Who's on our National Executive

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Dr Darius Singh

President

Dr Darius Singh has over 20 years' experience in executive management including five years’ experience in dealing with TEC (Tertiary Education Commission) and MOE (Ministry of Education) on various issues via his previous position as Professor in Technology Management. He is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors, is a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management and has previously served on a number of private and public Boards.

Darius and his wife, Nikeeta, own and operate the multi-award winning Chrysalis Group, which among other services such as business mentoring, governance and innovation management, comprises a handful of childcare centres in Tauranga, Auckland Central, Auckland CBD, and West Auckland. Since they founded the Group in 2011, they have won several prestigious awards to date, including "ECC/Telecom Innovation" award for their patented invention - “Roots & Shoots”, "Gold NZ Commercial Building" award, "Preferred ECE provider" award to several multi-national companies, and "Best Emerging Business" award. Darius says "..these awards are easy compared to raising three young children!"

Darius is passionate about effective governance and best practices in education management, teaching and learning, and in particular, innovations in these areas. Over the past seven years, he has brought much of these learnings of best practices to the ECC committee and wider membership through network meetings and hosted events.

Lonnie Parker

Treasurer

Lonnie has been on the ECC Executive for the last six years and has served as Treasurer for five years.

Lonnie became involved in the childcare sector when she and her husband Ashton purchased a centre in November 2005. Two years later, they extended that centre and built a new one. Both centres are now inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood Education.

Lonnie has worked for a variety of corporates - airline, meat processing and newspapers, in accounting, IT and senior management roles. She is a qualified accountant and has a Masters in Business Administration degree. Her qualifications and experience mean she can bring strategic thinking and good governance disciplines to the Executive Committee.

In addition to the childcare centres, Lonnie and Ashton are involved in other sectors, including residential private hospital care of the elderly. They have two young sons – Jackson and Henry and six grandchildren.

Dianna Jenkinson

Secretary

Di has worked in the ECE sector for 17 years. For the majority of that time she has worked for a community based organisation as the ECE Manager. In 2016 Di and her husband, Darren purchased two centres within the Christchurch area. Di is hands on with the day to day running of the centres, supporting her Senior Leadership Team, while Darren is behind the scenes, building and extending the environments for the children.

Living and working in Christchurch during the earthquakes, Di has witnessed a change in culture within the Christchurch ECE sector. ECE staff, Directors, Centre Owners and people in governance roles are more committed to sharing of information, and are invested in creating a collaborative community of learners to benefit our children. This is exciting and there are more and more opportunities to see this strengthened throughout ECE.


Fitu Ah-Young

Executive Member

As an Executive Board member, it has been a busy time of learning and understanding the dynamics and challenges of ECE services. I count it an honour to be the first Pasifika person, appointed to the Executive Board of ECC, representing Pasifika and other groups of ECE services across the breadth of New Zealand. Fully committed to supporting the development of successful ECE services for the benefit of all children.

Starting out as a husband and wife team in 2002, our eldest daughter had just turned 1 years old, it was at this time, we were looking around for a ECE service to take her to enrol, and we started to take more interest in quality Early Childhood learning. We began our journey, with one (purpose built ECE service at Taita Central Primary School grounds, licensed for 32 children, which we have grown to a 50 children licensed service. Over a 20 year journey, we have worked with several Mama’s to retain their legacies of establishing ECE services to transition to a new generation of Pasifika leadership. We shared a vision to foster a strong emergent leadership in the ECE sector and employing Pacific indigenous knowledge to mobilise the voices of Pasifika peoples in constructing understandings of leadership in Pasifika ECE in Aotearoa New Zealand. E vave taunu’u le malaga pe tātou alo va’a fa’atasi – our destiny is within sight when we paddle our canoe together!

We now operate five (5) high-quality purpose-built ECE facilities, fully equipped, resourced and licensed services in Wellington and Auckland. Valuniu Fitu Ah-Young, holds a Bachelor of Education Adult Education from Massey University and a Master in Educational Leadership from Auckland University of Technology (AUT). He is a Director, of Solve Education Ltd, trading as Pasifika Early Learning and a Director of Empower Management Ltd trading as Solve Consult. Both Directorships, are engaged in operating licensed ECE services working with children from multicultural backgrounds and working in a specialised ECE consultancy offering support and guidance for Pasifika and mainstream ECE services. My roles are mainly focused in governance, professional learning and development and mentoring senior leadership and head teachers of Pasifika Early Learning.

