The Springboard Team

Meet the people who keep Springboard running.

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Leadership Team

Dale Bailey

CEO (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Dale has worked in numerous role that influence his passion for the lives of young New Zealanders, holding responsibility for learners across the nation. He began his career as a teacher of geography and social studies in Palmerston North, before working as a Review Officer (and later Deputy Chief Review Office Northern) at the Education Review Office (ERO). 

He has since worked as Counties-Manukau Regional Manager and Northern Manager at Careers New Zealand, leading the redevelopment of careers education and support for schools. More recently, Dale joined the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as Director of Collections Research and Learning. In the last year Dale has been undertaking work as a consultant for his own company. 

Dale is keenly interested in promoting high quality education and life long learning across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Andrew Bull

Head of Operations

Andrew joined Springboard Trust as Head of Operations in 2021, following more than 20 years in the commercial sector both overseas and in Aotearoa - most recently an eight-year journey through our dairy sector. In this time, he developed a wealth of experience in high-growth organisations, senior leadership and general operations across a multitude of sectors - including many years as a Springboard Trust facilitator in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme. A long-standing school trustee and father of two, Andrew embodies the cross-sector magic that Springboard Trust delivers and is looking forward to maintaining a high-performing team and environment with us. 

Ellie Sutton

Head of Delivery (Waitaha)

Ellie leads our programme delivery. She brings more than 15 years of professional experience working in the not-for-profit sector with passion and drive to contribute her energy, skills and experience to make a difference in our communities. 

Before joining Springboard Trust, Ellie worked for the Ministry of Education and the Westland Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP). In this role, she led the development of the 10-year strategic plan for youth development in Westland.

In her spare time, Ellie volunteers for a Rangatahi Māori Youth Development Trust and sings with Christchurch City Chorus. 

Linnae Pohatu

Pae Arahi (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Linnae (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu, Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tāmanuhiri and Te Aitanga-ā-Mahaki) has 14 years experience as a senior executive in the state and museum sectors. This includes leading Māori and Pacific strategy and development at Career Services, representing them during the development of the Government’s Māori Education Strategy Ka Hikitia Managing for Success (2008-2012). She was also the Tumuaki Director Māori and Pacific Development at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. There, Linnae was responsible for strategic Iwi Māori and Pacific partnerships and relationships, Māori and Pacific strategy, and human remains repatriation. Linnae also has experience as Bicultural Policy Analyst at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Policy Analyst at the Office of Treaty Settlements which included a period as Private Secretary to the then, Minister Responsible for Treaty Settlements, Hon Margaret Wilson, and as an Associate Clerk to the Māori Affairs Select Committee in New Zealand’s Parliament, after completing a Bachelor of Arts (Hon) in Māori Studies at Te Pūtahi ā Toi, Massey University. Linnae’s voluntary life saw her working with her iwi, for over 20 years, as an oral history researcher, Trust Secretary and Trustee for the Ngā Taonga ā Ngā Tama Toa C Company, 28 Māori Battalion Trust. Linnae lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with her partner, Julian, and their 9-year old son Tamati who is a graduate of Te Kohanga Reo and current learner in one of Auckland’s oldest Māori Language Immersion units, Whanau Ata, at Freeman’s Bay Primary School.

John Eyles

Innovation and Integration Consultant

John comes to the Springboard trust from a 30 year career of adult learning across a number of sectors.  He is passionate about enabling others to succeed. He has been Director of Wheelhouse Education where he delivered leadership development programmes in the Health System.  John has been an academic leader at Unitec in the Bachelor of Creative Enterprise programme, worked as a manager of research and alliances in the futures group at Spark, and as a senior lecturer in postgraduate studies at AUT.

John has also worked internationally for Governments, NGOs and start-ups focusing on the use of online learning tools and teacher development, particularly in the English language training space.

Programme Delivery

Dianne Smardon

Delivery Team Lead (Waikato)

Dianne brings skills in staff development, educational leadership and e-learning to her role with the Springboard Trust.  Over the past 20 years Dianne has worked as an adult educator in NZ where she has led several professional development projects. She has also fulfilled short term consultancy contracts in Hong Kong, working as a coach with school leaders and teachers. 

