Introducing Dr Cheryl Stephens

Cheryl Stephens cropIt is our great pleasure to welcome Dr Cheryl Stephens as our new National Commissioner for Education. Cheryl is of Te Arawa and Taranaki descent. She has more than 35 years’ experience in the education sector in primary school, teacher education and tertiary teaching. During this time she has assumed a large number of executive management, leadership and governance roles, including as Director – National Institute of Māori Education, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi; Board member of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research; and Council member of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Cheryl brings a strong background in Māori education and research.

Cheryl shared some thoughts with us about education and her new role. 

What attracted you to the Commissioner role?

I have an extensive background in governance, management and leadership of organisations and see the commissioner role as an opportunity to contribute to both national and international UNESCO priorities.

What do you hope to bring to the role?

This is an opportunity for me to make a contribution to UNESCO through my extensive education networks and in particular Māori education and research.  

What issues in education would you most like to see highlighted in New Zealand and around the world? 

Human rights of access to education, environmental issues. For example, access to clean water; and rights of indigenous people and communities to use their language, culture and knowledge.