Tanya Phillips

Tanya Phillips


  • 5 Fernbrook Place, Christchurch


I am passionate about educational equity and believe that schools have a responsibility to provide for the needs of all learners. Curriculum development  and the use of information technology should be a focus for school leaders to achieve this equity. A school curriculum which is innovative, open and focused on growth is vital to the success of learners. It is important that this change comes hand in hand with a commitment to honouring the unique nature of New Zealand's bicultural heritage and to meeting the needs of our learners. To achieve these goals, school leadership teams must be wider than is traditional, and must embrace the skills and values of all those involved in the school community.  Authentic leadership which focuses on serving the needs of others allows all learners - staff and student - to develop in their ownership of their  learning and become participants in their community. 

Career History

Work experience

Head of Senior School

Aranui High School
Feb 2015 - Present

This role has challenged my ability to work with staff and student learners on their educational development. 

In this role I have been: 

  • Responsible for all academic and attendance issues for senior learners. 
  • Focused on NCEA achievement and ensuring learners have a pathway that recognises their talents. 
  • Responsible for the discipline and pastoral care of learners as relating to achievement. 
  • Challenged to create pathways within the school for learners who do not wish to follow a traditional academic pathway. 
  • Integral in liaising with other staff to ensure student needs are met, including those involved in vocational pathways. 

Head of English

Aranui High SCHOOL
Feb 2010 - Present

In this role I have had the privilege of being the leading  a fantastic team of English and Literacy teachers. 

During my time in this role I have:

  • Created a climate of collegiality and creativity in which innovation is valued and change is supported. 
  • Developed the use of modern learning pedagogy within the secondary subject framework. 
  • Developed assessment for and as learning into  the primary  method of assessment in junior school.
  • Created a climate of goal setting and personal development for staff and student learners. This has focused on growth mindset  which has led to the integration of pedagogy, values and competencies into all department processes. 

  • Led department professional learning on IT, differentiation, thinking skills and data analysis. 
  • Strengthened and standardised department assessment procedures, schemes of work and IT use
  • Increased and emphasised the role of Maori and Pasifika tikanga in our classrooms. 
  • Developed a Teaching as Inquiry appraisal tool for appraisal within the department and across the school. 
  • Created the Literacy Department which addressed remedial literacy needs in junior and year 11 students.
  • Worked with RTLBs on developing effective literacy assessment within the school.

Professional Learning Presenter

Ahi Kaa Education
2014 - 2015

During 2014, while on a TeachNZ study scholarship, I was able to facilitate workshops for teachers across New Zealand. 30 workshops were held, and I had the great privilege of working with approximately 300 teachers.

2 workshops were offered:

  • The World in Your Kete: Pedagogy and Texts for Maori learners in an English classroom.
  • Up Your Game: Thinking in the Classroom for New and Beginning Teachers.

I was also able to work closely with 2 Canterbury secondary schools on collecting Maori student voice and adapting their practise as a result.

Dean of Year 12 and 13

Aranui High School
2012 - 2013

This role begin as a pastoral role and quickly grew to include leadership skills development for our senior students. 

In this role I :

  • Took responsibility for the pastoral, behavioural and academic needs of  all Year 12 and 13 learners.
  • Developed and lead a leadership development programme for student leaders.
  • Developed and implemented the whare system including mentoring student leaders.
  • Developed the school prefect selection process for a more effective outcome.

Teacher of English

Ellesmere College
2009 - 2009
  • Teacher of English Year 9-13
  • Organised and ran professional development on pedagogical principles in the new curriculum.
  • Member of the Professional Development Committee.
  • Worked with Assistant Principal to develop a Thinking Skills programme for the college to implement.
  • Developed differentiated programmes using ICT, thinking skills and authentic learning tasks.