Most recently, Dianne has been contracted by the University of New England (NSW) in the capacity of In-Country Lecturer in a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded Teacher Education Project, in the Republic of Nauru. 

Carol Ashton

Delivery Team Lead (Te Tai Tokerau)

Carol joins Springboard Trust with extensive experience across the education sector, including teaching and leadership roles in Primary, Secondary, Career Education and Learning Support in New Zealand schools, and International Baccalaureate (IB) World schools in Asia. As Northland Regional Manager for Career Services for ten years, she developed a particular interest in building positive and collaborative workplace cultures, and taking a strengths-based approach to staff development.

Carol is married, with three children, three stepchildren, and three grandchildren. She loves art, travel, reading, baking and sewing, and is an enthusiastic user of technology to create connection between people with similar needs and interests. 

Amanda Takiwa

Programme Manager (Tāmaki Makaurau)

With a diverse background beginning in military leadership and moving into airline management, driving high performing teams has become a passion for Amanda. 

She brings with her, experience specialising in team management, human factors and facilitation, training cabin crew and pilots nationwide and internationally. 

Amanda is married and has two children immersed in Kōhanga reo, and has prior experience working for māori not for profit organisations. Amanda is incredibly passionate about bringing Te Ao Māori worldview into her life and work and to share this with her own, and all tamariki.

Desiree Wehrle

Customer Experience Lead (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Desiree joined Springboard Trust in 2020 with a passion for making a difference. She has broad cross-sector experience as a solicitor, Site Acquisition Manager at Vodafone, Executive Assistant at an NGO in Cambodia, and most recently as Community Engagement Manager for Safe Roads.

With strong skills in stakeholder engagement and project delivery, Desiree looks forward to once again applying her skills in the non-profit sector - this time in her home country!

Emma Robertson

Programme Manager (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Emma joins Springboard as a skilled service delivery and relationship manager with more than 10 years' experience leading teams. She has broad industry experience across private, public and not-for-profit sectors including 5 years in the business training sector supporting business growth. 

Bringing strengths in leadership, strategy and stakeholder management, Emma joins Springboard Trust with a passion for services which benefit the wider community and promote equality. 

Eleanor McNellan

Programme Manager (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Eleanor joins Springboard Trust with a background in consultancy. With KPMG in the UK she specialised in strategic planning and implementation, change management and transformation – both in business and the public sector. She has spent several years in the education sector working with schools and local authorities to implement Government policies aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people. She is passionate about education and the difference it makes in young people’s lives. 

Jennifer Wright

Programme Manager (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Jennifer joins Springboard Trust with extensive experience in the education sector with a career that started by supporting charities teaching in developing countries. She is skilled at leading programmes that make a meaningful difference in the lives of students and strengthening education frameworks. Passionate about making a difference in peoples' lives and giving back to the community, Jennifer has a proven ability to create environments of open communication, innovation and learning, working with key stakeholders and communities, listening to their needs and fostering channels of openness to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

Katerina Kupenga

Programme Manager (Te Whanganui-a-Tara)

Katerina (Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau a Apanui) joined Springboard Trust in November 2020. She has a depth of knowledge in coaching for performance, strategic planning, and leadership development. Katerina grew this coaching approach within the banking sector, including design and facilitation of training components, both nationally and internationally.

Over the past 20 years, Katerina has raised her four sons within Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa and has played key roles in establishing strategies that improve and promote Kaupapa Māori. She is also the chairperson of the board of trustees at Taoroa School, a certified workplace and business coach and is currently training towards becoming an accredited indigenous facilitator through the Institute of Cultural Affairs (Australia).

Merryn Statham

Programme Manager (Te Tai Tokerau)

Merryn joined Springboard Trust in April 2021, bringing a diverse range of skills and sector experience to her new role as Relationship and Programme Manager for Northland. She brings experience across primary, secondary and tertiary education settings, public health leadership, community organisations, local government, and stakeholder and relationship management. Merryn is keen to use this experience to work alongside school leadership teams to support their development. Originally from Hawkes Bay, 25 years in Auckland, now loving living in beautiful Whangarei, with beautiful beaches and wonderful people.

