The Team

Our team have a strong background in organisational learning and leadership. We have considerable experience working in the education sector and are able to match best practice approaches to educational development.



Tony Burkin

Director – Leadership and Learning
B.SocSc Economics (Hons), Dip. Teaching, Grad.Dip.Business Human Resource Management

Without meaning to Tony has over the last decade developed specialist expertise in growing school leadership in ways expediting the development of schools as Professional Learning Communities.

Transitioning from Teacher to Head of Department, Dean and Deputy Principal over 14 years in a range of schools, Tony learned first hand how remaining effective and positive in positions of leadership progressively became more difficult and frustrating. Completing Post Graduate studies in Human Resource Management to get to the bottom of these dilemmas it came as a shock to learn that he was a big part of the problem!  Specifically his thinking.

After working with HR professionals from outside education Tony came to appreciate how schools are no different from other organisations.  The challenges of getting the best out of other adults, leading change, developing organisational culture and transforming schools into Learning Organisations (Professional Learning Communities), are he believes, Human Resource issues more than educational ones. “The core business is very different but human psychology remains the same – people are people – we all share the same flaws”, he says.

Tony has presented at conferences and works in schools and educational organisations in New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.  He enjoys particularly in-school development programmes because they provide enormous scope for real cultural change to evolve and allow leaders to develop the influence they have always desired.

Listen here for a podcast of Tony speaking about Leadership and Professionalism.


John McLellan

Director – Professional Development
B.Ed. (Hons), M.Ed, Dip. Health, P.E. and Recreation, Dip. Business Administration

John has had extensive working experience in the education sector, as a school Principal, lecturer in education and inspector of schools.  For 14 years he worked in Teacher Education as lecturer and senior lecturer at Palmerston North College of Education.  He lectured in the Professional Studies Department for 4 years, specialising in the psychology of learning and teaching, assessment and evaluation, and school administration.  Managing the teacher development contracts and strategic planning during his last 6 years for the College has given him an excellent background for project and performance management.

In 1994 John spent a year in England at Wolverhampton University lecturing in Education and Human Resource Management.  Whilst there he investigated quality management approaches used by service organisations; with a number of primary and secondary schools moving into ISO 9000 accreditation John was able to track their progress.  John is Director of InterLEAD Consultants and head of professional development.



Ailsa Evans

Education Consultant
B.Teaching (Early Childhood)

Ailsa is dedicated and passionate about developing others professionally and promoting excellence in early childhood care and education.  With over 23 years in the early childhood sector she has extensive experience in teaching, leadership and management positions.

Her genuine interests and strengths are Curriculum and Environment Design, Leading Effective Operational Systems, Highly Effective Internal Evaluation, Building Leadership Capability and Empowering Teachers through Robust Mentoring.  Ailsa is focused on establishing relationships and enjoys meeting a variety of teachers and leaders within the early childhood sector.  She believes in listening to the needs of teachers and leaders and then developing personalised professional learning to enable learners to reach their highest potential.

Ailsa works across Auckland and within the Bay of Plenty region where her network continues to grow.


Hayley Wassung

Education Consultant
B.Teaching (Early Childhood)

Having over 10 years’ experience as a Centre Manager Hayley has a strong knowledge base in relation to both the learning and organisational conditions that will ensure the best learning outcomes for tamariki. She has well developed knowledge in relation to creating and implementing effective management systems to stay at the forefront.

A key area of expertise lies in building and maintaining positive, professional relationships and Hayley believes that this is the key to a successful centre.

Hayley is passionate about promoting and designing leadership opportunities within teams, and inspiring others to promote continuous learning, reflection and growth.

Hayley currently facilitates leadership and personal development programmes for early childhood teachers, leaders and managers in the Canterbury region.



Judith Price

Education Consultant
B.Ed., Dip. Teaching (Primary), Dip. Teaching (ECE)

Judith brings to InterLEAD a wealth of leadership experience in the education field, both from an early childhood and primary school perspective.

Judith is very much a ‘hands on’ person and a strong advocate for firstly understanding theoretical components and then being able to apply these strategies in a practical sense within the learning environment.  With over 15 years experience in leading teams of teachers, Judith has highly developed relationship management skills and relates easily with others.  She is committed to developing others to their full potential and very passionate about guiding teachers on their ‘lifelong learning’ quest.

Judith has particular strengths in leading others through the process of change, such as the new curriculum.  She has had experience working in EHSAS projects, team building and in developing school visions, values and growing the key competencies. Judith is based in Wellington.



Karen Hayward

Education Consultant
M.Ed., Dip. Educational Management, Dip. Teaching (ECE)

Karen has significant skills in the early childhood education sector – both as a teacher and consultant.  With 20 years of experience working alongside teachers and governance personnel across a wide range of early childhood service she has developed a broad knowledge base in relation to effective leadership and management skills.

Karen is passionate about inspiring leaders to strive for excellence.  She enjoys being in a mentoring role with teachers supporting them to embrace the challenges within the changing education landscape and is a positive communicator who establishes relationships with others easily.

Karen currently facilitates leadership and personal development programmes for early childhood teachers, leaders and managers throughout New Zealand.



Liz Depree

Education Consultant
M.Ed., Dip. Educational Management, Dip. Teaching (ECE)

Liz has had extensive practical experience in early childhood.  She has a strong
interest in adult education including coaching, mentoring and facilitating leadership development programmes.

Liz has particular strengths in supporting teachers and leaders through change.  Her people skills enable her to encourage others to realise their own growth potential as well as build strengths in curriculum and team leadership.

Liz currently facilitates leadership and personal development programmes for early childhood teachers, leaders and managers throughout New Zealand.


