Meet Our Team of Experts

We are a woman- and indigenous-owned, regenerative, purposeful company with proven success over ten years of operation.

Joanne McEachen

Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu

Joanne McEachen, Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu, is CEO + Founder of The Learner First, a global education consultancy operating in three countries. She is a bestselling author with 35+ years of experience as a teacher, principal, regional Ministry of Education leader in New Zealand, and now a globally recognized pioneer in the fields of educational design, assessment, and well-being.

Contributive Learning was developed to help school communities design purposeful learning experiences, measure the outcomes that matter, and guide every student to academic success and well-being. Joanne embeds a social, emotional, and cultural commitment to all students and educators, reflecting their identities, cultures, and aspirations in what, how, and where they learn.

Joanne has also founded the Kia Kotahi Ako Charitable Trust, focusing on how indigenous knowledge can inform educational and environmental solutions. She is on the Executive Committee for Karanga: The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills, serves on the Education New Zealand: North America Advisory Board | Manapou ki te Ao and The People for Education Canada Board, is an Edmund Hillary Fellow and a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, and is co-founder of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). Through these roles she creates opportunities for students, educators, and communities to learn who they are, how they fit into the world, and how they can contribute their gifts to humanity.

“The Learner First continues to take a systemic approach to the integration of academic and social and emotional learning in schools – across the globe.  We embed social, emotional, and cultural commitment for all students and educators, reflecting their identities, cultures, and aspirations in what, how, and where they learn.”

Deb Dunstone, CEO & Joanne McEachen, Founder

“We contribute to the greatest extent when we know who we are, feel connected, and pair knowledge with competency. What would it look like, across school systems globally, if all students learned how to add to the world?”

Ready to get started?

United States

Beth Hamilton
Executive Director, USA

Jen Benson

Tara Gray

Anne Reece


Deb Dunstone

Mary Coverdale
Executive Director

Chris Dench

New Zealand

Joanne McEachen

Rob Proffitt-White
Executive Director of Maths

Marie Hirst
Director of Maths

Dr. Jo Knox
Director of Maths

Global Operations

Julie Fitzgerald
Sales and Marketing Director (USA)

Catie Schuster
Executive Officer of Strategy and Planning (USA)

Jazmin Lashlie
Executive Support Specialist (NZ)

Matthew Kane
Director of Research and Writing (USA)

Andrew Boyd
Chief Financial Officer (NZ)

Contributive Learning develops self-understanding, connection, knowledge, and competency.

When these come together, we add to the world. And that leads to meaning, fulfillment, and well-being.

Reach out today to learn more or get started!

Develop self-understanding.
Cultivate knowledge.
Foster competency.
Make connections.

Don’t bring down—lift people up.
Don’t subtract—add to the world.

Learn to contribute, in your way, every day.