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Board Members


Nadine Ballam

Nadine Ballam is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato. Her PhD research explored the lived experiences of gifted young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, an area of gifted education that she continues to explore. She also has an interest in risk and resilience, and talent development across the lifespan. Nadine is an Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Gifted Education (AJGE) and on the editorial board of APEX: The New Zealand Journal of Gifted Education. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students in the area of gifted and talented education and supervises postgraduate research.

She is co-Chair of giftEDnz.

Justine Hughes

Justine is a primary teacher and former Deputy Principal. She is currently relieving and completing practicum visits for trainee teachers while studying for her PhD researching gifted education in Aotearoa New Zealand.  She has taught all year groups from Year 2 through to Year 8 and has a passion for blended learning at all levels.

Justine completed her Masters in 2015 focusing on Communities of Practice. She also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning from The MindLab at Unitec.  Justine has a particular interest in teacher professional learning and development and government policy to meet the learning, social and emotional needs of gifted and talented children. She has previously been an Online Community Developer for TeachThought and Co-founder of TeachThought #reflectiveteacher chat and blog challenges with Beth Leidolf from Chicago.

Justine is the co-Chair of giftEDnz.


Jo Dean

Jo brings a mix of personal and professional experiences as an Early childhood teacher, parent, researcher and Professional Development facilitator. Jo believes in life-long learning and is currently a Doctoral candidate at University of Melbourne.

Jo is an active committee member of the regional CenGATE association in Palmerston North and has facilitated connections between early childhood education and primary schools, building a stronger networking community to support teachers, gifted children and their whānau/families.

Jo is a dedicated member of the GiftEDnz Association and a founding committee member of the Special interest ‘Early Years’ group.  As part of this work, a book was released in 2015 called “Giftedness in the Early Years: Informing, learning and teaching” By Margrain, Murphy & Dean.

Currently, Jo’s role is Deputy Chairperson for giftEDnz.

Tracy Riley

Tracy Riley is Associate Professor and Dean, Research at Massey University in New Zealand. She is the former inaugural Chair of giftEDnz: The Professional Association for Gifted Education and remains a current member of the Board. Tracy is Secretary on the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children and a director for SENG. She is also currently on the editorial boards for APEX: The New Zealand Journal of Gifted Education, Kairaranga, The Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, and Gifted and Talented International. Tracy was the recipient of a National Tertiary Teaching Excellence award in 2007 and the Te Manu Kotuku award for exceptional service and contribution to gifted education in New Zealand in 2017.

Tracy is currently the Treasurer for giftEDnz

Andi Delaune

Andrea Delaune is an early childhood teacher and researcher who has worked in many areas of early childhood education. As an educational researcher, Andrea wrote an MEd thesis entitled Gifted education for infants and toddlers in Aotearoa New Zealand: An insight into exemplary practice. Currently, she is working towards a PhD focusing upon the relationship between the teacher and the child within the early childhood context. Andrea is a mother of two young children who inspire her to be a better educator and person every day.

Andrea is currently the Secretary of giftEDnz.


Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth is a secondary school teacher of; English, Classical Studies, Social Studies and Media. Currently, she is the Director of Gifted & Talented at Shirley Boys’ High School in Christchurch. Which can be described as “a lot of testosterone in a small space”. Passionate about the place of female educators in single sex environments, she is a contributor toBroadly Speakingand details her journey as a kiwi teacher of Instagram.

Elizabeth completed her Masters of Specialist Teaching (Gifted & Talented) in 2017 and is currently completing her SPELD Teacher training in order to better meet the needs of 2E and neurodiverse learners. Elizabeth has a strong passion for empowering educators to be specialists within their classrooms and is Gifted Aotearoa facilitator for Waka Tīwai: Learning Together, which is a series of four regional hui for educators to network and collaborate together as a community of learners, growing regional capability to meet the needs of gifted learners. She is also part of the Gifted Advisory Group for the Ministry of Education and an active leader in her Kahui Ako. In 2018 she presented at ULearn on “Utilising NCEA to meet the needs of Gifted Learners”, and will continue to take every opportunity to support Kiwi teachers through professional learning and development.


Karen Keppel

Karen has a personal and professional interest in advocating for the needs of gifted and twice exceptional children and teens, particularly reducing the risk of misdiagnosis through thorough assessment and facilitating positive identity development in gifted individuals.  
She is an occupational therapist and director of a paediatric service specialising in identifying and supporting the needs of gifted and twice exceptional children and teens, particularly at the beginning of the diagnostic process.  Karen has worked in a number of mental health and addiction services along with providing neurorehabilitation services.  She utilises this experience, along with the use of sensory integration and general physical rehabilitation skills, to assist children and teens to develop positive strategies to manage any challenges they experience related to their giftedness or second exceptionalities at home, school or the community. 
Karen hopes to be able to ensure policies and services support children and teens to understand their giftedness and twice exceptionalities, and develop sustainable strategies to ensure they thrive throughout their child- and adulthood.  

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