2020 STEAM Education Summit

Applying STEAM as interdisciplinary learning in the classroom

19 - 20 Oct 2020Ellerslie Event Center, Auckland
Event Details
International Keynote Speaker

Tony Donen


STEM School Chattanooga

Dr. Tony Donen has worked for over 15 years as a high school principal. Originally born in South Africa, Tony grew up in Canada and then the United States, where he graduated from high school in New Jersey. Tony received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Virginia Tech University, a master's degree in teaching from East Tennessee State University, and his doctorate degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. Tony is the founding principal for STEM School Chattanooga and is committed to helping improve STEM education throughout the country. Since the inception of the STEM School, the school has become a national leader in STEM education. The school has been recognized by America Achieves as one of thirty schools worldwide denoted as a "World-Leading Learner School", the MIT Fab Foundation for prominence in digital fabrication STEM education, and the Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner as a model for the rest of the state. Tony has led professional development for innovative leadership throughout Tennessee as one of the lead principals for the Innovative Leaders Institute for school leadership teams. In 2018 Tony was awarded the Tennessee STEM Innovator Award. The Tennessee STEM Innovator Award is the highest STEM recognition in Tennessee and recognizes a Tennessean that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the support of STEM education and outreach. This awardee is a leader that identifies, supports, and promotes innovative teaching practices. The success of this awardee serves as a catalyst for STEM integration across the state and nation.
Your Chair

Heather Kluit

Lead STEAM and Digital Technologies Teacher

Flanshaw Road School

Heather Kluit, is the lead STEAM and Digital Technologies teacher at Flanshaw Road School. For the last 4 years, she has led STEAM professional development across a cluster of seven schools, which has transformed engagement, expertise, and the expectation of teachers. Heather has completed a Postgraduate Diploma with Mindlab in 2016 and has recently completed a Masters Degree in Contemporary Education. From this began the passion for incorporating creativity across the curriculum and providing authentic situations for students and teachers to develop a wider skill base and began a shift in her direction to STEAM. Heather is now developing the provision of authentic opportunities, linking with industry bodies so students can engage with the wider community, their environment and develop a deeper understanding of key skills needed for their future.

Chantelle Rich

Year 3/4 Teacher & Learning Leader

Oteha Valley School

Chantelle Rich, a Year 3/4 teacher and Learning Leader at Oteha Valley School, has co-led a Teacher Led Innovation Fund (TLIF) project about STEAM across a cluster of six schools. Her passion lies in incorporating creativity across the curriculum to meet the diverse learning needs of students.

Jessie Robieson

Learning Innovation Specialist

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Before working at Te Papa, Jessie spent 5 years as an Intermediate teacher in Wellington. It was here that she began to think more critically about the education system, and the way that it made students think. She began to combine her love for technology, video games, learning and thinking outside of the square to get students to engage with learning in different, more meaningful ways. Now, at Te Papa, she is able to pass this knowledge on to other teachers and learners who are beginning their journey into 21st century teaching, project based learning and disruptive pedagogy.

James Morris


Darfield High School

James has worked as an educator in secondary schools for over 25 years having served in co-ed state schools in Auckland, Wellington, and Nelson regions. For the last 11 years, he has been the Principal at Darfield High School in Canterbury. James is Chairperson of the Secondary Principals Council and a member of the NCEA Professional Advisory Group."

Christine Hansen

Lead Teacher ICT & STEAM

The Gardens School

Christine is the Lead Teacher of ICT and STEAM at The Gardens School. She has spent the last 12 years slowly growing her digital capabilities and introducing a BYOD programme. They are a full Apple environment and now have BYO iPad in Years 5 -8. Year 4’s have a school supplied device and the junior school have shared devices to use. Her school pushes towards STEAM and the implementation of the new digital curriculum journey started in earnest two years ago with the move into their new ILE (Innovative Learning Environment) after a full rebuild. A large number of staff completed the Mind Lab course in 2016 and have used that learning to adapt and refine their teaching pedagogy. This new school is a cool place to work. The collaboration and shared vision to give students the best possible to support them in their journey in an unknown future is exciting. To provide authentic opportunities, the Gardens School is designing community curriculum and using inquiry. Their latest community initiative is the Garden to Plate programme, so students can engage with the wider community, their environment and develop a deeper understanding of key skills needed for their future.

