"It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to continuously develop our education system so that it will be adaptive, inclusive and responsive to the changes required to meet the needs of the future."

Deirdre McCracken

PLD Consultant - Christchurch office

Accredited facilitator for MoE-funded PLD - See Summary of Practice

Deirdre is an education consultant based in Christchurch. She works with schools in the following areas:

  • Science and chemistry education
  • Leading change using strategic planning and systems management
  • Mentoring and coaching school leaders and leadership teams
  • Student-centred leadership
  • Collaborative inquiry into teaching and learning
  • Culturally responsive pedagogies
  • Innovative learning environments
  • Practice analysis conversations – observation for learning
  • Assessment for learning pedagogy in teaching and leadership
  • Self-regulation strategies
  • Student achievement data analysis, including effect size shifts
  • Evaluative capability and data analysis
  • Curriculum review to promote an integrated curriculum Innovative learning environments

She has experience and expertise in facilitating professional learning and development with leaders and teachers in secondary schools. Prior to this role she held a position as head of the science faculty in a large secondary school, specialising in leading science and chemistry. 

Deirdre is one of the go-to people around developing the role of the secondary middle leader. She has actively developed her skills through the completion of masters level papers specifically linked to key aspects of her work, achieving a postgraduate diploma in Educational Leadership. She has spent considerable time developing her expertise in learning conversations and interpersonal effectiveness through role-play, practice analysis and literature reviews.

She has a sound theoretical knowledge of and practical skills in all areas of effective pedagogy. Her facilitation strengths include listening and responding in ways that support the change process, challenging thinking and nurturing leadership and teaching growth. She models best practice and the use of research-based and evidence-informed decision making. Practising what she preaches is important to her.

In her spare time Deirdre volunteers at her sports clubs, supports her children’s sporting, academic and career endeavours, works alongside her husband on home improvements and takes his hand as they begin their overseas travel.

Here are some of the schools Deirdre has worked with recently:

  • Ashburton College
  • Darfield High School
  • Hornby High school
  • Kaikoura High School
  • Motueka High School
  • Rangi Ruru Girls School
  • Twizel Area School
  • Waimate High School
  • Waitaki Boys’ High School


“Thank you for presenting a great workshop. You presented in such a way that we could celebrate our successes, reflect and did not feel judged about our areas that need improvement.” 

Middle Leaders workshop feedback, 2014

“Deirdre’s work with her schools is characterised with integrity and effort, and a problem solving approach. She is committed to student achievement outcomes, keeping this at the centre in her use of a Teaching as Inquiry approach. She has the courage to challenge teachers and leaders to shift their practice, and uses evidence as a lever to gain commitment.” 

Team Leader, University of Auckland, 2015

“I have greater clarity about my role [in leading teacher learning] and that of the Heads of Learning and how to engage them in PLD. A long-term plan to develop school-wide areas of weakness in teaching, and leadership as well as my own role in this, is emerging.

Deirdre has a readiness to listen, support and challenge, with excellent research evidence to back this. She has a clear understanding and application of inquiry into teaching and leadership. Deirdre is consistently positive and friendly in her manner.”

Senior Leader, Secondary school, 2015

 “There is a greater openness amongst staff and a willingness to look at why we do things the way we do. There is a new willingness to open our doors and welcome people into our classrooms - to encourage contribution and critical inquiry. Meeting agendas have a ‘learning focus’ and are planned in advance. There are better and more open relationships between staff. There are also more learning discussions in groups that look for shared solutions.

Deirdre used modelling of effective PL facilitation, encouraging us to ask the questions of ourselves and we in turn are now asking those questions continually. She modelled and guided us with the skills to have the difficult but respectful conversations about teaching and learning.”

Senior Leader, Secondary school, 2015