President's Welcome

Deidre Shea

Welcome to the SPANZ website which we hope you find useful; please let us know of any suggestions in order to make it more so!

SPANZ offers quality professional learning opportunities and supports strong, collaborative relationships across our sector and between sectors. It also plays a unique and important role in the New Zealand educational landscape. It is a privilege to serve as President.

SPANZ is the only independent organisation representing secondary principals. The executive comprises practising principals, which means we are firmly grounded in the realities of our roles. Our voices are critical as contributors to the future of New Zealand education.

Our mission is to support secondary principals, now and into the future. We work to develop and maintain strong and effective professional relationships with relevant people and organisations - including the Minister and Associate Ministers of Education, the Ministry of Education, NZQA, the Teaching Council and ERO - with the aim of influencing policy development and implementation. 

SPANZ is in fact two separate organisations, SPANZ Professional of which I am the president, and SPANZ Union, which is led by Scott Haines.


SPANZ Professional has three main functions:

  1. Legal Support - Our partner for SPANZ Legal Support is HarrisonStone. If you are a member of Legal Support, you can access advice and guidance from Richard Harrison and Gretchen Stone. Details are in the Legal section.

  2. Professional Development - The core part of our professional development function is the annual SPANZ Principals’ Conference. This is an opportunity for principals to connect with colleagues, to listen to and engage with world class speakers, and discuss current issues. SPANZ also provides a Principals’ PA’s Conference which supports our PA’s in their work, which in turn supports principals.

  3. Professional Representation - Most of the executive’s work is in representing principals:

  • We meet regularly with the Minister and/or Associate Ministers of Education, Secretary for Education and Deputy Secretariat, NZQA, ERO and the Teaching Council. These regular meetings enable us to develop strong working relationships, raise issues and work proactively to help shape and implement policy.

  • We represent principals on a wide range of advisory and working groups.

  • We ensure that the voice of secondary principals is heard in public debate and forums. Principals have a unique perspective on educational and social issues that affect young people and it is vital that we are represented in multiple forums.

  • We are here to support principals - if you are having a problem, let us know.

Deidre Shea
SPANZ President