Our leaders

Te Pou Tokomanawa o te Tāhuhu | Senior Leadership Team

Iona Holsted

Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Mātauranga

Nau mai haere mai

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa

Ko Hikurangi te maunga

Ko Uawa te awa

I whānau mai au ki Tolaga Bay

Ko Ngāti Pākehā te iwi

Ko Sheila Macmillan tōku māmā

Ko Alex Holsted tōku pāpā

Ko Iona Holsted tōku ingoa

Ko au Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Mātauranga

No reira tēnā koutou katoa

I was born in Uawa, Tolaga Bay as it was known to my migrant Scottish mother, Sheila, and my father Alex, of Danish descent. I grew up with my sister and two brothers in Whakatāne, trained in Hamilton, taught in Auckland, but I have now called Wellington home for more than 40 years. Between my partner and I, we have four daughters and eight grandchildren.

I began my career teaching in Owairaka in Auckland but after a year I returned to student politics, coming to Wellington to be the full time President of the Student Teachers’ Association of NZ.  I did that for two years – before returning to teaching.

I changed track in the mid-1980s and spent five years with the Public Service Association, leaving to lead the Newtown Union Health Service, a community-controlled primary health care service.

A chance meeting led to my appointment to the State Services Commission (now Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commission) initially as the Crown’s negotiator in industrial matters with the PPTA, and for the next period as a Deputy Commissioner focused on Departmental and Chief Executive performance.  

I then joined the Ministry for Social Development, where I was a Deputy Chief Executive variously leading corporate services, policy and operations.

Immediately before my appointment as Secretary for Education in 2016, I was Chief Executive and Chief Review Officer of the Education Review Office. In 2021, I was reappointed as Secretary until December 2024.

It is a real privilege to hold this role. It is incredibly challenging to shift the dial toward both equity and excellence in a highly devolved system - but this is where the greatest opportunities are to be achieved.

Andy Jackson

Hautū Te Pou Kaupapahere | Policy

Andy Jackson

Ko Yr Wyddfa te maunga

Ko Afon Conwy te awa

Ko Ken tōku pāpā

Ko Pauline tōku māmā

Ko Michelle tōku hoa Rangatira

He tangata pākehā ahau

Nō Ingarani au

Kei Te Whetū Kairangi toku kainga

Ko Andy Jackson tōku ingoa

I’m Andy Jackson, Hautū - Kaupapahere | Deputy Secretary - Policy.  I was born and brought up in the north of England, coming to Aotearoa when I was in my 20s.  My tupuna have lived in north-west England and north-east Wales since written records began, and my love of the mountains and rivers of north Wales is reflected in my mihimihi.

Te Pou Kaupapahere is responsible for strategic, funding, and regulatory policy advice and analysis across the education system. It covers Early Childhood, Schooling and Tertiary Education, including Māori Medium and Pacific education. The Group works closely with Te Mahau, and with partner agencies within the education system whānau and across government. 

I have been working for over twenty years in public policy and operations, most of it in Aotearoa, and much of it in tertiary education. I started at Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga in 2017 as Group Manager and later Deputy Secretary responsible for tertiary education, where I led through a number of major policy changes including the Reform of Vocational Education, and the introduction of a first-year fees-free.   

Previously, I’ve led teams responsible for labour market, immigration and tertiary education policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and at the Tertiary Education Commission, where I worked in both policy and operations. I have also worked at the Treasury on a diverse range of economic policy issues including serving as advisor to the Treasury Secretary. 

My passion is taking opportunities for change in complex, dynamic systems. I like connecting policy with practice, and old-school evidence with real-world stakeholder perspectives. I am committed to working in close partnership across government agencies, and between policy and operations. 

I live in Wellington and I have a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Policy from Victoria University. 

