Introducing Ann and Lynley, our Kāhui Ako Learning Support Co-ordinators

Tēnā koutou katoa.
Ko Appalachian ngā Maunga.
Ko Ranatiki te Moana.
Ko Eno te Awa.
Ko Koru, Aotearoa, te waka rere rangi.
Nō Amerika au, engari, ināianei e noho ana au ki Hauraki.
Ko Jim Hoover tōku matua.
Ko Helen Alexander tōku whaea.
Nō Iowa a rāua whanau.
Ko Tom Sorensen taku hoa tāne.
Ko Ann Hoover ahau. 

I am one of the Learning Support Coordinators for the Thames Kauaeranga Kāhui Ako. The other Learning Support Coordinator is Lynley Russek. We work in all the surrounding primary schools and Thames High School. We are also making connections with the nine Early Childhood Centres. I have a varied career as a classroom teacher and as a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour. I have taught in both primary and secondary settings. My first teaching position in Thames was at Thames High School in 1999, where I ran the Experience Unit. My most recent classroom teaching role was at Paeroa College where I was one of the cross curricular teachers for Year 9 and Year 10. Prior to that position I was an English teacher, teaching Year 9 – Year 12 English. In 2017, I joined the Hauraki RTLB service. I was a RTLB based at Pārāwai School until the end of 2019. I am married to Thames High School alumni, Tom Sorensen. I am the proud Step-Mum to four daughters and two sons in law, proud Mum to one son and two daughters, and the super proud Gran to four grandsons and one granddaughter. 

The Learning Support Coordinator role is a new initiative by the Ministry of Education. “The purpose of the LSC role is to make sure that children and young people with mild-to-moderate neurodiverse, or high-and-complex learning support needs receive appropriate help when they need it.” (MOE, 2020, p. 5). Our mandate is to work with whanau, tamariki, taiohi, staff, and other agencies to provide the support students need to thrive. One of our first task is to create a register of the learning needs in our community. This includes the learning needs of students with giftedness or exceptionalities, as well as students who are disengaged or in danger of being disengaged. Another aspect of our role is to ensure that transitions from Early Childhood to primary, from primary to secondary, and from secondary to jobs/tertiary education are well planned. The role of Learning Support Coordinator is an exciting one that is meant to be responsive to the needs of our community. Please feel free to contact Lynley or myself, if you have any questions about our new role. I look forward to working and learning with you.

Ann Hoover
027 315 4838 

Ministry of Education. (2020). Learning Support Coordinator A Guide to the Role. Cognition Education for the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Mt Moehau tōku Maunga
Ko Kauaeranga tōku Awa
Ko war spirit tōku waka
Nō Czechoslovakia and England au, engari, ināianei e noho ana au ki Hauraki
Ko Heather Millington tōku whaea
Ko Wain Russek tōku matua
Nō Thames a rāua whanau
Ko James Elder taku hoa tāne
Ko Lynley Russek ahau. 

I am a Learning Support Coordinator in our Kāhui Ako, along with Ann Hoover. Our mahi involves collaborating with 8 primary schools from Tapu to Puriri, and Thames High School. Emergent mahi also involves working with our Early Childhood Centres. Transitions are an important part of our work.

Born in Thames, after playcentre I attended Parawai school, then Thames South School; and then Thames High School. I love our community, have deep roots here, and a strong sense of belonging. After a stint teaching in Hamilton, I returned to teach at Thames High School, first as a PE and Health Teacher, then as HOD Special Needs and Outdoor Education. Co-teaching was next – at Te Puru school, Kopuarahi; then at Thames South School where James Elder and I  started up an Adventure Learning Classroom. James and I have an adult son Daniel Elder, a Thames High School alumini.

Eight years of adventures teaching overseas came next – first in outback Ghana, then in Tanzania. Coaching, leading wellbeing/resilience and pastoral care programmes, teaching (year 1’s through to year 13’s at various times) and serving as Vice Principal and Principal were some of what I did, before being called back home.

Passionate about being part of a collaborative team (the greater “we”), the goal is to support all children and youth in our Kāhui Ako to be well, to learn, and to flourish. As Learning Support Coordinators our kaupapa is to work with whanau, tamariki, taiohi, kaiako, and other agencies to provide and coordinate the support that enables all students to thrive. We recognize that whanau voice is an essential part of this. Working with Maori to ensure the system will better support Maori learning and wellbeing is vital.

We all work together so that everyone does well. Manaakitanga is essential.

Please contact Ann or I if you have any further questions or would like to engage in some korero around this.

Lynley Russek 
027 315 4838