Education New Zealand Board and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), and a director of Academic Colleges Group. He chaired the Transition Board of the Education Council of Aotearoa NZ.

John was formerly Chairman of the Education Forum, an education lobby group and think tank, and a member of the University of Auckland Council. In 1999 he was awarded a Woolf Fisher Fellowship for Outstanding Educational Leadership, and in 2013 an ONZM for Services to Education.

John Morris

Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, DNZM MBE Member

Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, of Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungungu and Ngapuhi is a leading advocate for Maori language revitalisation and education and the founder and leader of the Kohanga Reo movement. She is a life member of the Maori Women’s Welfare League and Kaupapa Maori Matauranga.

Following an early career as a primary school teacher, Dame Iritana was the first Maori woman to be appointed a district officer with the Department of Maori Affairs. In 1982, she became General Manager of the Te Kohanga Reo Trust Board. She has served on many Government advisory groups and working parties. Dame Iritana was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1992, and in 2009 became a Dame Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dame Dr Iritana Tawhiwhirangi DNZM MBE

John Taylor, MNZM Member

John Taylor was Headmaster of King’s College, Auckland, from 1988 to2002, and Headmaster of Rathkeale College, Masterton, from 1979 to1987. His current education involvement includes membership of the NZ Initiative and the Education Forum, of which he was the founding chair in 1991.  

John chairs the Sir Douglas Myers and Julian Robertson Scholarship selection committees. He is a trustee of the New Zealand Education and Scholarship Trust, the John Drake Memorial Scholarship Trust, the Mike Cormack Foundation and the King’s School Board.  He is also currently Senior Advancement Consultant to Auckland University, having retired after directing the University’s “Leading the Way” Campaign from 2006 to 2012 which raised $203 million.  

John Taylor