Head of English

Aorere College
Feb 2006 - Dec 2008
  • Strengthened department assessment procedures, unit planning and programmes.
  • Implemented strategies to raise Merit and Excellence grades in English.
  • Supervising teacher for five provisionally registered teachers in the department.
  • Led department professional development around new curriculum, ICT and Thinking skills.
  •  Developed alternative English programmes for students who struggled with traditional English Literature courses.
  • Developed differentiated programmes using ICT, thinking skills and authentic learning tasks.



Master of Educational Leadership (Honours - First Class)

University of Waikato
2014 - 2015

Dissertation: Mentoring the Mentor: The role of Coaching and Mentoring in Teaching as Inquiry. 

Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary)

University of aUCKLAND

English Education Years 9-13

ESOL Education: Reception - Advanced

Bachelor of Arts

University of Auckland
2002 - 2004

Major in English

Major in Linguistics and Language Teaching


Lead Teacher:  Te Tihi o Te Matauranga Inquiry Cluster (2015)

This is a group of teachers formed from the schools involved in the Te Tihi o Te Matauranga project. This is a project focused on the use of chromebooks and other technology in education. Our cluster is made up of 4 primary schools and Aranui High School. We met regularly to develop our own inquiries into the use of IT for literacy development. My role is to facilitate this group, liaise with Ministry of Education financial backers, organise guest speakers, ensure an understanding of teaching as inquiry and generally provide support for all teachers involved in the project. 

Supervising Teacher - New and Beginning Teachers Programme (2014-present)

In this role I have  mentored a large number of first year, second year and overseas trained teachers at Aranui High School. I have provided workshops, had coaching conversations, provided observations and feedforward, as well as simply been a sounding board for the teachers as they navigate teaching. 

PB4L  committee (2013 -present)

As a member of the PB4L committee at Aranui High School I have led/been involved in professional learning around consistent lesson practices to engage learners and the explicit teaching of behaviour. 

ICT Committee (2010 - present)

In this role I have worked with a team of people to develop the ICT policy and direction at Aranui High School. This has involved using the SAMR model to ensure we are using technology to open doors previously closed to our students. I have regularly led IT professional learning for full staff and small groups. 

Senior Teacher in Charge of the Pegasus Achievement programme at Aranui (2010)

This was a MOE project to raise literacy achievement across the Aranui Community Schools. In this role I led professional development in literacy strategies as well as data analysis to full staff and small groups. 

Workshop presenter: National Association of Teachers of English Conference

  •  Wikis and Blogs in English Teaching (2008)
  • Assessment for Learning and the English Classroom (2011)
  • Maori Student Voice in the English Classroom (2014)
  • Assessment for Learning (2014)
  • Performance Poetry: Speak your power (2014)

Awards and Scholarships

ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award - Nominee (2012)

TeachNZ Secondary Teachers' Study Award (2014)


  • Margaux Hlavac and Tanya Phillips, ‘Experiencing Diversity’ in English in Aotearoa, Issue 73, April 2011.
  • Tanya Phillips and Margaux Hlavac ‘Thoughts on the use of some new Maori and Pasifika authors’ in English in Aotearoa, Issue 73, April 2011.

Activities and Affiliations

  • Canterbury English Teachers Association Committee Member (2012 - present)
  • Organiser of the Canterbury Secondary School Performance Poetry Competition. (2012, 2014)
  • Staff representative for Aranui High at GSCN (2011/2012)
  • Member of the National Association of Teachers of English and the South Auckland Association of Teachers of English.
  • Member of Clearlinks ICT cluster (2006-2007).
  • Member of Education for Enterprise Aorere focus group (2008).
  • Member of Aimhi English development programme (2008).


John Rohs


Aranui High School

Email:[email protected]

Phone: (03) 388 7083

Mobile: 0273222686


Maree Furness

Assistant Principal

Aranui High School

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (03) 388 7083

Mobile: 0272273622

Paul Osborne

Head of Maths/Principal's Nominee

Aranui High School

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (03) 388  7083