Patisepa Tala’imanu

Lead Teacher Senior Maths & STEAM

The Garden

Patisepa is Samoan-born, NZ-raised and have been teaching in South Auckland for almost 19 years. She has mostly taught Y4-8; but over the last two years, she was a STEAM Specialist who taught across the school (Y0-8). She is the Lead Teacher Curriculum Development at The Gardens School and the In-School mentor for Alfriston Kahui Ako. In 2016, 17 of the teaching staff, including Patisepa, completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning) through MindLab, and with two other staff members having completed it the year before. This was a great way to initiate mass growth mindset within the school. Over the last couple of years, a team has been working on an inquiry into how teacher can continue finding ways forward to better integrate STEAM and Digital Technology, as well as build teacher capability, across the school. The Gardens School is a great place to learn and work, collaboratively and globally. They encourage students to use both digital and non-digital tools to make new ideas a reality, and to design and create solutions to problems in an innovative way, so as to share within the community

Karla Sanders

Digital Trainer

Using Technology Better

Karla Sanders is a Digital Trainer with Using Technology Better as well as the CEO and Co-founder of multi-award winning youth led bullying prevention charity Sticks 'n Stones. With nearly 20 years teaching experience across 3 countries, Karla is passionate about student agency and meaningful integration of STEAM and Digital Technologies. Karla has worked in Digital Technologies since 2010 when she started with one of the regional ICT PD clusters and is also a Google Certified teacher and innovator.

Shelly Green

HoLA of Technology

Kaitia College

Shelly grew up in the Bay of Plenty and attended an all-girls high school. She was unable to take wood or metal work as they were not offered at her school. She spent her teens in low paid employment, traveled overseas for her big OE, meet an Icelandic man and spent the next 8 years traveling between Iceland and New Zealand, raising her children. On returning to New Zealand she decided to return to school and complete a degree in Design and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary). She completed her first two years teaching in Motueka and the rest of her teaching life has been in Kaitaia. She is the HoLA of Technology, BOT staff Rep, Health and Safety committee member and in 2018 was given the opportunity to put together a STEM program for students to participate in 2019.

Nicole Brown

STEM Specialist & Digital Pouahi

Milford School

Nicole has taught in a range of school settings including International Baccalaureate, special character, UK and NZ mainstream schools.  She believes that embedding STEAM throughout the curriculum maximises opportunities for authentic learning.  The inquiry-based model she employs allows tamariki to pursue their interests and engage with real world contexts to promote student agency.  Nicole co-leads the Auckland Primary STEAM PLG with the aim of connecting like-minded professionals to enhance access to resources and knowledge in this area. Leader of Digital Technologies at Milford, she has led staff development and the implementation of the new curriculum.  Striving for future focused learning, Nicole aims to increase digital fluency among ākonga as well as support teachers to seamlessly incorporate DT.

Kendall Parkes


Arahoe High School

Kendall is currently in her third year of primary school teaching and has a strong interest in STEAM education. She attended the 2019 STEAM Education Summit as a beginning teacher and has since worked alongside her colleagues and Auckland Zoo to create a Year 4 STEAM group at her school.

Andrea Howard


Arahoe High School

Andrea has taught in the primary sector for the last 19 years and is a member of her school leadership team. She has an interest in Gifted Education and is responsible for the organisation and implementation of programmes to meet the needs of the gifted and high achieving students in her school.

Sue Meltzer


Kadimah School

Sue Meltzer has been in Education for over 30 years. She is the Principal of Kadimah School, a state integrated school in the Auckland CBD. They are an innovative school around environmentalism, sustainability and STEAM based subjects.

Claudia Grey


Ako Space

Claudia joined the Akospace team in 2017, and today Ako is in its third year, as a vibrant nature and play-based full primary school on Auckland’s North Shore. The importance of education focusing on values and competencies was first realised to Claudia in her time studying Science and Maths at university. She has then trained as a primary school teacher, bringing her passion for learning through curiosity, discovery, and practical experiences into her role. Claudia is part of re-imagining learning spaces so that we better nurture children’s learning and development as they grow.

Andrew Churches

Head of Faculty- Technology and Design

Kristin School

Andrew is an innovator and educational visionary, working to develop a framework for teaching and learning in the 21st Century. Andrew Churches is a classroom teacher and an ICT enthusiast. He passionately believes that to prepare our students for the future, we must prepare them for change by teaching them to question and think, and to adapt and modify. He teaches at Kristin School on Auckland’s North Shore, a school with a technology program that encompasses iPads in its classrooms throughout the younger years, and a comprehensive BYOD program in the senior years. He is also a curriculum tutor for teacher trainees at Auckland University of technology, the Vice President of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation, and coauthor of several books including The Digital Diet, The Apps for Learning Series, Mindful Assessment Assessing the fluencies, Growing global digital Citizens and the best-selling book, Literacy is Not Enough. In 2009, Andrew was a finalist in the Microsoft Distinguished Educators Awards. He has been a member of the advisory board for the Australia and New Zealand edition of the Horizon Report, the only secondary/primary school teacher on a board of 32 educational experts.
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