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Commissioner Appointment and Update from Outgoing Board Chair and Executive Principal

27 Sept 2022

Commissioner appointed for Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand

You may be aware that Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand ran its board election process in July and August this year and was unable to form a board (see Board Election Update).

We referred this to the New Zealand Schools Trustees Association who worked with the Ministry of Education to determine next steps. It is a legal requirement for schools to be governed by a Board or a Commissioner.

The Ministry identified that as the current Board had signalled their intention to resign at the end of this term, a Commissioner would be the best option for our school while the establishment of a new Board takes place.

A Commissioner takes the place of the Board and all its responsibilities. It is not a permanent option but provides stability and continuity while enabling us to look at our current governance structure and reflect on the best way forward for the school.

The Ministry has appointed Michael (Mike) Rondel as Commissioner of Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand, effective from today, Tuesday 27 September.

On behalf of the outgoing board, we welcome this decision as Mike brings considerable governance experience alongside an in-depth knowledge of Ko Taku Reo. Since 2018 he has been involved with the Board as the Limited Statutory Manager – Property and Finance.

As Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand is a large and complex organisation, providing a nationwide school alongside a diverse range of integrated outreach services around the country, Mike will appoint a representative Advisory Group to support and guide him in his role.

I want to assure you that the appointment of a Commissioner does not change anything for our students – everyone at Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand remains committed to providing the very best learning opportunities and education pathways for our Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners.

Mike Rondel will be introducing himself to you shortly in another update.

We are confident that this is a positive step forward for the school and will set it up for a strong and positive future.

Denise Powell
Outgoing Board Chair

Message from the Outgoing Board Chair and Executive Principal

[Denise Powell] Over the last 12-18 months, the Board has been talking with the Ministry of Education about the status of our organisation.

The Ministry of Education gradings for schools range from U1-U16, that is a very small school to the largest secondary school.

At Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand, our situation is much more complex than the current grading for our school which is U5 – this grading is the same as a medium sized Primary school.

Coincidently, in the last week we have received a final response from the Minister of Education saying that Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand will remain at a U5 grading for the foreseeable future.

And at this point I will hand over to James.

[James Le Marquand] One of the things that is clear in my journey in Deaf Education is that this organisation is one of the largest most diverse Educational organisations in the country.

We have over 400 staff that cover services in early childhood, enrolled school, outreach services, communications and resources, transition services, residential services, integrated specialist services and not to mention our Finance, HR and very large property portfolio.

The recent confirmation from the Minister of Education that there would be no change to the grading of Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand has meant for me, my continuation is untenable.

Very sadly, I announce my resignation from Ko Taku Reo - Deaf Education New Zealand. My last day of work will be the 18th November 2022.

On a personal level, I am gutted and affronted by the confirmation of our U5 status, considering the size and importance of my role and our organisation, but also, I am gutted for Deaf Education, for the non-recognition of our complexity and our work to date.

We deserve much better than this from our Ministry of Education, I will continue to advocate for Deaf Education in whatever role I find myself in in the future.

I need to reiterate that it is a coincidence that it is happening at the same time that we have an appointment of a Commissioner. I am fully behind this appointment as it is a stepping-stone for us in working with the Ministry of Education to enable the development of a fairer and higher level governance for this complex organisation.

I wish our Commissioner and all those who will be supporting him all the very best.