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Appointment of Chief Exec, Secretary for Education

Appointment of Chief Executive and Secretary for Education
Tuesday 18 July 2006

The State Services Commissioner, Mark Prebble, today announced that Karen Sewell has been appointed as Chief Executive and Secretary for Education, Ministry of Education. Karen Sewell is presently the Chief Executive and Chief Review Officer for the Education Review Office, a position she has held since 2001.

Mark Prebble says Karen Sewell has a proven record as Chief Executive of the Education Review Office and in various management, leadership and teaching roles in a State Services career devoted to education.

Karen Sewell has taught at schools in the UK and in New Zealand, including Onslow College in Wellington and Green Bay High School in Auckland. She has been the recipient of a teaching fellowship at Victoria University Wellington, a Nuffield Bursary at the University of London and has also been an Inspector of Secondary Schools for the Department of Education.

As Chief Executive of the Education Review Office Ms Sewell has managed a well performing organisation that has proved its value to the education system.

In June 2005 she was asked by the Board of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to act as its Chief Executive, and performed this role on leave from the Education Review Office for almost a full year. As Acting Chief Executive Karen Sewell demonstrated the ability to step into an organisation in crisis and to take firm control, and then rapidly devised a strategy for recovery and led its implementation. She managed the delivery of consistent results for the national examinations in 2005 and has established the planning for ongoing improvement in future examinations.

Mark Prebble says Karen Sewell has a good understanding of the issues facing the Ministry of Education and the wider education sector which will enable her to quickly understand its strategic issues and the education policy agenda.

“She is deeply committed to the value of education and to improving education outcomes for New Zealand children. She will continue the work underway at the Ministry to strengthen its performance, systems and future capability. Ms Sewell is widely known and respected in the sector, and by her colleagues in the Public Service.

"Karen Sewell will take up her appointment on the departure of the current Chief Executive in November of this year," Mark Prebble said.


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