Our Team

We are an international team of rebels who have been roaming the world finding others who don’t fit into the old paradigms and are creating the new world for learners. We have worked with countries such as New Zealand, United States, Canada, Uruguay, Finland, Australia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and India. Come joins us!

Joanne McEachen

Founder & CEO

The Snapshot: creates opportunities for each person to learn who they are, how they fit into the world and how they can contribute to humanity. 

Joanne of Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu is a celebrated author, speaker, thought-leader and executive coach, she is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar (Austria), an Edmund Hillary Fellow (New Zealand), is on the Executive Team of Karanga: The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills, is cofounder of NPDL (Global) and serves on the Board of Partners for Youth Empowerment (USA).

She has spent over 30 years working as a teacher, principal, superintendent and across school systems as a whole country change leader in multiple countries and can offer insights and strategies to re-connect the lives of students, teachers, families and communities to what matters most.

Joanne recognizes and supports teachers’ wellbeing first and provides relevant tools and processes for them to be well so they can focus on all of the outcomes that matter. Joanne embeds a social, emotional and cultural commitment to all learners, reflecting learners’ cultures, identities and humanity in what, how and where they learn. Her insights are illuminated by continued, hands-on experience partnering with diverse countries, community groups, schools and in the learning that occurs outside of schools around the world

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Mary Coverdale

Executive Director
The Learner First Australia

The Snapshot: Crikey mate, she’s a cracker of an educator, she knows her stuff inside out and has read every book in the world. What she doesn’t know how to do, she will figure it out with you.

Mary is a passionate educator who has had experience at all levels of the system –as a teacher, a principal, a Senior Education Adviser, and an Assistant Regional Director. She has worked across the Victorian and Queensland jurisdictions and has established networks in both of these states.

She deeply believes in honouring every child by ensuring that who they are and what they bring to our world is embraced and enabled. Reducing inequity drives her work.

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Dr. Tina Marcoionni

Director
The Learner First Australia

Snapshot:  a proud first generation Italo-Australian, walks both cultures to make connections in a learner-focused approach to 21st Century schooling.

Previously an Education Queensland Secondary School Deputy Principal and Northern Territory Associate Professor and Associate Head of School, Education, Dr Tina Marcoionni’s expertise is in the design of ‘purpose- fit’ Teacher Professional Learning Initiatives. Her moral purpose focus is facilitated through community networks that enhance pedagogical practice in a distributed leadership model.  Tina’s collaborative research activity, in the context of a STEM agenda, enhances teaching and learning practice by leveraging available technologies to empower learner access, agency and contribution to the curriculum.  Tina is passionate about making a difference to the way today’s learners learn and how they will shape our future.

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Chris Dench

Director
The Learner First Australia

Snapshot: Looking to create classrooms that are equitable, engaging and differentiated where every child is valued is a lifelong dream of mine.

Chris is a passionate educator with 32 years’ experience working predominantly in low socio-economic communities where he moved through classroom teaching to principalship. He lead Kilcoy SHS since 2013 and is incredibly proud that it is now the school of “choice” for families in that area – that came about as a result of the work by every member of the school community being “visible, explicit and deliberate” in the changes he led in both curriculum and pedagogy.

Chris is believes every child can achieve progress and was delighted to present at leadership work and journey at conferences in Toronto and Vancouver as well as at numerous local and state conferences.

“I have joined The Learner First team because I know that this work is the right work at the right time. The competencies that are embedded are global and as our students become part of this World I see how every one of them can contribute to make both their lives and the lives of others healthy and positive.”

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Rob Proffitt-White

Maths and Numeracy Director
The Learner First

Snapshot: Empowers people to become confident, creative communicators of mathematics.

Rob dedicates his time to continually improve the professional learning experiences and opportunities for teachers, schools and school systems. His ability to translate curriculum intent into sustainable and scalable tasks and routines continually resonates with primary and high school teachers of mathematics. He used his time as a Principal Curriculum Advisor in QLD to transform how maths is valued, understood, taught and assessed for both teachers and students alike.  The impact of his work has been recognised through QLD School of the year awards and acknowledged at national conferences and journals as an initiative that all schools wanting to build curriculum expertise in maths could benefit from. Rob moved to New Zealand  in 2020 and  joined  The Learner First as he harboured a similar vision that “meaning and fulfilment is the new wealth for our learners’ and this has been constant  line of sight close to Rob’s heart, that of  making maths more accessible and enjoyable for all.

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Matthew Kane

Director of Research and Writing

The Snapshot: Writes like an angel after hanging out in real schools with real kids and teachers and asks real questions. He helps put together the real stories to help you figure out what to do next.

Catie Schuster

Executive Officer – Strategy & Planning

The Snapshot: Adults all day, so we keep our team on track and makes sure we get stuff done, she loves organizing making sure we get our jobs done on time!

Andrew Boyd

Chief Financial Officer

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