Nicholas Williams

Programme Manager (Waitaha)

Nicholas has 20 years experience working in primary, secondary, and adult education in both teaching and senior management roles.

Nicholas holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership, a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching, a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling, and a Bachelor of Commerce. He has a particular interest in leadership within cross-cultural contexts and has studied te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and advanced wānanga in Māori health and education practices.

Prior to joining Springboard Trust, he worked for AIHE consultants and Kakakura Health Services providing cultural direction and Māori educational programmes for individuals and organisations.

Nicola McCartney

Programme Manager (Tairāwhiti)

Nicola joins Springboard Trust with 35 years’ experience in adult education, including 15 years in workplace education and training and 13 years in operating her own English Language School. 

She was Associate Director of the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults at the University of Waikato from 2010 to 2018. Her practice is informed by her work in adult literacy, language and numeracy in New Zealand; grassroots education for women in Mumbai; international education development at Columbia University; and her background as a school owner of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in New Zealand.

Rebecca Brown

Volunteer Manager (Te Tai Tokerau)

Rebecca joined Springboard Trust in October 2017. She has an extensive background in education, based in Wellington for the past 15 years. She holds an honours degree in education and has worked as a teacher, assistant Principal, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal. 

Rebecca has also worked for Te Toi Tupu in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Cognition, supporting principals and their schools in curriculum areas. Rebecca has three daughters and loves spending time with her whānau relaxing in the outdoors. 

Sarah McElrea

Programme Manager (Waitaha)

Sarah joins Springboard Trust as a Programme Manager in Canterbury. Bringing her broad experience in stakeholder engagement, sustainability, project and programme delivery Sarah is enjoying the dynamics of working with school principals and dedicated volunteers and watching the growth of all participants on the Springboard journey. Sarah has worked for central government, the private sector and most recently the commercial arm of an iwi and been involved in other not for profits including Coastguard and a youth mentoring programme.


Ben Lorimer

Evaluation and Quality Lead (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Ben started at the Springboard Trust in October 2021, having previously worked at the Ministry of Education, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and as a research assistant at the University of Otago. Ben holds a PhD in Psychology, and brings with him research and evaluation experience in academic and government settings. Ben is passionate about education in New Zealand, and believes in its ability to transform lives when done well. He is excited to further evolve the evaluation of the Springboard Trust’s activities to aid their continuing development and better measure the impact they have on participating schools.

Beth Talarico

Data Coordinator (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Beth joined the Springboard Trust in March this year from an administration background, after moving to New Zealand 2 years ago. She has previously worked at the Auckland District Law Society and a property development company in data coordination and administrative roles. At Springboard, her responsibilities include data and survey coordination, data cleansing and administration, and some reporting analytics for the wider team. In her spare time, Beth enjoys travelling around New Zealand, long hikes and spending time with her family and friends.

Harata Christie

Programme Coordinator (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Harata has a storied background in Customer Relations Management and Systems Operations, including working alongside the Financial Sector. Working a not-for-profit organisation within the education sector is a new experience, but she is ready to further her development and growth. 

In her role with SBT, she will provide support to the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and Staff. Harata is a mother to three beautiful girls who are her ‘WHY’ - and she looks forward to seeing them become their own Leaders! 

Hariesa Faavae

Programme Coordinator (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Hariesa joined Springboard Trust in 2018 bringing skills in administration and organisation. Born in Samoa, Hariesa is Nuiean, Tokelauan, and Samoan. Hariesa has experience in customer-focused roles, her previous roles include working as a nurse aid for the elderly and running holiday programmes and after-school care. With a son who is 7 years’ old, she says she is excited to join an organisation in the education sector focused on improving outcomes for young people. 

James Beavis

Marketing and Communications Lead (Tāmaki Makaurau)

James comes from a background in business process improvement, marketing and creative writing. He has led digital transformation projects, editorial departments and is well-versed in the Agile methodology.  

In his role, he will bring this varied skill set to Springboard digital, editorial and social strategies, translating strategy into action, strengthening Springboard’s alumni engagement and keeping us on the cutting edge of educational research.  

