The Board

Our current Board Members are:

  • Alex Winter (Presiding Member)
  • Gillian Ardern 
  • Zeena Bode
  • Matt Robertson
  • Svend Hansen
  • Principal: Mr Fintan Kelly
  • Staff Representative : Mrs Sue Kandasamy

All of New Zealand's state and state-integrated schools have a school board which is the Crown entity responsible for the governance of the school.

The board:

  • ensures every student can reach their highest possible standard in student achievement
  • is the employer of all staff in the school
  • sets the school's strategic direction in consultation with parents, whānau, staff, students and the wider school community
  • is responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance and administration

Board membership

At Pakuranga Heights School, our Board is made up of:

  • The Principal of the school
  • One elected staff representative
  • Five parent elected trustees
  • Co-opted trustees (as needed)

Trustees are elected by the parent community and staff members. Elections for parent and staff trustees are held every three years (next elections in 2025).  A by-election can occur at any stage in the 3 year election cycle if an elected trustee resigns from the board and thereby creates a casual vacancy.

Board Meetings
Boards typically meet once a month between February and December. Meetings are open to the public, however, they are not public meetings where everyone has the right to speak. Speaking rights can be granted in advance by the Board Chair. Sometimes parts of Board meetings are closed to the public when the board is discussing confidential matters.

BOT members are also involved in Board sub-committees which meet as required to discuss issues. Recommendations from these meetings are presented to the full board for approval.

Can I get involved?

Standing for the Board is a great way to get involved in your child’s education. Training and support are available to make carrying out this responsibility easier.

Elections are run every three years and in order to stand for the board you must confirm that to the best of your knowledge you are eligible to be a school trustee. The website of the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) has and excellent website with lots of great information for current or potential trustees.

If you are interested in standing for election, a good idea is to talk to a current BOT member. You may also like attend a couple of BOT meetings to get a better idea of what goes on at the meetings and about the responsibility involved.


Meet the Board

Alex Winter

I am standing for the Pakuranga Heights School Board. I have two children at Pakuranga Heights – my son Liam is Year 4 and Hannah started this year as a Year 1. My wife Amanda previously served as PTA Secretary in 2016 and 2017. We’ve lived in the area since 2011 and I work as a Senior Product Manager in Mt Wellington. I coach kid’s soccer at Fencibles during the winter and cricket in the summer at Pakuranga Cricket Club.

I am standing for the School Board of Trustees as I am passionate about the importance of education and about Pakuranga Heights as a community of students, teachers, support staff and parents. I have been impressed with the school since the very first time Amanda and I came for a school visit before Liam started in 2015 – this is a fantastic place that brings together so many people of different backgrounds and embraces them all with positive values and with a goal of having our kids leave both improved and inspired. I am proud to be part of this community and what it stands for and I feel I have the skills, knowledge and background to assist in improving and strengthening it. 

My working career has given me extensive experience in planning and strategy, resourcing, funding, people management, large scale projects and working with lots of stakeholders. I enjoy being part of a team with a common purpose and am able to take the lead when it is necessary to get things done. I’m a good communicator and a person who seeks the best outcome in every situation. These are the sorts of skills and attitude that will allow me to make a positive contribution to Pakuranga Heights as a Board Member. My goal is to be part of a Board that ensures that Pakuranga Heights School as an organisation of teachers, support staff and facilities is in the best possible position to ensure that every child that walks through our gates has the opportunity to grow, improve, learn and be inspired every day.

Gillian Ardern

I am very excited to join the Board of Trustees at Pakuranga Heights School in 2022. We currently have two boys at Pakuranga Heights and our daughter will start Year 0 in 2023. My husband, Andrew, teaches Mathematics and Statistics and is a Dean at Sancta Maria College in Flat Bush. 

Born in South Africa, I moved to NZ in 1994 where I completed my high schooling in Wanganui and Rotorua before moving to Auckland to complete a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Management.  I have a long career in Sales, Marketing and General Management in the Tourism, Events, Loyalty Marketing, IT and Sports Licensing industries. I currently work in a Projects position for our church in Auckland.

I have served as the Secretary of the PTA since 2020 and been involved in many fundraising and social activities and events for the school. My husband coaches a Junior Pakuranga Heights Soccer team that plays at Uni Mount Football Club.

I am interested in digital technology and the impacts it will bring for the future of work and education and have recently completed a Postgraduate certificate in Human Potential for the Digital Economy. I have lived in East Auckland for over 20 year and am very proud of Pakuranga Heights School. I am excited to offer my skills and abilities to help make the school the best environment for our community and children.

Zeena Bode

I was born right here in Auckland, but grew up in South Africa, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. When my family moved back to NZ, we eventually settled just down the road from PHS where my Mother still lives. I studied forensic pathology at Auckland University and then went on a completely unrelated path to establish my own custom wedding cake business which I ran successfully for over a decade (I currently run this business casually).

In 2015 I became an Executive Personal Assistant and in 2017 I took on an extra client. The hours are exhausting, the pay is illegal, but they’re cute, they make me laugh, they taught me patience and understanding and have helped to shape me into a better person because of their existence. These two ‘clients’ currently attend PHS and are a part of my strong desire to support the students, parents, staff and board in ensuring that the school continues to deliver high quality education in an inclusive environment and for me to have a beneficial impact towards paving a path of opportunities to grow the future generations.

Matt Robertson

Pakuranga Heights has been part of my family’s life, and I want to help it all I can. My son Calum enjoys the mix of high expectations and high pastoral care, and my wife is one of the dedicated teaching staff and specialises in literacy. I have previously played an active role in the PTA and I am currently a serving member of the Board of Trustees. 

I work in stakeholder and communications management, dealing with local communities, elected representatives, businesses, and iwi to ensure infrastructure projects are a success. 

The last few years of covid have been tough as we all know, but the entire school community pulled together as it grappled with the problems.  

Pakuranga Heights’ success is a combination of a great staff, great parent and great management, all supported by their community. Combine them and we get great kids. 

Pak Heights kids are special – they have character, love to have a go at challenges and support each other, and the school’s positive attitude has a lot to do with that. We saw that during lock down. 

Key to getting through the last two years has been staff spirit, and as the husband of a staff member I am very aware of the challenges teachers have to deal with, and the vital role Pakuranga Heights’ positive culture has in maintaining standards. The positivity of the staff room doesn’t stay there – it follows the teacher into the class room and then comes home with the kids. 

We need to keep that culture strong and continuing to develop great young people. 

More than anybody those young people have borne the brunt of lockdown, and need a supportive school. We need to place a high emphasis on ensuring the school is a happy and supportive community so it can be a great place to learn. 

Svend Hansen 

Kia Ora to the Pakuranga Heights Community. I am proud to represent you on our school’s board of trustees. I come with a lot of relevant experience, having previously been a primary school teacher, and holding number of corporate and non-profit roles in the education sector. I have been on local school boards since 2019, having always had the desire to give back to my local community. I am really excited by this opportunity to again do more! As a member of the board, I will be hoping to make a difference in workload and wellbeing of students, teachers, and school management and ensuring that there is always room for ‘fun’ in teaching and learning. I have a personal interest in science, technology, and internet safety.

I believe that positive relationships are the most important factor in a young person’s education; those with their teacher, and those which anchor them to their community. My daughter started at Pakuranga Heights in 2022, and my son is a couple of years behind her, so I am hoping that during my time on this board I will be able to help build some of those important relationships for my family, and hopefully yours too!