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Bronwyn Baxter, Laura van Leeuwen and Brandon Amoamo

Brownyn Baxter

I have very fond childhood memories growing up on the West Coast of the South Island with my parents and two older brothers. We forged a track through native bush to get to our kura each day...going down was immense fun but the end of the day was always a good challenge.

I studied at university, with a passion for psychology, people and culture. I based myself in London working as a social worker in Child Protection for a number of years and as often as I could, I would travel to experience and immerse myself in different culture.

Aotearoa was always going to be where my Tamariki would call home and I returned to raise my two beautiful sons with my husband in Whangamata. I completed my grad dip in teaching and shortly after began my teaching career at Whangamata Area School. In 2018 I became SENCO and in 2019 moved out of the class and into more of a learning support role for our kura working with our ORS students, Reading Recovery and SENCO. I was then appointed the LSC position for 2020. This is my 10th year at Whangamata Area School and I am continually grateful and privileged to be part of a strong and supportive group of teachers and management team. We are making progress in our learning support journey and I look forward to many positive developments throughout the years to come.


Laura Van Luuewen

The LSC role ensures that children and young people with mild-to-moderate, neurodiverse, or high-and-complex learning support needs receive the appropriate help when they need it. Working collaboratively with teachers, whanau and services to achieve positive outcomes for the one in five children and young people who need extra support for their learning.

The cluster of schools I will be servicing are, Opoutere, Hikuai, Tairua, Whenuakite and Coroglen Schools and surrounding ECE within our COL. Kia Ora my name is Laura van Leeuwen.

As your LSC I will be weaving my passions of inclusive education and my motivation to engage and share ongoing professional learning under the priorities guiding our role as Learning Support Coordinators. I bring with me a background in Early Childhood, Primary and ESOL education. With my most recent experience as Resource Teaching for Learning and Behaviour during which time I completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching through Canterbury University.

My strengths and areas of focus to date include; Mindfulness, art & Lego therapies, Big Picture Education, Universal Design for Learning, Trauma Sensitive & Restorative Practices and Play Based Learning. Identifying and accommodating exceptional & twice exceptional learners, breaking down barriers and creating awareness and support for our learners with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ASD tendencies.

Brandon Amoamo

Ko au ko koe, ko koe ko au, inā whai mana ōrite te katoa.
(I am you, and you are me, when equity is shared by all)
I was born and raised in Invercargill but hailed from families who, respectively, were followers of the pacifist prophets of Parihaka - Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, and the East Coast warrior prophet – Te Kooti Rikirangi. I also have British ancestors who came here to fight Māori and ended up marrying and fighting with them.
I have taught several ‘subjects’ in mainstream, bilingual and full immersion settings, from primary school to NCEA Level Three, in New Zealand, in Aotearoa (two distinct realms by my reckoning, that may one day merge their realities as the ‘Tiriti’ and ‘Tuia’ capacity of one of them increases in magnitude) and in the Cook Islands.
In addition to meeting the learning diversity needs of our students I see the ‘LSC Māori’ position as an opportunity to address the chronic historical neglect of the kaupapa Māori learning needs of our taitamariki. Why? To ensure their great-great-great grandchildren party like its 1999 in 2269 at Tuia 500. They will have earned the right to do so having mastered the ‘ins and outs’ of:
 this nation’s dual heritage, whakapapa, identity and shared values;
 our nation’s respective voyaging and STEAM traditions;
 the settlement and spread of our iwi and tauiwi tīpuna;
That will be a party where they can say in truth, ‘He iwi tahi tātou’ (We are now one people).

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