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The NZCER Board and Electoral College

The Board of NZCER consists of five elected members and one member appointed by the Minister of Education. The Board, as it sees fit, can co-opt up to three additional people to be members of the Council.

Board members are appointed for terms of 4 years, and every 2 years two or three of the five elected Board members will complete their term. At this point the Electoral College is tasked to nominate and elect two or three members to replace those stepping down. Retiring members may stand for re-election.

The Electoral College consists of persons as determined by the NZCER Act 1972.

In determining the persons who are members of the electoral college, the Council—

(a)     must ensure that the electoral college—

      (i)      is broadly representative of groups and bodies concerned with the conduct of education or educational research in New Zealand; and

      (ii)     includes distinguished New Zealand educators; and

(b)     may determine that a member of the electoral college may be a person nominated by a named education group, body, or office holder to be its representative in the electoral college.

Rules for the Conduct of Elections of Members of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research 2017

Under section 33(1) of the NZCER Act 1972, the council makes rules prescribing the method of election of members of the council. Rules made under this section are a disallowable instrument and have been presented to the House of Representatives under section 41 of the Legislation Act 2012. A copy of these Rules can be found here

The 2017 Electoral College for NZCER

Board members

The Board of NZCER, which represents a wide cross section of education interests, helps identify key educational issues and stakeholder needs, thus providing a strategic focus for the Council. The NZCER Board Policies guide the Board's work.


Peter Coolbear

Director, Chairperson

MA, PhD, CertEd(FE), MEdAdmin

Peter was the foundation director and is now the immediate past Director of Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre forTertiary Teaching Excellence. He took up this role in July 2007, having previously been deputy chief executive at Manukau Institute of Technology.

Peter has a background as a teacher and researcher in plant science, and has considerable experience working with international students having worked at the MFAT-funded Seed Technology Centre at Massey University for nine years. From the mid-90’s he held a series of management positions in the NZ polytechnic sector and in government.

He has previously served on the City of Manukau Education Trust and the Board of ITPQ (the quality assurance body for the polytechnic sector in New Zealand). He was the independent chair of the Combined Academic Board of Wellington Institute of Technology and Whitireia Community Polytechnic from 2012-2015, and was a member of the New Zealand’s national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards selection panel for several years.

He is presently a Council member of Tai Poutini and Otago Polytechnics and a member of the Adult and Community Education Professional Development Steering Group.

His outside interests include art, antiques, history, grandchildren and soccer (not necessarily in that order). 


Fiona Pimm

Consultant  Deputy Chairperson

Fiona affiliates to Ngai Tahu iwi with whakapapa links across the Ngai Tahu rohe, though she identifies Arowhenua as her whanau home.

She is an Executive Leader with extensive experience in governance roles in the health sector, government agencies, community NGO, local iwi and runanga. She is currently on the Board of an iwi development organisation, several health education and workforce training organisations, and the NZ Parole Board.

Fiona worked at the frontline in health, starting as a Medical Radiation Technologist and then moving into health service management with DHBs and with Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. She has extensive health sector networks across Aotearoa, especially in the Primary Care sector and Māori Health sector.

Fiona holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health from the University of Otago, an MBA from Massey University and a Diploma in Applied Science, Nuclear Medicine from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).   


Dr Lexie Grudnoff

Faculty of Education, University of Auckland 

Lexie has enjoyed a long career in education and has held a number of senior leadership positions in the compulsory and tertiary education sectors.  She gained wide knowledge of Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary education through being responsible for the University of Auckland’s teacher education programmes for many years and throughout her work with the former New Zealand Teachers Council. 

Lexie’s research interests are broadly related to teacher professional learning and development, particularly in terms of enacting practice that promotes more equitable learner outcomes and opportunities. Lexie has published widely and regularly presents referred papers at international conferences.

As an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland, Lexie uses NZCER resources in her teaching for undergraduate and postgraduate students.


Pania Gray

Independent Management Consultant

Pania is the Governor-General’s appointment to the NZCER Board, and began her four year term on 1 October 2014.

Pania carries out much of her management consulting work in the education sector. Her recent client base includes Education NZ, the Ministry of Education and Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu. She has also performed consultancy work previously for the Education Review Office, New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Tertiary Education Commission.

In addition to NZCER, Pania holds a range of directorships. She is the Deputy Chair of the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities, an independent director with Education Services Limited, and an elected Board Trustee at Hutt International Boys’ School. She is also on the Board of Petone Sportsville.


Dr. Vicki Carpenter

Honorary Research Fellow, University of Auckland, Audit and Risk Committee Chairperson

Dr Vicki Carpenter is a second term elected Council member of NZCER and Chairperson of the Audit and Risk sub-committee. She is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Auckland, and a monitor of Teacher Education programmes for the Education Council. Vicki has completed Institute of Directors courses, and has a range of Board/governing committee experience.