Anna Welanyk

Hautū Te Pou Ohumahi Mātauranga | Education Workforce

Anna Welanyk

Tēnā Koutou Katoa

Ko Mount Kaukau te maunga

Ko Te Whanganui-a-Tara te moana

Ko Te Awa Kairangi te awa

Nō Tamaki Makaurau au

Tōku papa nō Pōrana

Toku mama nō Konei

Ko Anna tōku ingoa

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I am delighted I will be playing a part in driving the change for Education in Aotearoa as Hautū Te Pou Ohumahi Mātauranga

Prior to joining the Ministry, I held various senior leadership roles in the private and public sectors both in NZ and overseas. In these roles I developed my skills and interest in leading and transforming organisations, delivering operational excellence and strategic service design, working alongside communities and key stakeholders.

Subsequently, working for the NSW Government, I had the opportunity to lead a number of significant Government departments and functions including NSW Valuation Services, Corporate Services for Service NSW, Director of the NSW Port Authority and CEO of the Waste Asset Management Corporation. In a fast paced and demanding environment, I worked with my teams to modernise services and deliver innovative customer solutions, lifting performance and driving improvements.

My commitment to service motivates me to make a positive difference to people and communities. Values and behaviours are important to me.

I’m looking forward to building enduring partnerships based on trust and respect and working collaboratively across the sector, in communities and schools to achieve our universal goals.  I am inspired by the opportunity to shape an education system that delivers equitable and excellent outcomes for all tamariki and rangatahi. 

Mere-Hēni Simcock-Rēweti

Hautū Te Pou Tuarongo

Mere-Hēni Simcock-Rēweti, Hautū Te Pou Tuarongo

He uri awau nō te uranga mai o te rā, nō ngā kaiwaiwhakaheke o Rongomaiāniwaniwa, o Putaanga, o Hunaara. Kai te pae o mahara hoki te koa o taku tipuranga ki te kāinga taurikura ki Tūranganui ā-Kiwa me aku tātai Rangatira ki a Ngāi Tāwhiri, Ngāi Te Kete, me Ngāti Wāhia. Ko Mere-Hēni tōku ingoa - tēnā tātou katoa.

I was born and raised in my mother’s tribal lands of Tūranganui ā-Kiwa (Gisborne) and the East Coast, leaving only as we do, to further educate myself at Victoria University in Wellington.

I joined the public service in 1999 as an advisor (National Operations) here at the Ministry of Education, with a desire to be part of building and delivering an outstanding, intuitive, and inclusive education system for all learners – particularly those underserved. Beyond that I have carried the skills and experience of government service into roles focussed on social, education, and cultural development at Te Puni Kōkiri (Māori Development), Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission), Ministry of Social Development, The Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti, and most recently, Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Throughout my public service career, I have been privileged to work alongside iwi Māori to support the retention and regeneration of mātauranga Māori, kaupapa Māori and te reo Māori – including how these have shaped our nation’s unique identity.

I look forward to continuing serving as part of the Ministry’s Leadership Team, with a focus on transformational change through education.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid

Hautū Te Mahau | Te Poutāhū (Curriculum Centre)

Ellen MacGregor Reid

Tēnā koutou ngā kai ururungi o te waka mātauranga

He uri whakaheke tēnei nō Kotimana engari kei kōnei, kei Aotearoa nei tāku ngākau

I tupu ake au i Tamaki Makaurau 

Ko Ellen tōku ingoa 

I joined Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education in March 2015 as Deputy Secretary Strategy, Planning and Governance. I then became Deputy Secretary for curriculum, assessment (early learning through to the end of schooling) and workforce relations (workforce strategy teacher supply, collective negotiations and pay equity settlements) in 2017.

Prior to joining the Ministry, I held a variety of roles and leadership positions with the Treasury, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (where I was social policy and health advisor to the Prime Minister).

I grew up in Tamaki Makaurau | Auckland where I received a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Auckland, before moving to Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington to join the Public Service. 

I strongly believe in the difference education can make. I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in supporting our country’s education system to be great for all tamariki and rangatahi. 

Isabel Evans

Hautū Te Mahau | Te Tai Raro (North)

Isabel Evans

Ko Rarawai tōku maunga

Ko Ba tōku awa

Ko Viti Levu tōku whenua

Ko Fiji tōku tūrangawaewae

Ko Isabel Evans ahau

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka

I am a proud Pacific Islander, born in Fiji and emigrated to New Zealand (Whangarei) with my parents and siblings as a teenager. My education began in Fiji and completed in Whangarei.  

