CORE's Team

Kathryn O'Connell-Sutherland

Accredited Facilitator (English-medium) and Early Years Manager


2012 MEd Massey University
2010 Post Grad DipEd (Early Years) Massey University
2000 Certificate in Management in Early Childhood Education
2000 BTchLn Christchurch College of Education
1997 DipTch Christchurch College of Education

Contact details


P: 0800 267 300

M: 021 910 217

Accreditation Number: ACC 1108

Region: Canterbury

Enquire Now
Kathyrn2 FS W 1

Professional profile

Kathryn is project lead at CORE Education for the implementation of the updated Te Whāriki (2017). Part of this role has been to recruit and lead 25 Curriculum Champions/Ngā Kaiāki Marautanga as they establish Early Learning Networks and work with Pedagogical leads to undertake curriculum inquiries. Kathryn is focused on building leadership and evaluative capability across the early years and is part of a new model that is re-thinking professional learning through collaboration, networks and a ‘teachers teaching teachers’ approach.

Throughout Kathryn’s career she has been a strong advocate for the early years and is committed to culturally responsive and authentic bicultural practices, personalised learning pathways, and thoughtful relational leadership practices. Prior to working at CORE Education, Kathryn worked as a lecturer and education manager. In both roles Kathryn visited, assessed and supported students, teachers/kaikao, and leaders in early years services in Christchurch and Canterbury. Kathryn’s most recent experience being six years in the kindergarten sector, involved contextualised professional development programmes and building leadership capability. Kathryn has developed effective quality assurance frameworks, professional resources and culturally responsive and collaborative practices.

Kathryn has strong governance skills through her representation as Council member for Te Rito Maioha and executive member of the Canterbury Chapter of NZEALs.


Kathryn has experience and expertise in the following areas:

Te Tiriti Responsiveness

He mana tiriti ahau – Kathryn is a committed Tiriti partner, respectful of the place of Māori as tangata whenua and always open, willing and learning. This includes:

  • building capability, cultural competence and tikanga-a-rua (biculturalism) through leadership and practice
  • developing culturally appropriate practices and frameworks for teachers and leaders
  • promoting identity, language and culture through relational pedagogy.

Early Years
With 25 years’ experience in teaching, lecturing, leading and management this has included:

  • development, review, delivery and assessment in tertiary education 
  • curriculum implementation and integration of domain knowledge focused on positive learning outcomes
  • quality assurance including Education Review Office and Ministry of Education standards and licensing requirements 
  • induction, coaching, mentoring and certification process for teachers 
  • co-developed and implemented an evidence based quality framework to review teaching practice.

Leadership learning and practice 

  • growing pedagogical leaders with personalized programmes through coaching and mentoring
  • leading forums and building communities of practice.

People capability and teacher profession

  • recruitment and performance management to support induction, competence, appraisal, and certification 
  • leadership and facilitation of cohesive teaching teams using effective conflict resolution processes
  • cultivating a culture of critical inquiry in high functioning, self-managing teaching teams
  • reviewed and developed a future focused appraisal system based on self-responsibility and accountability
  • developed bicultural programmes for teachers to grow cultural competence.

Share and transfer knowledge and expertise to ensure responsive curriculum and pedagogy

  • identify, develop and deliver ongoing targeted professional development
  • unpack and translate policy, new initiatives and research to clarify implications and implement recommendations - especially focused on National Evaluations (ERO)
  • designed practical tools and resources utilised by teachers across Canterbury to champion change, improvement and best practice in ECE pedagogy; teaching and learning strategies, planning, assessment and evaluation including resources on intentionality and learning continuity, ‘being evaluative’ and culturally responsive pedagogy for Māori. 

Cross sector collaboration
Following the Canterbury Quakes Kathryn was been involved in initiatives from the Christchurch Education Renewal plan:

  • active participation in Learning Community Clusters and Communities of learning | Kāhui Ako
  • ECE representation in the leadership executive for the Hereora Learning Community 
  • engaging in cross sector conversations, publications and presentation around the benefits of ECE involvement.


Penman, R. & O’Connell-Sutherland, K. (2015). "Fostering pedagogical leadership through peer mentoring groups". In Murphy, C. & Thornton, K. (2015) (eds) Mentoring in early Childhood Education: A complication of thinking, pedagogy and practice. NZCER Press