Annabel Sloss

Executive Member

I live in Christchurch with my husband and five teenagers.I own eight centres soon to be nine, all within the Canterbury Region.I am a trained Early Childhood Teacher with a Diploma of Teaching and current registration.My career started 30 years ago in a privately owned centre in Christchurch, from there I moved on to run a community centre in Darfield for eight years.I am passionate about Early Childhood Care and Education and have since established many more centres to reflect the community each one is situated in, ensuring high standards of quality are maintained for children and their families/whanau.

I thrive on new challenges and have set myself many over the past 30 years, my journey is still evolving and I am in a growth phase with my own business which will continue for many years to come.

Connie Rowe

Vice president

Connie is the Secretary and Employer Representative for the Kaurilands Kindergarten Board, in beautiful Titirangi, West Auckland. She brings the important perspective of the not-for-profit sector of early childhood education to the ECC Executive. Connie has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications and general management, the last five of which have been gained in a local government setting. She would bring broad communications experience, which includes engagement and consultation skills, to the Executive along with her drive for excellence and continuous improvement. Connie’s day-to-day role managing the lead staff at her centre means she has a deep understanding of the challenges, and equally the opportunities for the sector. Having two small children means Connie is in touch with the needs of parents and caregivers accessing early childhood services. Connie considers herself a lifelong learner and would welcome the opportunity to learn alongside others in the sector how we might continue to serve the interests of our tamariki.

Hamish Davidson

Executive member 

Hamish’s family owns and operates, Puddleducks’ Nurserys, Preschools and Montessori School in the Manawatu for the last 18 years. A true family business with all family members having had active roles in the operation, caring for over 220 children and employing over 60 staff. Hamish has a diversity of governance experience, including membership of the Institute of Directors and an understanding of the business challenges we all face dayto-day. Married to Natalie, Hamish has two children, Archie (10) and Mac (8). He enjoys coaching kids sport, being passionate about supporting their education, further educating himself, restraining the couch when any NZ sports team is on the TV, as well as enjoying New Zealand’s great outdoors. Hamish also enjoys meeting people and hearing their life stories, challenges, and achievements. Hamish is young, hard-working, enthusiastic, ready to listen and learn and commit to the ECC Executive.

Michelle Tod-Bosch

Executive member

Michelle is an experienced ECE operator, with two Auckland-based centres. Michelle has a strong mix of both education and business experience, initially as a fully registered Primary teacher, followed by 15 years as a Human Resources consultant, serving a variety of business and government clients. Having always had a love of education, Michelle decided to retrain 10 years ago, completing a Post Graduate Degree in ECE, with the aim of combining all her career strengths and interests; business and education to become an ECE Teacher and centre owner. Michelle is married to Adrian, who is actively involved in the business. They have three children, who regularly help out during the weekends in the ongoing battle of maintenance and improvements! The family are active outdoors people and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Since becoming a centre owner Michelle has used the ECC’s services regularly and strongly believes in the value the ECC gives centre and business owners.

David Gibson

Executive member



Margie Blackwood

Patron

Margie has been in the early childhood field for over 20 years. She is a New Zealand General and Maternity Nurse, and worked for 10 years at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland. She attended Manukau Institute of Technology, where she completed a Certificate in Social and Community Work. University followed, with a degree in psychology and education, during which she married and had the first of four children (now all adults). After her husband became very ill, she began working for Barnardos, caring for children in her home. This evolved into early childhood training and the establishment of a childcare centre. Since then she has opened a second centre, completed Montessori training through London and an Intermediate Certificate in Counselling. Margie is also involved in a charitable work in the northeast of India. She has facilitated the establishment of a medical centre for the poor, which has been operating for over 10 years. Each month, hundreds of people (70% of whom are children), who would otherwise be neglected and remain sick, receive free treatment and vaccinations at this centre.

Allan Wendelborn

Patron

Brian Elliott

Patron

Brian Elliott