Te Kete Hono Team

Judy Newcombe - CEO

Judy Newcombe is our CEO. Judy has worked in a range of roles as a university lecturer and sociology researcher, management consultant, senior manager in Tower NZ, Telecom (now Spark) and Fonterra as well as in leadership roles in the education not for profit sector. She has served on the Boards of Competenz and Stonefields Collaborative Trust. Judy is driven by the aspiration for children to flourish in an equitable society and by the opportunity to support the growth of Te Kete Hono as a sustainable social enterprise contributing to improvements in learning outcomes for all of our students.  

Emily Ruffell - SchoolTalk Innovation Lead

Emily has worked on the development of the SchoolTalk app since its conception in 2015. Today her role focuses on overseeing the running of the app to ensure it is implemented and maintained effectively. The role of the SchoolTalk Innovation Lead enables Emily to support teachers, learners and parents while making teaching and learning more effective and efficient. 

Prior to becoming the SchoolTalk Innovation Lead, Emily was an Associate Principal at Stonefields School, where she enjoyed supporting teachers to grow in their practice through designing rich and relevant learning opportunities, growth coaching, and evaluating impact. 

Jana Benson - Professional Learning & Development Lead  

As our Professional Learning and Development lead, Jana works with teachers and schools to establish and develop a shared language of learning and believes this is fundamental for learners’ agency and their assessment capability. 

Jana has extensive experience of working with schools in areas of learner agency, local curriculum development, writing graduate profiles, evaluation of teacher impact, digital learning, AfL, and leading/coaching collaborative inquiries. She is passionate about learner agency, and has actively pursued this in leading a Kahui Ako Achievement Challenge, leading a TLIF project, and in her doctoral study.   

Jason Colman - Lead Technical Support

The go-to guy for all things tech; Jason is a pivotal member of the Te Kete Hono technology team. 

Jason draws on his experience as a Teacher Aide to support users and work on the development of new technology. Through teaching, Jason used SchoolTalk every day as a user and he says he saw first-hand how it empowered teachers in their day to day practice.  

Traci Sietu - Facilitator, Lecturer, Mentor

Traci is an MoE Accredited PLD Facilitator who works alongside leaders, teachers and organisations to support and shift current practices and pedagogies. A dedicated and passionate advocate for continued learning, Traci is experienced across all PLD priority areas and works with individuals and communities to establish successful outcomes for learners. 

Traci fosters a community of practice through her experience and interest in developing collaborative practices while fostering the cultural narratives and journey of each person and organisation. Traci’s approach extends beyond the school to help ensure learners have the necessary support to do their best learning. 

Louise Mitchell - Executive Administrator  

Louise joined Te Kete Hono as administrator in July 2022. With a background in travel  also in the charity space, she brings her exceptional organisational and administration skills to the team, and assists with arranging professional development workshops, and helps with the growth of the SchoolTalk client base around New Zealand and further afield. She says she is excited to be part of the growing TKH team and is enjoying learning so much about the education sector.  

Rachael Sutton - Digital Marketing Manager 

Utilising her background in journalism, communications, and digital marketing, Rachael handles all the digital marketing for Te Kete Hono and SchoolTalk. 

Rachael has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector, and brings a creative and dynamic approach to the table to amplify our brand messaging and identity. 

Ilya Fedorov - Head of Technology 

Ilya is our Head of Technology and one of the original co-founders of SchoolTalk. He has over 20 years experience in software development and team management in various industries. He is passionate about education, product development, and creating efficient teams. 

Ilya makes sure the Te Kete Hono team has all the technology support they need, and the relevant processes and tools in place to achieve excellence.  

Yana Shumilova - Principal Engineer

Yana is our Principal Engineer and one of the original co-founders and developers of SchoolTalk. Yana has over 20 years of software system engineering under her belt in the most demanding and critical areas of business. 

Passionate about education, cleverly designed technology, and test-driven development, she will not rest until all quality checks turn green. 

Natasha Shumilova - Support Developer 

Natasha is a former student of Stonefields School and now works as our Support Developer. She knows first hand how a great school environment makes the difference for learner experiences and progress. She looks after support queries and develops improvements to our systems. 

Natasha is passionate about pair programming and mobbing, and is determined to get results so our systems run at their best. 

Bob Miller - PLD Facilitator and Data Analytics Lead 

Bob supports a variety of kaiako, kura and kāhui ako to analyse their impact on values and capabilities that have not traditionally been quantified such as agency, hauora and engagement. He is passionate about the power and potential of data to inform and drive change in education, and also supports educators to make greater use of their traditional data sets. 

Bob also has extensive experience in leading and developing rich learning design and the creative use of digital technology. He supports a number of teams to develop pedagogy that is purposeful, holistic and inclusive.  In addition to working with Te Kete Hono, Bob is also an across school lead for Te Rōpū Pourewa and an Associate Principal at Stonefields school.