Board of Trustees

Sara Gordon


I’m the Chair of the Hagley Board of Trustees. I’ve been a parent representative since 2010 and was elected Chair in February this year. Both my children have attended Hagley and have thrived in the flexible and diverse learning environments offered here. This, together with the positive and supportive guidance from the staff, has allowed them to focus on what excites and inspires them. I have always been interested in education and as a family we have been involved in Montessori education, home schooling and schooling overseas.
I feel hugely privileged to be able to support the excellent work of the College in my role as Chair. I am frequently amazed by the success stories I hear as students overcome barriers and embrace their own special passions to succeed and grow. In my opinion, these opportunities are worth gold.

Andrew Swift

Deputy Chair / Parent Representative

Tena koutou katoa. I joined Hagley’s Board in 2016 and appreciate the opportunity to share in this governance role with my fellow trustees. Although a newcomer to our Board I have served as a school trustee elsewhere for the past 12 years. I am passionate about education, excited about the opportunities and challenges that our communities face in the wake of the quakes, and I am impressed by what I have seen of Hagley’s philosophy and practice in recognising and celebrating students as unique individuals.
My association with Hagley College began in mid-2010 when selecting an appropriate secondary education provider for our eldest son Tim who is on the autistic spectrum. While Hagley was not initially on the radar it quickly became apparent that there was not even a close contender for preference. The passion of the staff, the pastoral care, options and opportunities, robust set of values, and keen appreciation of individuality all contribute to the college’s very special character, and are attributes of which we can be very proud.
I have been happily married to Carolyn for 28 years and we have three sons, two of whom are students at Hagley (Years 9 and 13). I have 20 years’ experience in the real estate industry as a consultant and have ownership in two local offices, one of which I also manage. Prior to my corporate role I was a primary school teacher with senior management responsibilities.
Outside of the work environment I enjoy the outdoors, spending time with my family, and I am active in community groups. I am a committee member of our neighbourhood Residents Association, church warden, Business Owners’ Association, and I participate in many local community initiatives.

Mike Fowler


As Principal I have the role as chief adviser to the Board of Trustees. I love the challenge and excitement of this unique institution and its talented staff and students. My key responsibilities include College operations and developments, as well as the Hagley rebuild. I’ve been at Hagley since 1987, initially teaching part time in the evening College programme, then as Head of English for 14 years and a Deputy Principal for the last seven years.
I look forward to realising the potential our College has as a designated character school – and to being part of a Board that helps that happen. Let’s continue to innovate, to create opportunities for secondary learners of all ages across our region. Let’s continue to look outwards to collaborate, invite community connections and connections with other educational institutions. It’s exciting to be involved in how Hagley’s mission statement “lifelong learning that is accessible to all” is played out every day in all that we do. Hagley’s values bring that mission statement to life. Those values are based on the relationships our teachers build with our students. It’s how our teachers value students as individuals that sets Hagley apart - that is the Hagley way.

Terri Gledhill

Parent and Maori Representative

Kia Ora!
Ko Terri Gledhill toku ingoa.
Ko Ngai Tuhoe toku iwi.
He kaiwhakarite haereere ahau.
Ko Jonty toku tama.
He akonga ia i a Te Puna Wai O Waipapa.

Hi, my name is Terri Gledhill.
Ngai Tuhoe is my tribe.
I am a travel agent.
Jonty is my son.
He is a student at Hagley College.

Tena koutou katoa!

I am very proud and honoured to be part of the Hagley College board of trustees as the Maori representative. My passion is inclusive education. I believe everyone should be involved in education. Especially, our youth who are our future and through education they will make change. But even you should be involved because as Mahatma Gandhi said, “Real education consists of drawing the best out of yourself”. With this belief in mind, I will be completing an Open Wananga Course in Maori tikanga (culture) and te reo (language) this year.

Furthermore, I will seek to represent you all with integrity, sensitivity and commitment. So do more than just exist! Get involved in education.

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa!

