Our incredible educators are...
Teaching in gifted education brings continued variety that builds on my previous experience in education. I have trained and taught as a primary school teacher, having senior teaching roles and moving into a Deputy Principal position. I have also enjoyed being involved in a range of learning environments including home education and tutoring roles that has allowed me to work more closely with individual learning styles.
I live on a lifestyle block with my husband and 3 children (the eldest is at University.) I enjoy developing gardens, caring for our livestock (including two goats with big personalities!) and I have a passion for cooking.
Ko Jess tōku ingoa
Ko Coombe tōku whanau
No Feilding ahau
engari kei Ngamotu e noho ana
Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Rangatikei te awa
My name is Jess and I am so excited to have the opportunity to work at the Head Office.
I have had a wonderfully diverse career working in Film and Television, Health Promotion and now teaching. I absolutely love being a teacher. I am excited to be an educator at the Head Office to empower and support young minds so they can reach their potential.
I am an international relations scholar with research expertise in public international law. I gained my first teaching experience at the University of Queensland teaching under- and postgraduate courses on international relations and politics as well as mentoring postgraduate students in political science.
Originally from Germany, our family moved back to New Plymouth a couple of years ago with our two young girls.
I sincerely enjoy working with primary school aged children, especially building their enthusiasm for and interest in lifelong learning skills as well as continuing to learn myself.
'Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!' – Dr. Seuss
Believing in all children and helping to instil confidence, a sense of pride and a growth mindset in their own abilities and self-worth is my daily goal as an educator. Every child has something special to offer and it is our collective role to help discover, support and develop these journeys. I am super excited to be a part of The Head Office and to be working with neurodiverse minds and advanced yet complex students – a particular interest of mine that has drawn me back to this role from an earlier association with the Taranaki Gifted Community Trust. I have been a primary teacher since 2005 and taught in Wellington and New Plymouth. Born and raised in Taranaki, my husband and I returned to the region to raise our own family. We have three children who are all at various stages at primary, intermediate and high school. Wearing a ‘mum hat’ as well as an ‘educator hat’ helps me to bring another level of understanding and empathy to my role. Learning about neurodiversity and catering for various learning needs has always been a personal interest and I look forward to delving further into these areas. In my free time I enjoy reading, gardening, cooking and spending precious time with my family and friends exploring and experiencing all that our region has to offer.
Student Coordinator & Education Assistant
Originally from Sydney, I studied Psychology at Macquarie University before spending time travelling and working overseas. I’ve been living in New Plymouth for over 7 years now and am a mum to 3 school-aged children.
With a strong interest in education and learning, I have enjoyed varied and interesting roles including working with International students in London, working for the College of Surgeons in Melbourne, teaching English to migrants, and have most recently been involved with early childhood education as a member of New Plymouth Playcentre following the philosophy of parents as first educators.
I joined the TGC Trust in June 2020 and am excited to be a part of such a passionate and dedicated team.
I grew up here in New Plymouth and in 2016 moved to Wellington to start studying a Bachelor of Performing Arts with a specialisation in Dance and Circus. Once gaining my qualifications I was fortunate enough to secure myself a life on the road touring New Zealand with different Circuses.
I returned to New Plymouth last year, and very quickly found myself back in the Dance studio teaching. I have enjoyed every moment of this and being able to share my skills and passions with others.
I am very excited to be working with the team at Head office this year.
I live in New Plymouth with my husband and between us we have a blended family of 5 children and 3 gorgeous grandchildren with one on the way. For the past 11 years I have worked as an office manager at an after school tuition centre in New Plymouth but have had many years experience working as a teacher aide in both Wellington and Hawera schools - which I loved!
I'm excited to be part of the Head Office team and to be working once again alongside and with children.
Behind the scenes magic is performed by...
Kia Ora! I am very excited to be part of the amazing, passionate team here at The Head Office.
My role as Operations Manager is to support our incredible educators and learners and ensure the day-to-day is running smoothly. This includes health & safety, human resources, class resource and facilities management, event coordination, grant compliance, policies and procedures and more.
I am a founding member of the TGC trust and have had the privilege of being part of this awe-inspiring team, working with the board of trustees side by side as the trust’s activities grew and evolved. I have a rich background in HR, organisational design and quality improvement, and have been involved in the local community throughout the years.
Beyond the Head Office, I am a mother of three amazing humans (including one TGC programme graduate and one current Head Office student), a partner, daughter and sister. I am also a proud ex-Playcentre mum. I love nature, hiking, and SUP, as well as reading, spending time in my edible garden and watching a good movie.
