Elected Board Members
Karen Keppel, Co-Chair
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.
Andi Delaune, Co-Chair
Andi Delaune is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha, University of Canterbury. Andi's is a passionate social justice advocate, seeking equity for individuals who are underserved by educational systems. Andi's Master of Education thesis explored perceptions of giftedness for children under the age of three, and her PhD thesis supports an attentive approach to education that seeks to see and respond to the individual child. As an early childhood educator for almost 20 years, Andi has extensive experience in educational settings that she draws from to improve educational policy to support excellence in early childhood educational experiences for children.
Jo Dean, Treasurer
Jo brings a mix of personal and professional experiences as an Early childhood teacher, parent, researcher and Professional Development
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 Treasurer for giftEDnz
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 World Council and International Liaison
Carrie VanderZwaag, Membership Officer
Kia ora! Ko Carrie Vander Zwaag tōkua ingoa. I am an Aotearoa New Zealand secondary educator with 15+ years of teaching experience and fervent practitioner and researcher in, and advocate for, gifted education. My passion is empowering teachers to provide feasible, authentic, diverse engaging learning opportunities that meet gifted tamariki needs within mainstream classrooms without increasing teacher workload. I bring current researcher and secondary practitioner skills and knowledge to the giftEDnz board member.
My PhD research at Massey University engaged rural Aotearoa teachers, students and whanau to co-create culturally responsive differentiated secondary science curriculum using mixed methods action research. I currently teach flute to students of all ages, STEM classes at Lake Taupō Christian school, serve as a gifted education specialist teaching tutor at Massey University, and work as a co-researcher with Assoc Prof Tracy Riley on a TLRI differentiated teaching and learning research study.
I have served as a student representative on the New Zealand Association of Research in Education (NZARE) Council and NZARE science education co-converner. Research/Education awards include the Royal Society of New Zealand Delegate to Japan's HOPE Meeting with Nobel Laureates, Royal Society of New Zealand Primary Science Teacher Fellowship and National Geographic Research Teacher Fellowship Facilitator. When not confined to my COVID-19 bubble, I can be found playing in local funk bands and orchestras with her trumpeting husband or exploring the moana and maunga of Taupō with her whānau.
Co-Opted Board Members 2020
Elizabeth Wilson, Secretary
Elizabeth Wilson is a strength-based educator driven by educational equity for neurodiverse learners. She believes in an education system where all young people are supported to thrive.
Elizabeth completed her Master of Specialist Teaching(Gifted) in 2017. Elizabeth works to empower educators to be specialists within their classrooms and is Gifted Aotearoa Waka Tiwai facilitator and Casual Education Consultant for the New Zealand Centre of Gifted Education (NZCGE). Her greatest learning to date has been the impact she can make for kiwi kids at a governance level. This led her to the Gifted Advisory Group for the Ministry of Education where she contributed to The Learning Support Action Plan 2019 - 2025 which sets out priority actions that “will make the most difference, to ensure that children and young people get the right support, at the right time”. In 2020 Elizabeth was awarded a Boma NZ Education Fellowship and is currently developing an app that will help Neurodiverse students "hack NCEA".
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”.
Marlene has always been an advocate for differently-abled learners and diverse needs to be better served within the education system. She has been involved in educational initiatives and organisations including serving on the New Zealand Principals Federation as an executive member, a founding member of the Koha Kai governance board, and the Director of enrich@ILT. Marlene was the Convenor for the highly successful I Love Teaching conferences held in Invercargill Bi-annually, receiving generous sponsorship from the Invercargill Licensing Trust to provide world-class professional development for educators from ECE, Primary & Secondary sectors. In 2009 Marlene developed a community partnership with the Invercargill Licensing Trust to provide specialist gifted education in a collaborative initiative involving 22 contributing schools. Marlene is currently employed at the one day school providing specialist Gifted education in a teaching team five days a week. Her special interest is still in supporting successful pathways for our Neurodiverse learners and their families. Marlene is a strong and passionate advocate for Gifted education in Aotearoa.