Derek Benfield

Chair of Finance

I’m a chartered accountant and have worked in a number of businesses. I was on the Hagley Board from 1999 to 2008, being co-opted on when my daughter attended the College. I was chair of the finance committee during that time and deputy chair of the Board for three years, having previously been on the Boards at Christchurch Boys High, Papanui High and a North Island primary school while my children attended those schools.
I was co-opted on to the Hagley Board after the elections in 2013 primarily to chair the finance committee. Before that I spent three years on the Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology Council as a Ministerial appointment. In my employment role, I do a substantial amount of recruiting so I’m very familiar with those processes and the identification of the priorities.

Suzanne Waters

Staff Representative

Tēnā tātau
Ko Whakatere-tū-tonu te maunga
Ko Hakatere te awa
Ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi te waka
Ko Ngāti Pākehā te iwi
Kei Ōtautahi taku ngākau
Ko Suzanne Waters au
Tēnā koutou
Tēnā koutou
Tēnā koutou katoa

Originally from Ashburton, with Mt Hutt as my mountain, I now think of Christchurch as my home as it is where I have settled and raised my family.
I came to Hagley as a trainee teacher in 1988 and it felt like I had found the perfect place to work as soon as I walked into the school. All these years later I still feel this to be the case; I love working with our students and especially value the support and regard of my colleagues.
During my time at Hagley I have also raised three children, all of whom have been students here. This has allowed me to see the school not only from a teacher perspective but also with my “mum” hat on, while at the same time getting a better understanding of the student view of the school.
My role as Director of Junior College and Year 11 means I work with teaching staff from every department across the College and numerous support staff. This has enabled me to establish connections with staff and develop a big-picture understanding of the College while being familiar with the types of issues and concerns that individual staff and groups of staff have. Having been at Hagley for a long time I have been part of the many changes and growth that the school has experienced. Hagley is now a bright light for Christchurch and I’m proud of the progress the school has made.
As the Hagley College staff representative on the BoT I am honoured and privileged to work with and for our staff as we all work together to make Hagley an even better place for all who work and study here.

Karen Johnston


Tēnā koutou katoa
I’m delighted to have joined the Board in June 2018 as a parent representative. I grew up in a small community, Waitati, where I went to the primary school and then made daily commutes to Dunedin for high school.
My son attends Hagley and is in year 11. I am very impressed with the inclusive and community feel at Hagley, and totally endorse the emphasis on building healthy relationships and supporting student’s wellbeing. I value the many different study options at Hagley including after school learning, and classes offered to refugee and migrant students.
Like the school, I too believe in lifelong learning and I completed a PhD in 2014 on city planning, governance, decision-making and power. I have my own consultancy providing research and planning advice mainly on local government topics. I am currently the Chair of the Canterbury branch of the Geographical Society. In the past I worked at Palmerston North City Council and was a lecturer at Lincoln University.
I look forward to my role of supporting Hagley through the Board.

Laurence Mote


Kia ora. I was given the opportunity to join the Board in June 2018, but my relationship with Hagley started many years ago. My father was Assistant Principal in the late 80s, and I completed my last two years of high school at Hagley. My two children are now enrolled in Years 9 and 11.
I graduated with a BSc in Geology from Canterbury University, but after a short stint as a professional mountain biker have spent much of my working life involved in online sales and marketing.
A serious medical event in 2013 left me with a traumatic brain injury, requiring me to re-learn the basics of walking and talking. Tough times, but I’m in awe of the resilience shown by my family, in particular my children, which I think in part is a gift of youth, but also a supportive community of family and friends.
I see Hagley as a continuation of that family, strengthened by Hagley’s focus on celebrating diversity and student wellbeing.

Hassan Hassan

Student Representative

I am Hassan Hassan. I am involved in sport and student council groups. I come into contact with many students outside my classes, and am a familiar face around the school. I feel like with this involvement and my experiences, I bring a lot of value to the student council and I will enjoy the opportunity to represent all students in this position. I would like to fight for justice, transparency, accountability and equality for all student undertaking their studies. I will create a channel of student representation on our school board which allows our school teachers and administration body for smooth running hence overcoming school difficulties. My record exemplifies passionate self-driven advocacy on behalf of my fellow student; I care about the interests of the students as well as their voice. And I will make sure opportunities are equally distributed as well as possible for each and every one of the student body.