Both my Mum and Dad were Fiji born, as were their parents before them. My great-grandparents migrated to Fiji as missionaries.  

I adore my family. My husband, 4 children and 5 grandchildren (soon to be 6) plus 3 step grandchildren are the centre of my world. My children and their families keep me busy – travelling between locations to spend time with them – from Papamoa, Tamaki Makaurau, Whangarei, and the Gold Coast.  

My culture and heritage are important to me, and supporting Māori, Pacific and other ethnic communities has always been a key part of all the roles I have held. I have lived and worked with blended cultures throughout my life and my career.

As a public servant I have determination to contribute and achieve. The stewardship entrusted to me as a public servant, serving citizens, is not something I take lightly, and my desire to serve well is at the heart of who I am and what I do. My aims:

Manaakitanga - uphold and support

Kaitiakitanga - to leave a legacy

I consider it a privilege to work alongside the Secretary for Education to bring about the transformative changes for Te Mahau within Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga. 

Jocelyn Mikaere

Hautū Te Mahau | Te Tai Whenua (Central)

Jocelyn Mikaere

(MBA, BA/LLB, Dip Pīnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi, MInstD)

He ika ki te moana, ko au ki te whenua, Tīkapa oneone, hokinga kāinga. Ko Jocelyn Mikaere ahau, he uri ahau nō Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Maru me Ngāti Kahungunu. Tēnā koutou katoa.

I am a proud Māmā to my four babies (my eldest is now 22) and I have been married to my lovely husband, Rich, for the past 25 years. Having grown up on my tūrangawaewae in Manaia I enjoy serving my community and I am committed to my whānau, hapū and iwi.  

I have extensive leadership experience both as the Chair for Ngāti Pūkenga and in my working career.  Having spent time in the public service I have worked in both social and economic development in delivery, contract management, and policy roles.

With a commercial background, I continue to hold business interests in the aquaculture sector, and I am currently developing an avocado orchard on my property in Manaia with Rich. I am proud to serve on a number of boards with a focus on developing substantial assets and providing support to the owners and our clients.

I am aware that I am joining Te Mahau at a critical time and I am committed to working alongside our kaimahi to make a positive difference for ākonga and their whanau. I am looking forward to meeting our staff and learning more about our mahi.

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngāhere, ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao. 

Nancy Bell

Hautū Te Mahau | Te Tai Runga (South)

Nancy Bell

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou

I tipu ake ahau i raro i te maru o Kāi Tahu

Ko Aoraki te mauka

Ko Otākou te whenua

Nō Ōtepoti ahau

Ko Nancy Bell taku ingoa

E noho ana ahau ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara ināianei

Tēnā koutou katoa

I grew up in Dunedin, spending time in the wider Otago region where I feel deeply connected to the landscape and people. After finishing school, I qualified as a teacher and worked in early learning services and teacher education institutions in Otago, Canterbury, and Manawatu before settling in Wellington where we have raised our family. 

For twelve years I had the privilege of leading Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand, a national membership organisation promoting and supporting high quality early learning through tertiary education programmes and policy advocacy. In 2016 I joined Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga as Director Early Learning and have subsequently also held operational leadership roles in the Ministry.

I am excited to be taking up the role of Hautū Te Tai Runga within Te Mahau, where I will be focused on listening, learning, and responding to local and regional voices across the southern parts of Aotearoa (encompassing Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast, Canterbury and Chatham Islands and Otago and Southland regions). It will take all of us working together in innovative ways to achieve a system that delivers excellence and equity for all ākonga and their whānau and I look forward to our conversations in this new space. 

