Boards members have a stewardship role that involves planning for and acting in, the interests of the school and its community.  Student learning, wellbeing, achievement, and progress are the board’s main concerns.

Successful boards work in partnership with school leaders and staff for the benefit of students.  Each has their respective roles and responsibilities but is dependent on working cooperatively with the other to be able to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Good communication is an important part of being on a board, as members need to be able to talk to one another, share information, ask questions, and discuss important issues.  In doing so, you develop relationships based on trust and work effectively together as a board.

A board’s main responsibility is to ensure that all students at their school are achieving well.  This includes making sure that the Principal and staff are supported and resourced to achieve high-quality teaching and learning.  To do this, members need reliable and detailed information from school leaders about the learning and wellbeing of children at their school.

A board member is part of a governance team. All boards include up to three school-based members: the Principal, a representative elected by staff, and, for schools with students in Year 9 and above, a representative elected by the students. The majority of boards have five member elected by parents and caregivers but the board can decide to decrease the number of parent elected seats to three or to increase them to a maximum of seven. Boards of state schools can also co-opt additional members, up to a maximum of one less than the number of elected parent seats on the board. Boards decide to co-opt for a variety of reasons, usually to ensure a good balance of skills, experience, gender, or ethnicity.  At Hillmorton High School we have five elected parent representatives, two co-opted representatives, and three school-based members and we would like you to meet the team.

Board Members

Born and educated in Christchurch with a BA from Canterbury University and a Master of Education in Educational Administration (M.Ed.Admin) through Massey University. I have taught English and Japanese at Burnside High School with two years of studying at a university in Japan.  I became the Assistant Principal, then Deputy Principal then Principal here at Hillmorton from 1995. I am passionate about education and individuality. I also love skiing, swimming, walking on the beach with my dog, and spending time with my family and friends.

Tena Koutou,

I am a parent of three students here at Hillmorton and one schooling overseas.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being on the board of West Spreydon School for 12 years and now Hillmorton High for the last 6.

There has been satisfying progress made, and also significant challenges particularly with covid recently. It has been a lot of work, but there is a lot more work to be done which I am keen to see through.  For example, ensuring the Gym is built, and handling roll growth really well, treasuring the things that make Hillmorton High special.

I enjoy sport, getting outdoors and having adventures with others, family time, good food and lively conversation. I have a background in sport, youth and community development, education, governance and leadership, and I hope to continue to bring these experiences and skills into the board team mix.

It is a genuine privilege to serve the school community on the Hillmorton High School Board.

Kia ora my name is Suzie Sauer and this is my 3rd term on the Board at Te Kura Tuarua o Horomaka | Hillmorton High School. It has been a privilege to work with the talented and dedicated board members, leadership team, and staff. Together we have opened Aonga Ake, introduced a new leadership structure to prepare the school for growth and to provide a Deputy Principal to focus on student wellbeing, kept our students and staff safe throughout COVID, specifically, keeping them at school and engaged. The last two have been possible in part to our no phones and mask use policies. We are still working on our enrolment zone to provide our whole community access to our middle school experience from year 7 – 10 and we are working to get our new school gym build underway and are in the process of planning the design for further expansion within the school. I am committed to exploring how we can continue to strengthen our Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership to achieve equity of outcomes for all of our students and are conducting training as a Board to ensure we understand how best to achieve this.

A bit about me: I have a background in Organisational Development, Change Management, Training and Development, and Human Resources. I have worked as a project manager, lecturer and am currently employed as a staff supporter for Workplace Support, an EAP provider. I also contract to NZSTA to train and support School Boards. I am married to Peter, the Manager for Trades at Ara Institute of Canterbury. We have 3 children, our eldest two are at Hillmorton High School and our youngest is excited about coming next year. Our family enjoys a variety of sporting activities including basketball, skating, netball, biking, and water sports and our family is a part of the South West Baptist Church faith community. I plan to continue to support our Principal and her team to ensure that our young people are prepared and ready for life through the learning opportunities provided at school.

Kia ora koutou, I am a Mum of two boys, Zachariah (Zach) Year 9 at Hillmorton and Joel-Jair (J-J) – currently in Year 5 at Hoon Hay Primary. My husband, Craig, is a Learning Advisor at Lincoln University. As the daughter of retired Primary school Principals education is in my blood. However, when not taxi-driving the boys to their various activities I am employed as a Business Intelligence Business Partner at Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha (Health New Zealand – Canterbury). The role works collaboratively across the wider Health System to turn data into information and intelligence to drive decision making. I have recently completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership from the University of Canterbury (MBA programme). I would bring to the Board a passion for asking purposeful questions, actioning insights, and to provide equitable opportunities for the students at Hillmorton so they are set up to succeed. I have experience living, working and studying cross-culturally in a non-English speaking country (Japan) where I gained a Master of Arts in Comparative Culture. I can sympathise with the challenges of our international families. I will listen and partner with you to bring about change. My desire is to support the Board and teaching staff to ensure Te Kura Taurua o Horomaka whānau is safe, enjoyable and engaging for every student. Ko te tangata hoki i nui te hoatutanga ki a ia he nui anō hei hōmaitanga māna; ā, ko te tangata i nui te tukunga ki a ia, hira noa atu te mea e tonoa i a ia.

