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FOR MORE INFORMATION
Colin Donald,
General Manager UACEL

+64 9 623 8899 ext 48879
colin.donald@auckland.ac.nz

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Lead Facilitators

Our lead facilitators have considerable years of leadership experience and principalship in schools and continue to work and mentor leaders in schools today. While they are strongly research informed, they are also very pragmatic. They bring the hard-edged reality to the way they view and interpret research findings. 

Linda Bendikson has been the Director for The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership since 2011. Prior to that, Linda had 17 years’ experience as a primary school principal, and ten years as a regional manager in the New Zealand Ministry of Education. A lifelong educationalist, she completed her PhD studies at The University of Auckland in 2011. Her PhD research focused on the impact of principals and distributed leadership in 29 New Zealand secondary schools. Linda has led the development of the Growing Great Leaders™ suite of modules, which has now been delivered in New Zealand and is being promoted internationally. While strongly research informed, Linda’s work is grounded and pragmatic -­principles which she brings to Growing Great Leaders™.



Jacqui Patuawa is the Associate Director of The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership. Jacqui has more than 25 years of experience in education, over 16 years of these in leadership positions as both a Deputy Principal (four years) and as Principal of Welcome Bay, Firth and Te Karaka Primary Schools. She completed her Masters degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Waikato. Her thesis focused on the “Experience of Beginning in Principalship” from the perspectives of those who had been in the role for 3‐5 years. Jacqui has recently commenced studying for a PhD. She intends exploring the link between the quality of problem solving conversations leaders have with the teachers they are directly responsible for, and the subsequent impact of those on student outcomes.



Colin Donald is the General Manager for UACEL. He also supports and develops the Growing Great Leaders™ course. Colin has a background in senior education leadership spanning 25 years, including seven years as principal of King’s High School. In recent years he has led school reform and school leadership projects in the Middle East and completed contracts with the Ministry of Education and NZQA. Colin’s time in the First‐time Principals’ Programme includes mentoring a number of First‐time Principals, reporting the programme outcomes to the Ministry of Education, participating in the FTP regional seminar programme and being co‐Lead Mentor for the central south region. Within the Centre for Education Leadership Colin has responsibility for overseeing marketing activities and takes a lead role in promoting the Centre’s programmes to clients in the Middle East and Asia.


Richard Newton is a UACEL facilitator. Prior to this he was the principal of St Clair School, an urban, contributing, U5 primary school located in the seaside suburb of St Clair in Dunedin. He has been a principal for over 25 years, leading several schools from small rural through to large urban. Richard is a former Woolf Fisher Fellow and has been a First Time Principal Programme mentor for ten years. He is a past president and Life Member of the Otago Primary Principals Association and remains actively involved in several school leadership forums. Richard is recognised for his work with agentic pedagogies and modern learning environments. He is a regular presenter at conferences, seminars and tertiary level programmes. In the past Richard has served on several national bodies including the EDUCANZ Transition Board, charged with overseeing the transition of the NZ Teachers Council to the Education Council. Richard’s current experience as a strong educational leader will add to the strengths of the UACEL team and support the centre’s growth in New Zealand and overseas.