Sean Teddy

Hautū Te Mahau | Te Pae Aronui (Operations and Integration)

Sean Teddy 

Tēnā Koutou Katoa

I whānau mai au ki Kirikiriroa

I tipu ake au ki te taha o te awa tapu ō Waikato

He tangata Pākehā ahau

Ko Amy taku hoa rangatira

Ko Rocco tā māua tama

Kei Te Awa-a-taia mātou e noho ana ināianei

Ko Sean Teddy tōku ingoa

Growing up with a dad who was a Tumuaki of rural primary schools, I got to start my education journey early. We lived in schoolhouses, and I loved having unlimited access to the library and the sports shed. I was less keen on the weekend jobs – like carting sand for sand pits or sweeping coal in the boiler room!

I started in the public service as a case manager working with people who were experiencing long-term unemployment. Helping individuals and their whanau to reconnect with work was a hugely rewarding experience, and something that I took with me through my various roles in operational, policy and corporate teams in the Ministry of Social Development. In those roles, one constant was seeing the difference education makes right over the course of a person’s life.

I joined Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga in 2014 initially to establish the Government, Ministerial and Executive Services function, before moving into the Office of the Secretary, firstly as Director and more recently as Deputy Secretary.  

It is a privilege to take up the newly established role of Hautū Te Pae Aronui, where we are connectors - Ki ngā whakaeke haumi. We use our information, insights and service design functions to support our frontline Te Mahau colleagues and to provide integration between our enabling functions and the frontline services of our organisation. 

Scotty Evans

Hautū Te Pou Hanganga, Matihiko | Infrastructure and Digital 

Scotty Evans

Kia ora koutou katoa

Ko Scotty tōku Ingoa

Ko Evans te whānau

Ko Towy tōku awa

Nō Wales me Scotland ōku tīpuna

Ko Brecon Beacons te maunga

Tēnā Koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

I’m Scotty Evans, Hautū Te Pou Hanganga, Matihiko | Infrastructure & Digital. I’ve led the development and growth of successful teams in several organisations in the public and private sector, grounded in an engineering background.

What drives me to be the best leader I can is creating a work environment in which kaimahi feel valued and able to see the value of the mahi they do. It’s important to me to help our kaimahi grow and develop their skills while delivering great advice and solutions to schools, their communities, and the Ministry itself.

I enjoy seeing projects progress from concept to delivery. In particular, I am immensely proud to see students and teachers take pride in facilities and services we have delivered that support better educational outcomes. I think this is something we all aspire to for kids today and in the future.

It is exciting to be part of the future of a Ministry with a unique service delivery offering. We’re extremely lucky to have the benefits of a strong delivery line with digital, transport and property under one umbrella. Bringing together these three pillars with wider Ministry colleagues, working collaboratively as one – I believe will contribute to our role of enabling the success of Te Mahau. 

Zoe Griffiths

Hautū Te Pou Rangatōpū | Corporate 

Zoe Griffiths

Nō Bridlington, Nō Yorkshire ōku tīpuna

Ko Yorkshire Dales te maunga

Ko Humber te awa

Ko SS Canberra te kaipuke o ōku tipuna

I whānau mai au i Hull

I tipu ake au i Kirikiriroa

I consider myself lucky that my family emigrated to Aotearoa New Zealand when I was four years old, and I am able to call this country home. I am proud to be a public servant and delighted to be the new Hautū - Te Pou Rangatōpū | Corporate group. Bringing people together, collaborating, and helping the Ministry achieve its strategic priorities through good systems, infrastructure and, most importantly, people, are what drives me.

My path to public service started with a career as a private sector lawyer. In 1992, I joined Child, Youth and Family, where I specialised in child protection law, inter-country adoption, and civil claims, and was appointed Chief Legal Advisor in 2003.

From there I held a range of senior roles at Ministry of Social Development before being seconded to act as Director of the Ministerial Inquiry into Novopay in 2013. I joined Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education a year later, as the Director of the Office of the Secretary, and was appointed Deputy Secretary of Business Enablement and Support in 2015.

I live in beautiful Tāmaki Makarau and, for the last 2 years, I’ve served as its Regional Public Service Commissioner, in addition to my Deputy Secretary role. As Commissioner, I supported collaboration across social, economic, and environmental agencies, and the development of shared priorities for our region.

I’m ready for new challenges as leader of the group responsible for delivering essential statutory and corporate functions for the Ministry, so our people can support the sector and ākonga.

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