Tēnā koutou katoa. My name is Matthew Parfitt. I am married to Amanda and we have three children; Leah (Year 13), Taine (Year 12) and Sophia (Year 9). I have been on the Board at Te Kura Tuarua o Horomaka/Hillmorton High School for the past three years.

As a member of the Board I have been involved with many different aspects of the governance of the school. I have been part of the team that is responsible for developing & carrying out reviews of our school’s strategic plan, reviewing and monitoring student achievement and am the Board representative on the Tiger Sports Committee, overseeing and promoting the sporting endeavours of the school. I have gained a huge appreciation and admiration for the Hillmorton leadership team and teaching staff. Their passion and hard work towards all Hillmorton tamariki reaching their potential is inspiring, especially given the past two years and all that has occurred.

Vocationally, I am a Senior Aeronautical Engineer, working for the Design Team of Air New Zealand Engineering & Maintenance. As the aerospace industry is a heavily regulated environment, I understand what it means to provide workable solutions within the bounds of policy and governance. I also have experience in leading teams and enjoy teamwork in all its facets, whether it be on the sports field, at work or on a school board.

I am also passionate about using sport as a tool to facilitate engagement in learning and opportunities for young people. So, for the past nine years I have been coaching rugby at Suburbs and Hillmorton, with this year coaching with the 1st XV.

The future for Hillmorton is a bright one. The school is growing, and the current board has already started thinking strategically about what that future could look like with some very innovative and exciting initiatives under discussion. I have thoroughly valued my time on the Board and look forward to continuing to contribute to Hillmorton High School as a board member, ensuring it remains a great asset to our local community.

Ngā mihi nui
Matthew Parfitt

Kia Ora Koutou,

Hillmorton High continues to be a school at which my son, now in year 12, feels at home. From the day he first set foot on school grounds 6 years ago, and every day since, he has been welcomed and encouraged. I consider sitting on the Board as the perfect opportunity to give back to a school that has done so much for our family.

My name is Karen McMillan. I am a director at McMillan’s Aquatic Centre, one of two businesses I have established and grown, alongside my husband Blair, over the last two decades. In doing so I have honed strengths in strategic development, HR, accounting, marketing, employment law, programme planning, staff management and education, payroll implementation, and providing customer service to an extensive database. My qualifications include a Bachelor of Education from Otago University and a Diploma in Swim Teaching.

I am thrilled to have been elected on to the Hillmorton High School Board as I am passionate about inclusive education. I strongly believe all students can achieve in a supportive environment in which they are highly valued as individuals. Hillmorton not only promotes such values, in vision and mission statements but actively implements procedures to ensure this occurs. I have experienced first-hand, through my own son’s experience, how Hillmorton has positively influenced him by providing him with a Turangawaewae and Whanaungatanga which has enabled him to grow his Ako and Mana.

I am a proven team player who thrives in working collaboratively in the best interests of others, having represented New Zealand at hockey as a Black Stick in my younger years, and more recently through multiple adventure races within a team of three woman. I love to be challenged physically and intellectually and always give 100% to anything I am involved in.
My personal strengths include being a great listener and communicator with an enthusiasm to advocate for the best interests of my community. I am energetic, honest and have high integrity. I will work hard and be totally committed to my role on the Hillmorton Board.

Nga mihi nui Karen McMillan

My name is Mamaitaloa Sagapolutele, a retired teacher.  I have 3 children – my oldest daughter has 5 children; my son has 3 children, and my youngest daughter is studying at the University of Canterbury.

I have been a member of the Board of Trustees as staff rep, at Rowley Avenue School for 3 terms and I have been involved in the Hoon Hay community for more than twenty years.  Although I am retired now, I still have great interest in education for our young people especially with our Māori and Pasifika students.

Kia ora.

I am the Hillmorton Staff Member. Born in England, I was raised between England, Ireland, and France. Leaving school I spent ten years in the British Army, retraining to be a teacher at the age of 28. My specialist subject is Digital Technology with history as a second subject. I moved to New Zealand in 2007, teaching at Geraldine High School and then becoming an IT consultant in Christchurch. I have worked at Hillmorton High School for six and a half years.

I enjoy traveling and have visited 41 countries around the world so far and plan to visit lots more. I enjoy reading, photography, and exploring New Zealand.


As a board, you need to understand your full range of responsibilities to perform well.  The good news is the key work areas of every school board are set out in law and cover important governance-related areas such as strategic leadership and setting the vision for your school, legal compliance, policy development, and defining the delegations of your Principal.

In a nutshell, you are responsible for school leadership and strategy and for having the policies and processes in place to monitor and report on your school’s progress and to engage with your school community.

Click on the link to view the Board’s five year (2022 – 2026) Strategic Planning Goals .

How to become a Board Member

NZSTA is working very hard to encourage parents and whānau participation on school boards in order to help share and support the education of their children. To that end, NZSTA has rolled out the Korari Programme for anyone interested in finding out about standing for the school board elections and having a say in the education of their children. Attached are links to the resources for the Korari programme for those interested in becoming a member and the Community Member Guide to the Role of the Board.

Korari Form

Community Member Guide