Ko te tamaiti te putake o te ora – The child is the essence of our wellbeing

Brenda Ellis

Learning Support Specialist

Brenda joins Evaluation Associates as Learning Support Specialist and is based in Wellington. She has a deep knowledge of the learning support sector and is passionate about making a diffence to the lives and outcomes of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, particularly those students who are our priority learners.

Brenda supports schools, kura, early childhood centres, kahui ako and agencies nationally, to grow knowledge, capability and capacity, so that young people with additional learning needs can reach their potential, thrive and prosper. She provides professional learning and development for staff across a wide range of topics of particular relevance to the special education / learning support sector, assists in enhancing learning support systems and service delivery, and scope solutions wherever there are learning support challenges. Additionally, Brenda mentors, coaches and provides supervision to staff and is an experienced appraiser of senior managers and principals. Education policy development and evaluation is also an area of expertise and largely the focus for her recently completed Master of Public Policy qualification.

Brenda has worked for the Ministry of Education in learning support advisory and project management roles, in primary and secondary settings and in specialist schools. She has held a Lecturer in Special Education position at the Christchurch College of Education where she designed and delivered courses for adult educators working across the education, health, disability and welfare sectors.

Most recently, in her role as Tumuaki / Principal of Salisbury School, Brenda has skilfully led a national residential school marked for closure through many challenges over a nine year period. Initiating and leading transformational change, along with unwavering commitment and advocacy for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, has culminated in the school’s future being secured and an extensive building programme planned.

Brenda has an ongoing interest in the economics of poverty and inequality and the impact this has on young people. She strongly aspires to the notion of equity and excellence in education for all. She is a strong supporter of a number of organisations actively working across child poverty, mental health, youth justice and addiction services, as well as charities and organisations actively involved with the disability sector.

Brenda has a Master of Teaching & Learning degree (University of Canterbury) and a Master of Public Policy degree (Victoria University of Wellington). Additional qualifications specific to the learning support sector include postgraduate diplomas in deaf education (DipEOD) and in special teaching needs (DipSTN). She has published research in the area of challenging behaviour in inclusive classrooms.

Brenda is a keen writer and researcher, takes an active interest in social justice issues, reads widely, and enjoys keeping fit. She is a regualar attendee at education conferences, forums and Victoria University of Wellington School of Government forums and lectures. She loves foreign films, learning languages, cooking classical French cuisine and walking on Wellington’s wild South Coast.