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
Global Education Expert
Founder, The Learner First

Joanne McEachen, Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu, is the Founder of The Learner First, a global education consultancy operating across the globe. She is a bestselling author with 35+ years of experience as a teacher, principal, national 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.

We contribute to the greatest extent when

we know who we are, feel connected,

and pair knowledge with competency.

Deb Dunstone


Deb is a highly accomplished and dedicated leader in the field of education, with a focus on inclusion, wellbeing, and cultural change. With over 34 years of experience in various senior executive roles within the Queensland Education system in Australia, she has demonstrated her commitment to improving outcomes for all students. She is a proud recipient of an Australia Day Medal for her work in rural and remote Queensland.

Her career highlights include serving as A/Deputy Director-General Early Childhood and School Reviews and the Inaugural Assistant Director-General for Disability and Inclusion, where she played a pivotal role in developing and implementing inclusive education policies that have had a significant impact on school and early childhood settings. Her efforts were recognized internationally, with the prestigious United Nations Zero Project Award in Vienna.

Deb’s leadership was instrumental in driving cultural change within the education system, particularly in areas of diversity and inclusion. She led the implementation of recommendations aimed at enhancing disability and inclusion initiatives within the state schooling system, further underscoring her ability to effect meaningful change at both the systemic and grassroots levels.

Deb’s breadth of experience, from teaching, principal, school supervisor, regional director to senior executive roles, has equipped her with invaluable insights into the needs of diverse communities and learners. Her belief in the transformative power of education is evident in her dedication to ensuring that every student is known, understood, and supported on their learning journey.

As CEO of The Learner First, Deb continues to champion these values on a global scale, leading efforts to prioritise learning outcomes and promote inclusive practices in education systems worldwide. Her leadership exemplifies a deep-seated commitment to fostering cultures of inclusion, promoting student wellbeing, contribution and empowering educators to make a positive impact in their communities.

Meet Our Team of Experts

Mary Coverdale
Executive Director

Melbourne |Australia

Beth Hamilton
Executive Director

California | USA

Rob Proffitt-White
Executive Director of Maths

New Zealand

Maree Neilsen
Executive Director

Brisbane | Australia

Tara Gray


Dr. Jo Knox
Director of Maths

New Zealand

Stephen Bell


Sue Pine
Director of Maths

New Zealand

Marie Hirst
Director of Maths

New Zealand

Chris Dench


Jen Benson


Anne Reece


Michelle Tieppo
Business Manager


Andrew Boyd


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.