Accredited Facilitator (English-medium)

Region: Otago/Southland
rachel mcnamara 1


2013 National Aspiring Prinicpals Programme - Te Toi Tupu
2011 Masters of Education - University of Tasmania
2006 Diploma of Educational Management - University of Otago
2006 Certificate of Educational Management - University of Otago
1999 Diploma of Teaching - Dunedin College of Education
1999 Bachelor of Education - University of Otago

Professional profile

Rachel is a facilitator and mentor with specialist expertise in innovative curriculum design and implementation (including collaborative teaching and learning), learner agency and engagement, whole school re-visioning and digital fluency for learners and teachers.
Rachel’s extensive experience of mentoring and facilitation is underpinned by her ability to:

  • carefully consider where teachers are at in order to support them to shift their practice
  • use provocation tools to gently shift practice or ask critical questions around how and why teachers plan, make decisions about learners and deliver curriculum
  • support staff to reflect on the effectiveness of their curriculum design, planning and delivery
  • provide practical classroom and curriculum support - supporting teachers to come up with fresh ideas and supporting them with appropriate tools and resources for the classroom
  • model effective classroom practice using new tools and resources.

Rachel’s flexible and responsive facilitation and mentoring encourages teachers and leaders to seek opportunities for learners to be creative, to problem solve, and to identify and share their own thinking. She helps teachers to enable learners to do more of their own thinking.

Rachel seeks to build positive relationships as a key part of leading teachers to improve their practice. She enables this by supporting teams to identify their combined strengths, to understand their own communication styles, and to collaborate utilising styles and strengths to succeed.


  • Acting Principal – Elmgrove School (2013)
  • Deputy Principal / Curriculum Design Leader – Elmgrove School (appointed 2007)
  • ICT Facilitator – Taieri te Awa ICT Cluster of nine Dunedin schools (2004 to 2006)

Rachel also has expertise in the following areas:

Knowing and Living the NZ Curriculum

Supporting curriculum integration and fostering learner agency through enabling learner voice, choice and creativity. Encouraging teachers to think about wider possibilities for enabling learner agency through use of the front half of the curriculum and curriculum integration.

  • Working to support teams to address issues in their curriculum design and delivery
  • Reviewing how teaching timetables work to address goals for learners
  • Provoking thinking for change in the way we teach and learn 
  • Redesigning learning programmes (e.g. literacy programme redesign, curriculum integration)
  • Supporting teachers to align their curriculum practice to the school vision
  • Enabling choice and voice for learners in classroom learning activities
  • Using the Arts to promote engagement with the curriculum (with a particular strength in Music).

Rachel’s Master of Education research in learner agency looked at student engagement from the perspectives of emotional and intellectual intelligence.

Redesigning school visions

Supporting leaders, whole school staff and communities to review what they value in order to re-design the school vision.

  • Uses ways to develop understandings about learner and parent values, bringing these together to redesign the vision
  • Ensuring that the redesigned vision is lived in everyday teaching and learning
  • Ensuring vision and learning programmes meet the needs of students’ futures.

Digital Fluency

Utilising large resource banks to support schools to implement aspects of the Digital Technologies curriculum, through to building digital fluency. Much like learning to read leads to reading to learn: learning to use digital technologies well leads to using technology to learn.

  • Building digital fluency in both staff and learners
  • Matching tools and resources to specific teacher and learner needs
  • Supporting teachers and leaders to recognise the difference between digital technologies and digital fluency
  • Helping staff to make technology work for them and their learners (so that learners can find information and/or demonstrate learning).

Building teamwork and communication capabilities

Successfully building teams to work together effectively through the application of a range of tools and resources. Outcomes are that teams:

  • focus on communication skills to create opportunities that build trust, comfortably challenging and critiquing each other more, both personally and professionally
  • set goals, are able to hold each other accountable, and show commitment to the team
  • utilise individual strengths to benefit the team and create a learning environment for all
  • know each other and feel like a great team.

Personal statement

I am enthusiastic about working with teachers and students to build strong relationships that enhance a love of learning and enrich wellbeing. I believe in the importance of focusing on communication and engagement to extend learning in all areas, for students and for teachers.