Vicki was raised in Titahi Bay, Porirua and attended Mana College, and Wellington Teachers College. An experienced primary school teacher, Vicki has had the privilege of teaching in such places as Porirua, Manurewa, Tekapo, Moerewa and the Hokianga.

More recently, Vicki lectured at the University of Auckland in initial and postgraduate teacher education. With a strong interest in Freirean pedagogy, and matters of social justice, Vicki’s research centres on schooling in low SES (urban and rural) communities, teacher education, and sexual orientation issues in teacher education.  Vicki has completed 27 Doctoral and Masters Supervisions, often examines theses, and undertakes journal article/book reviews.

She recently co-edited Twelve thousand hours. Education and poverty in Aotearoa, New Zealand 2014, Dunmore), and has co-edited five other education texts. Vicki is a past joint-editor of NZJES, and a member of the Editorial Board for Curriculum Matters. An NZARE and TEU member.


Frances Nelson

Principal, Fairburn School, Auckland

Frances joined the NZCER Board in October 2014. Currently, she is the principal at Fairburn Primary School, a large multi-cultural decile 1 school in Otahuhu Auckland. She is a “career teacher/principal” and has worked in a range of schools across a variety of deciles. Frances has been a principal in six primary schools in the Auckland/North Auckland regions.

Frances served on the NZEI Te Riu Roa National Executive for 15 years until the end of 2012, and from 2008-2010 served as NZEI Te Riu Roa National President. In 2014, she became an executive member of the Auckland Primary Principals Association (APPA) and its President in 2015/2016. Frances has had broad education sector involvement at both local and national levels, representing colleagues in work groups around curriculum and assessment, leadership and learning, and with the Education Review Office and the Education Council in its various forms over time.

Other sector involvement she has had includes serving as a trustee on the Springboard Trust, a not for profit organization partnering school principals with the business sector. The Trust’s programme of work provides opportunities for educators and business people to work together in mutually beneficial ways over time.


Dr. Cheryl Stephens

Consultant, Te Horomai Consulting Ltd

Iwi:    Te Arawa (Ngāti Pikiao, Tuhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao, Ngāti Hinekura); Taranaki (Ngāti Moeahu,Ngā Mahanga a Tairi)

Qualifications:     Doctor of Education (EdD); Master of Business Studies; Diploma of Sport (Coaching); Bachelor of Education; Diploma of Teaching

Cheryl has extensive experience in the education sector both in primary schools and in teacher education including  tertiary-level education management and executive leadership. She has a strong understanding and background in Māori education and has international indigenous links through the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) and American Education Research Association, including Special Interest Groups Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (IPA) and the Pacific (IPP).

She is a current member of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Council; New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society (NZEALS); Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA). She is also Education Commissioner for the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

Her professional interests are in Kaupapa research, theory and practice; the facilitation of professional development for teachers, managers and leaders; pedagogy and practice within learning environments; governance, leadership and management of organisations.  


Grant Taylor

Ernst & Young

Grant is the Office Managing Partner at Ernst & Young Wellington.  He specialises in providing pragmatic financial management and assurance related advice to clients in a variety of sectors including Private Equity, Financial Services, Listed Corporate and Public sector entities.

Grant is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degree from Victoria University.

He has been providing assurance advice for over 25 years.  As a Senior Assurance Partner, Grant specialises in working with businesses in New Zealand across a number of sectors including energy, aged care and public sector. He leads a number of complex audit engagements and has extensive experience providing quality assurance services to Boards and senior management teams.


Dr. Mere Skerrett

Senior Lecturer, College of Education, Victoria University of Wellington

Mere is currently a Senior Lecturer in initial teacher education, Victoria University of Wellington. She is an enthusiastic supporter of the regeneration of te reo.  Her reflective practice has been around the mechanics of regeneration in Kōhanga Reo (language nests) and young children’s conceptual development relating to their indigeneity. 

This has been in line with her professional interests in bilingual/bicultural education and applied linguistics. She is also interested in equity issues as they relate to Māori as Tāngata Whenua (the people of the land), constitutional reform, women’s issues and children’s rights, and growing life at the interface between indigenes and colonial counterparts in counter-colonial contexts. 

Mere is an international Research Fellow under the leadership of Professor Gaile Cannella and has recently published in the area of early childhood education and issues of ‘quality’ education in the early years. She takes an active interest in the politics of Māori language policy in education and recently helped to bring fruition te Reo Rangatira policy for the tertiary sector. 

She sits as a Board member of the NZCER and the NZARE. She is also an Editorial Board Member for NZJES and JELPP.