Mark Elliott

Organisational Planning Lead (Waikato)

Mark brings a background from private business, high-performance sport and government agency experience. With over 20 years in the High-Performance sport sector Mark’s passions are in the areas of collaboration, accelerated learning and personal development to optimise team potential. Mark was on the HP Sport New Zealand Advisory Board for the development of High-Performance Elite Coach capability and leadership.

Before his immersion in High-performance sport he completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and Postgraduate in Sports Medicine, operating as a Director in a large multidisciplinary clinic in Christchurch. Mark has just completed a contract as Regional Manager for the Electoral Commission leading the delivery of the 2020 General Election for the Upper North Island.

Originally from Central Otago, Mark is now based in Cambridge with his wife Jude and children Hamish and Manaia. As a family, they love tramping and exploring the great outdoors. Mark is a volunteer running and triathlon coach working with Intermediate and High School pupils in the Waipa region. During quiet times he is an avid cyclist tackling the multiple trails and roads around the Waikato.

Ruth Channing

Programme Co-ordinator (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Ruth joined Springboard Trust in May 2016 with a background in administration and coordination. In past roles Ruth carried out monitoring and organisational duties, scheduling and managing workflow for technical staff. In her new role at Springboard Trust she will be providing administrative support to the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and staff. Having worked with children for many years and with two young boys of her own, she is excited about working for an organisation that values creating opportunities for children to succeed. 

Yasmin Tuarae

IT Helpdesk and User Support (Tāmaki Makaurau)

If something is broken, Yasmin is the person to fix it. With extensive experience in systems administration at one of New Zealand's largest telecommunications companies, she brings enthusiasm and skill to the Digital & IT Team.  

Yasmin's responsibilities include maintaining and operating our digital infrastructure, organisational support and training, and ongoing customer service. She politely requests you don't make any 'turn it off and on again' jokes. 

People and Capability

Claire Le Grice

HR Manager (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Claire brings her passion for people, wellbeing and business together with her background in senior people roles across the technology and creative industries in NZ and the UK as our first HR Manager.

With an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, she really enjoys creating positive learning experiences in life and work. In her role at Springboard, her focus is to empower the team to be their best, contribute to our organisational culture and their own personal development. She doesn’t believe in a one size fits all approach (to anything), and loves being back in New Zealand with her young family after living in the UK for 5 years. 

Janice D'Costa

People and Partnerships Coordinator (Tāmaki Makaurau)

Janice supports the People & Partnerships teams at Springboard Trust. Having worked in the not-for-profit sector for the last four years, Janice has deep appreciation for how not-for-profits seek to improve the quality of life of the people in it’s region and is very excited to join an organisation in the education sector focused on improving outcomes for young people. 

Janice feels the workplace plays an instrumental role in our lives and as a HR professional she is always aiming to create a work environment that has high morale, fits the needs of its employees and values wellness.

Being a newbie in New Zealand, Janice is totally fascinated by the country’s natural beauty and loves to spend time exploring new places and spaces with her family.

Jenny Grace

Learning and Development Lead (Te Matau-a-Māui)
  • Waka: Tainui 

  • Iwi: Raukawa 

  • Hapu: Ngati Huri 

Jenny brings to the Springboard Trust whanau a rich background in people, systems and general management.  Values-driven, Jenny is passionate about supporting people and the organisations they are part of to thrive.  Jenny holds a bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management, and Labour Studies, and a post graduate diploma in Leadership Communication from the University of Waikato.  

In her spare time, Jenny enjoys exploring the beautiful Hawke’s Bay region on her motorcycle, and spending time with family, friends, and her two dogs. 

Rebecca Brown

Volunteer Manager (Te Tai Tokerau)

Rebecca joined Springboard Trust in October 2017. She has an extensive background in education, based in Wellington for the past 15 years. She holds an honours degree in education and has worked as a teacher, assistant Principal, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal. 

Rebecca has also worked for Te Toi Tupu in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Cognition, supporting principals and their schools in curriculum areas. Rebecca has three daughters and loves spending time with her whānau relaxing in the outdoors. 

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