Breakout Session 2 - 16th September at 1:55 - 2:35

Empowering leadership beyond traditional hierarchies

Presenter/s: Stephen McConnachie
Type: Leadership story
Keywords: grassroots, development, mentoring
Room: Tautoru


The traditional pathway to leadership in education may not be harnessing all of the leadership potential in our schools, centres, and tertiary providers. How do we create empowering environments that nurture leadership capabilities, regardless of formal hierarchy?

Stephen will share the story of his own leadership journey: from a full teaching load with no leadership responsibilities, to grassroots leadership driving change around e-learning in his school and around the country, to becoming his school’s inaugural Director of e-Learning, to a Kāhui Ako across-schools lead role, and now working as a consultant supporting education leaders across all sectors.

Leading well requires a commitment to investing in leadership at all levels. It’s an investment that pays off, however. It’s more sustainable for you and for the kaupapa, and it ensures your people grow as the work progresses.

Participants will be invited to weave together their own insights and stories alongside relevant research to inspire a new perspective of leadership development which is not limited by traditional hierarchical structures.


Stephen McConnachie

Stephen is an education consultant based in Ōtautahi Christchurch. He works for Leadership Lab as well as his own business Think e-Learning. Stephen works with schools and tertiary providers to support their e-learning programmes, their leadership development, and the overlap between the two. He is a founding member of the cross-sector Waitaha Digital Equity Network and co-convenor of the Educational Leadership SIG for the NZ Association for Research in Education (NZARE). Stephen received the 2023 University Prize from the University of Canterbury for his M.Ed. research on digital equity during the COVID lockdowns.