Current Aitken Fellow

Bill Hubbard

 Working with the UACEL team in 2016/2017 has been an intensely rewarding chapter of my education career - every day has represented a steep curve of growth and stimulation. 

- Bill Hubbard,
Deputy Principal of Rosehill College

Past UACEL Associates

Ngaire Ashmore

 As a 2014 Associate at UACEL, I've learned a lot about my own leadership, particularly around the student-centred leadership model and its capabilities. I was exposed to research at a different level that I did not have as a practitioner. 

- Ngaire Ashmore,
former Principal of Tangaroa College, now Principal at Auckland Girls Grammar

Tom Webb

 It's been a very rewarding year and I've been seconded to the UACEL for the whole of 2014, and so taken a step back from being in a school and I think that moving back from your practice and giving yourself some distance has been one of the most rewarding things. Being able to look back at my own practice, my own leadership, and being able to analyse that without the day-to-day busyness of the school situation has been really important. 

- Tom Webb,
Former DP at Onehunga High School, now Principal at Mangere College


Primary or secondary position available for a year

This fellowship offers a one-year secondment or fixed term position and study opportunity for a principal, deputy or associate principal in a primary or secondary school.   The recipient will work within the University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership (UACEL) team to help build their own capability and that of other school leaders by working as an Aitken Fellow in our Auckland office.  The work involves:

  • Beginning or progressing your study or research in educational leadership at masters or doctoral level should you wish to do so
  • Contributing to UACEL courses and contractual work as a current, successful practitioner
  • Developing resources that ensure your influence continues after you leave

Suitable applicants will have at least a Bachelor degree (Masters preferred); knowledge of educational leadership research; evidence of previous successful principalship /senior leadership; credibility in eyes of the sector and evidence of strong networks; the analytical ability to identify issues and measure impact; and successful experience in facilitating the learning of adults.  You will need to be willing to travel, to be open to critical feedback and able to work independently.  Previous successful completion of an Open-to-learning™ leadership course via a Masters course or UACEL course is an advantage

This position will be Auckland based.  Send your application form, addressing the appointment criteria, your CV and academic transcript to Linda Bendikson at by 4pm on August 11th to apply.  Download the job description here

Timeline for Secondment – Aitken Fellow - Secondary or Primary


Advertise for one month via current GGL cohorts and Auckland networks, On-line in Gazette, Principal networks

July 28th

7:30am - 9:00am

Kohia Centre, 76 Epsom Ave

Aitken Breakfast.  This event will bring past Fellows together to share their experience.

Eventbrite - Aitken Forum: breakfast 

    Download Agenda    

August 11th

Applications close

August 18th

Notify shortlisted of interviews and those not shortlisted of outcome

August 25th

Interviews 12.30 – 4:00pm


Verbal referee checks

No later than September 4th

Outcomes notified to all candidates

Beginning 2018

Start Date

For more information please contact Linda Bendikson

Aitken Donors - Bruce & Donna Aitken

These fellowships are funded by Bruce and Donna Aitken in recognition of their family's long term involvement in education at all levels, inspired by their father and father-in-law, Alex Aitken, as a teacher and principal for more than 50 years and carried on by other members of the family from early childhood through to tertiary.  The fellowships recognise the value that Bruce and Donna place on leadership as the transformative element in improving education and educational outcomes.

Past Aitken Fellows

Kelly Slater-Brown (2015 Fellow)

Having a year at UACEL, away from the role of deputy principal at Stanley Bay Primary School, gave me time to reflect and redefine my personal view and understanding of student centred leadership.  The year also provided the opportunity to be immersed in quality research and practices on leadership in depth.  I was able to develop modules covering the areas I am passionate about, including using my research on quality practices when teaching mathematics, student voice and engagement, leading appraisal for student improvement and financial literacy for aspiring principals. When I return to a school, I am confident I will be able to lead student improvement with the tools I have gathered whilst being part of the Centre.

Stuff article on student-centred leadership as new principal of Bucklands Beach Primary School.

Tracey Dykstra (2016 Fellow)

Tracey Dykstra

 In my time at the Centre I have had the opportunity to work with the team on the presentation and development of the UACEL GGL modules. I found this to be extremely rewarding as it has grown my understanding of the theory and practices involved in School leadership and Improvement. I’m looking forward to contributing to future modules specifically around my areas of study - leadership of quality teaching in digital environments. 

- Tracey Dykstra,
Head of Teaching and Learning at St Kentigern College