Presenters

Megan King


Megan has a Bachelor in Speech & Language Therapy. She has worked for the Ministry of Education in a range of roles, and in private practice. During her time with the Ministry of Education, she spent the majority of her time supporting children with Autism. Megan is trained in Routines Based Early Intervention, has her Communication Assistive Technology accreditation and is a trained Makaton tutor. She is trained in the Hanen programmes – It Takes Two to Talk & ABC and Beyond. Megan also works privately as a Speech Language Therapist, providing therapy for children and their families.

 

 

Michael Hempseed


Michael Hempseed is the author of Being A True Hero: Understanding and Preventing Suicide in Your Community. The book is being used by the New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency NZ, GPs, counselors as well as many parents and teachers. Michael gained an honours degree in psychology from the University of Canterbury in 2008. In 2016 he spoke at TEDx.

 

 

Nathan Wallis


Host of the documentary "All in the Mind", and co-host of the TV Series, "The Secret Life of Girls" Nathan Wallis, Aotearoa’s renowned neuroscience education has been captivating audiences over 250 times per year to sell out events in NZ, Australia, and China. With a profound reputation as a lively and engaging speaker, Nathan uses humour and plain language to condense twenty-five years of neuroscience research into his unique "tell you how it is style".

 

 

 

Nicola Petty


Nicola Petty (Dr Nic) is well known for her innovative and engaging approaches to teaching statistics and mathematics. Her YouTube Channel, Dr Nic’s Maths and Stats receives over 1.5 million views a year, and her games and resources are used throughout the world. Nic is a qualified high school mathematics teacher with additional experience teaching innovative primary school mathematics lessons and professional development workshops. Nicola writes a well-respected learning and teaching blog and keeps current with thinking and research about mathematics. She is co-director of Creative Maths, a social enterprise that creates and shares innovative resources for all learners and teachers, to grow a world of mathematicians.

 

 

Peter Gray


Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine. He is a founding member and president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), which is aimed at creating a world in which children’s natural ways of learning are facilitated rather than suppressed. He is also a founding board director of the nonprofit Let Grow, the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore outdoors, independently of adults.

 

 

Rebeccah Bassett-Smith


Rebeccah is a full time teacher at Silverdale School and mother to four wonderful boys aged between 5 and 12 years of age. Needless to say she leads a busy life with work commitments, sport and keeping her boys active and outdoors. 

Rebeccah is a firm believer and advocate for play based learning as she has seen with her own children the difference it makes when transitioning them to school and in creating that love for learning. A happy child with strong relationships and self belief is going to learn.

Rebeccah has presented at Ulearn18, Kohia Centre, Albany's Kahui Ako TOD day and at a conference held by Learning network.

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Richard Dams


Richard worked in the City of London for 12 years trading in the fixed income derivative markets where he used Excel every day to make his trading decisions. He also spent 2 years working as a business analyst for a cloud software startup company before working for several years managing a webinar program. He now runs PepTalks, a webinar program for teachers.

 

 

Richard Dams


Richard started his career in the financial markets in London where he worked for 12 years as a fixed income derivatives trader.

 

After moving to New Zealand, Richard moved his career towards software development and worked for a cloud startup company before spending 6 years in technical roles within a global publishing company.

Richard co-founded PepTalks in 2019.

 

Rob Gambolati


Rob completed his BSc in Health and Physical Education at Roanoke College in Roanoke, Virginia, USA. Before moving to NZ, Rob taught as a physical education specialist in a primary school in Vinton, Virginia. In 2002 he moved to NZ and taught health and physical education at Mangere College to Year 9 to 13 students. Rob moved to lecturing in Sport, Health and Physical Education at Unitec in 2006. Throughout this time, he has been an active member of Physical Education New Zealand’s (PENZ) Auckland Branch and a regular deliverer at national conferences. He most recently completed his Master’s Degree through The University of Auckland focusing on how the primary school as a complex space impacts on the planning and delivery of health and physical education. Outside of work, Rob is kept busy by his three daughters and enjoys trail running, swimming, and stand up paddle boarding.

 

 

Sarah Brown


Dr Sarah Brown recently completed her doctorate on how relationships are established and maintained during a transition from Early Childhood Education to Primary School. She is now a primary school principal having previously lectured in pre-service early childhood and primary school tertiary degree courses.

 

 
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