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Our people



Graeme was appointed Director and Chief Executive of NZCER in May 2015.

Under his leadership, NZCER is working to achieve its purpose by focusing on three strategic priorities that underpin our 5-year plan to 2021:  

  • contributing to a socially just and equitable education system

  • improving education outcomes for every Māori learner

  • leading thinking and shaping the future of education.

General Managers

General Manager Research and Development

Heleen joined NZCER in 2016. She leads our research and development activities, calling on her previous experience as a manager of research and evaluation at the Ministry of Education. Heleen brings extensive experience and knowledge of education policy, research and evaluation, and assessment. Heleen is the immediate past President of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education.

Heleen has an MA (Applied) Social Science Research, Victoria University of Wellington, and a BA (Education), University of Canterbury.

Kaiwhakahaere Māori - General Manager, Māori
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, ko Ngāi Tahu ngā iwi

Nō te tau 2017 i tīmata ai a Sheridan i Te Wāhanga. He kaiako kura tuatahi, tumuaki kura kaupapa Māori, kaiwhakangungu kaiako, kairangahau hoki a Sheridan i ngā tau kua pahure. Kua mahi anō hoki ia hei kai tā rauemi mō ngā kura reo Māori.

Sheridan joined Te Wāhanga in 2017. She has a background in primary school teaching, initial and inservice teacher education, bilingual education and kura kaupapa Māori, education research and evaluation, and education publishing for Māori medium schools.

General Manager Finance and Business

Bachelor of Commerce and Management (Accounting), Lincoln University, 1993

Chartered Accountant (CA) 1998

MBA (Distinction), Massey University, 2012

Peter (Pete) Searle provides leadership in financial and business management. He brings experience from the medical, tertiary, banking, and public sectors.


Our researchers

Researchers at NZCER have expertise in a broad range of education.

Chief Researchers

Chief Researcher

PhD from Victoria University of Wellington.

Cathy joined NZCER is 1987. Her main research expertise is education policy and how it impacts learning, teaching, school leadership and more equal learning opportunities.

Chief Researcher

Charles is Chief Researcher with a special interest in assessment. He leads projects that inform best practice in assessment, and has extensive experience in assessment design and development. 

Chief Researcher
  • PhD, Deakin University, Melbourne.

Rose has been involved in a number of projects related to the development of a ‘capabilities’ approach to curriculum design:

Te Wāhanga

Ko Te Wāhanga te pokapū rangahau Māori o te NZCER. E whakaū ana mātou ki te whakapai ake i ngā putanga mātauranga mō te iwi Māori, ka mutu, ka tautokona hoki te whakawhitiwhitinga o te hinengaro ā-mātauranga Māori.

Te Wāhanga is the Māori research unit within the New Zealand Council for Educational Research. We are committed to making a positive difference to education outcomes for Māori and to supporting transformational Māori educational thinking.

Assessment Services

Education Adviser

Cathie is an ex-principal with a breadth of knowledge of NZCER's assessment tools. She is available to support schools with their choice and use of any NZCER's assessments or surveys, and with assessment advice more broadly.  She can also help you with analysis of achievement information and next steps. Cathie runs personalised professional development sessions based on the specific needs of a school or cluster.

Education Adviser/Researcher

Julie joined NZCER as an Education Adviser and Researcher in 2017. Julie is an experienced mathematics facilitator and primary teacher. For the last nine years she has worked in a range of capacities delivering mathematics professional learning support in schools and clusters. She has strengths in mentoring and coaching leadership, effective assessment practices, and strategies to accelerate learning outcomes.

Manager, Professional Services

Ben Gardiner is the Manager of the Professional Services team at NZCER. He manages the support and development of NZCER’s tests and surveys across primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors. 

Assessment Services Support Specialist

Leah Saunders joined NZCER’s support services team in 2016. Prior to joining NZCER she was a team leader, ICT leader and classroom teacher for 18 years. Leah is passionate about effective assessment practices and is particularly interested in supporting teachers to make sense of assessment information to inform teaching and learning. She has strengths in helping teachers to raise achievement for all learners and using formative tools to show student achievement over time.

Qualifications: Dip Tchg, B.Ed, ACET Recognition

Psychological Test Services

Psychological Test Services Advisor


Publishing Manager

David is Publishing Manager at NZCER Press. A career publisher, he joined NZCER from legal publisher LexisNexis in 2010 where he was Managing Editor. Previously he has worked in Ireland for Thomson Reuters and in the UK for The Economist.  

Originally from Taranaki, David holds degrees in psychology and law from Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington. 

Senior Editor
Ngāi Tahu, Muaupoko, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Rangi

John joined NZCER Press as senior editor in 2013. He produces NZCER journals (set: Research Information for TeachersEarly Childhood FolioAssessment MattersCurriculum MattersEvaluation Matters), along with books and reports. John has edited novels and works of non-fiction that have won or been shortlisted for national and international awards, and he was a member of Te Waka Toi, the Māori arts board of Creative New Zealand.

Communications and marketing

Senior Communications and Marketing Advisor

BSc (Hons) Chemistry and Management

Alice has worked in a variety of education, training, development and not-for-profit organisations for over 20 years.  




Our sales team handles all order, invoicing and dispatch of books, journals and test items to customers.