Fundraising and Evaluation Consultant
I am originally from Germany and came to Taranaki in 2014 after spending several years in London with my Kiwi husband.
My background lies in visual arts, I have a BA in Cultural Design and an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy. In London I worked as a Grants and Research Officer for a music charity that funds music education projects for young people facing challenging circumstances. After many years of supporting funded projects and assessing funding applications I'm now working as a Funding and Evaluation Consultant. I really enjoy supporting New Zealand charities to help them evaluate and demonstrate their impact and apply for funding.
Originally from Germany, I immigrated to NZ in 2004. After a brief stint in Christchurch I arrived in New Plymouth, where I met my husband and ventured off with him to Scotland. We returned 4 years later, expanding our family and enjoying the lifestyle New Plymouth has to offer. When I am not working as an accountant I enjoy the outdoors, mountain biking or hiking with my family.
Our Board Members are...
Chairperson & Treasurer
Raised in Taranaki, I studied Law and Commerce at Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law. My husband and I travelled widely after university, and I have been fortunate to have worked in a number of countries, with a varied career mostly in Accounting & Systems Analysis, giving me a strong diversity of skills. Once we had children, we found the pull to come back to Taranaki and family irresistible. We are co-directors of local consulting company CodeFluent Limited, but I have been in the fortunate position of giving my family priority when considering career options and am grateful to be able to contribute to our local community. I am a Trustee of the Taranaki Toy Library, and a founding trustee of Flourish Taranaki Community Trust, as well as joining the Taranaki Gifted Community Trust Board in 2017.
My amazing family inspires me daily and I have seen my children benefit first-hand from the amazing work that these Trusts do. It is humbling to work alongside such hard-working, selfless people who work to enrich the lives of children, their whanau and our local community.
CEO & Trustee
Originally from Germany, I feel lucky to call Taranaki home since 2008. I have a background in Economics and Tourism Management and am a parent of two gifted children. I am very familiar with the highlights, struggles, frustrations and failures that can come with the gifted label and am passionate about advocating for the needs of exceptional children in our community.
I am a founding member of the Taranaki Gifted Community Trust and CEO of our organisation. I am also President of the local branch of the NZ Association for Gifted Children (Taranaki Explorers).
In my spare time I love to read, enjoy going to the movies and am a keen runner (although a slow one). Kia ora!
Born in Auckland and raised in New Plymouth I worked in the oil and gas
industry until having my two children, now both school-age. Following a
stint studying business I again work full-time.
I have first-hand experience of the challenges facing our advanced, yet
complex, learners and I look forward to bringing my management systems and
continuous improvement skills and experience to The Head Office to support
this incredible team providing much-needed services across Taranaki.
Having grown up in Scotland and spending some time travelling and working around the world, I landed in New Plymouth with my husband in 2005. We have two children who were born in Taranaki.
It is a privilege to be a Trustee at TGC with this incredible group of dedicated parents and educators in an ever-evolving area of empowering neurodiverse children and it is very exciting to be involved from the beginning in the expansion of the Trust to include dyslexic children.
I am an accountant and I look forward to bringing my financial skills to help shape and grow the Trust to enhance the wellbeing and super strengths of all our neurodiverse children.
Our Advisors & Committee Members...
Learning Support Coordinator/Committee Member
Kia ora i te whānau, My name is Kate Fergusson. I have had the privilege of being on the Taranaki Gifted Community Trust Board of Trustees for two years. I have been working in the educational sector for thirty years, both as a primary teacher and more recently as a Learning Support Coordinator. I was born and bred in rural eastern Taranaki, and although I spent sixteen years away from Taranaki, it is the place I returned to raise my whānau of six children. Two of my older children were diagnosed by an Educational Psychologist with Giftedness early in 2003 (and attended the George Parkin One Day School in Tauranga for a period of time before returning to Taranaki), which gives me the double insight of the blessings and challenges of giftedness from both a parent’s and educator’s perspective. I have a strong interest in the Hau Ora/Wellbeing of Gifted (Advanced Yet Complex Needs) children and in fact, all neurodiverse children. I believe we still have many strides to take in nourishing and nurturing these individuals in our society so that they can reach true potential and contentment. It is pleasing to be a part of a community that strives to educate and support the people surrounding our gifted individuals, as well as providing a safe haven for our gifted children to find their ‘tribe’ and learn more about themselves.