Melody Stuckey

Education Consultant
Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching ECE

Melody’s Educational Leadership comes from a diverse perspective due to the privilege of working at Governance, Management and at Tertiary level.  The diversity of her background supports her to provide leadership and clear direction within the Early Years Profession.

With recent Centre Management experience Melody is well aware of the current pressures within the sector.  She enjoys supporting leaders and teachers to navigate these challenges to ensure children come first in all our decision making.

Melody’s strong relational approach helps build trust and respect to enable others to be the best they can be.

Melody currently facilitates leadership and personal development programmes for early childhood teachers, leaders and managers throughout New Zealand.


Sonja Ploeg

Education Consultant
B.Teaching (ECE) (UNITEC)

Sonja is joining the InterLEAD having had considerable experience in the early childhood sector over the last 20 years including teaching in both community-based preschools and kindergartens.  This has enabled her to develop a wide range of teaching and leadership skills.     

She has a strong knowledge base related to: strengthening and embedding Internal Evaluation and Professional Growth Cycles to promote teacher-led inquiry; growing pedagogical capability and documentation that reflects a localised curriculum; building leadership knowledge and skills to sustain collective leadership and professional community and; developing effective communication strategies to build a positive team culture built on high trust relationships.

A key strength that Sonja brings is in establishing and maintaining authentic professional relationships as she works alongside leaders and teams.  Her passion is mentoring others and providing ongoing professional learning and development for those who aspire to seek excellence.

Sonja works in the Auckland and Waikato region.


Stephen Hensman

Education Consultant
B.Ed, M.Phil (Distinction), Dip. Teaching

For over thirty years, Stephen has been immersed in secondary education, commencing as an English teacher, and ending as Principal of Taradale High School in Napier.  Always future-focused, he has played a variety of executive roles at regional and national levels.

While initiating considerable school improvement initiatives in the role of Principal, Stephen came to realise that he was lacking the research-based knowledge to get the best from them.  Hence, he commenced a journey of investigation that developed his understanding of the theories of change management.  At the same time, Stephen became an accredited Phase 4 Coach to improve the quality of his conversations with school leaders.  This combination of a theoretical framework for organisational change, with the skills of conducting strategic conversations, makes him an asset for any school undertaking self-review to solve knotty problems or to create a fresh vision.

For many years, Stephen taught courses on Middle Leadership in schools for Massey University.  He teaches a set of skills that leaders at all levels can learn that will make a tangible difference on their impact.

Driven by what’s best for others, Stephen employs a warm, relational approach, using close listening and effective questioning to solve the hardest problems.


Tahu Loper

Education Consultant
B.Teaching (ECE), Grad.Dip Education, Dip.Teaching (ECE)

With over 15 years ECE experience, both in New Zealand and abroad, Tahu brings a practical, approach to leadership, teaching and learning.  With reciprocal relationships being foundational to his own personal pedagogy, he finds his bicultural approach a natural and pragmatic way to achieve this.

His strengths are in building relationships and creating a sense of whanaungatanga.  He believes allowing kaiako to craft a shared vision upholds the mana of our tamariki.  In addition, he believes that the strength of the team as a whole comes from recognising and complimenting the passions, skills and talents that we find in each other.

Tahu currently facilitates leadership and personal development programmes for leaders and teachers across Aotearoa, New Zealand.


Jase Williams

Associate Facilitator – Trauma Informed Practice

Jase is a certified trainer in the Neurosequential Model in Education facilitated by the world’s leading childhood trauma expert Dr Bruce Perry.

Jase is passionate about sharing Trauma Informed Practice with educators and school leaders, interweaving his lived experience with neuroscience, mind-body connection awareness, through a Te Ao Māori lens – and relevant for ECE and mainstream education contexts.

Over 20 years experience in low decile primary and intermediate schools as a teacher, team leader, Assistant and Deputy Principal, and is currently Principal of Henry Hill School in Napier, Hawke’s Bay – Winners of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards – Wellbeing category.


Lynda Knight-de Blois

Associate Facilitator – Trauma Informed Practice

Lynda has over 30 years experience in education including leadership, evaluation and training.

She is an Advanced Trainer with the Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) and provides professional learning and leadership support which reflects Dr Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model and develops trauma-informed understanding and practice.
Lynda is passionate about working with schools and centres to support transformational leadership which results in enhanced learner outcomes in wellbeing, engagement, inclusion and learning.

Lynda is currently principal of Glenview School in Porirua East.



Dr Phil Ramsey

Associate Partner – Research and Learning

Dr Phil Ramsey is one of Australasia’s foremost thinkers in Culture, Systems Thinking, Leadership and Organisational Learning.  Phil has spoken at conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand, the US and Asia.  He has been senior lecturer for the last 12 years at Massey University and his work has been endorsed by Peter Senge, author of the seminal book, The Fifth Discipline.  Phil continues to lead systems thinking in this country.

Phil’s expertise lies around organisational culture.  He has led many organisations through the process of effective culture change.  One of his interests is the application of learning organisation principles to schools and educational institutions through conversation.

Participants in InterLEAD programmes consistently tell us our workshops live in their minds for a very long time – that they are some of the most worthwhile workshops they have ever attended.



Andrew Ormsby

Managing Director
B.Comm., VPM

Andrew has managed InterLEAD since its inception in 2001; he has used his considerable experience in both business ownership and management to expand InterLEAD’s services.

Andrew’s business skills have provided an ideal platform from which to grow InterLEAD and his ability to develop vision and strategy is a real strength for the Company.  Andrew currently holds a number of other private company directorships.



Emma Parker & Sarah Bisset


Emma and Sarah have a range of skills that enable them to seamlessly provide a wide variety of administration support to the InterLEAD team across the country.