Leaders' Connect #34: May 12th 4-5pm

Racism, bias and where to from here? Facing the elephant in the room

Many education leaders acknowledge there is an urgent need to address racism and bias, but are often frozen by fear of ‘getting it wrong’.  Recent education policy and key guiding documents (including the NELP’s) clearly state that schools are to ensure places of learning free from racism, bias and discrimination. In many ways these policy and legislative shifts create a dilemma for us as education leaders. These policy shifts are likely to challenge and disrupt the white, western core of our education system. This strategic challenge presents an opportunity for us to think and lead differently – but where do we go from here? 

In this Leaders’ Connect we will explore some of the challenges and opportunities for educational leaders committed to facing ‘the elephant in the room’. Through provocation and shared discussion we will consider questions such as,

  • what does it mean to be in an ethical relationship with people different to ourselves?
  • how do we create open spaces for dialogue that allow for safe and courageous conversations?


Bio: Dr Judy Bruce

Dr Judy Bruce completed her PhD study in intercultural dialogue and global citizenship education. She has worked extensively across education and community and youth development spaces, and is passionate about justice and equity. After many years in initial teacher education, Judy spent time working with a social enterprise in India exploring through practice what it means to be in ethical relationship with others. Judy now works as an education researcher, consultant and facilitator primarily in Tāmaki Makaurau, where she is an MOE accredited PLD facilitator with Leadership Lab. Her work is primarily focused on the areas of innovation, cultural capability and leadership development.

Cultural capability in Aotearoa kura

About the Leaders’ Connect online series

Leaders’ Connect is an interactive, relational, online space for education leaders. These one-hour online hui occur fortnightly and the aim is to:  

  • Provide a safe place of connection for education leaders within NZ
  • Support leaders’ wellbeing 
  • Gain fresh leadership knowledge and capacity 
  • Create professional connection via an online platform
  • Provide a space for learning and sharing innovative practices and ideas 

“The topics for these Leaders’ Connects are so relevant. I have attended as many as I can since the start of the year. My school is a smaller rural school just south of Auckland, so the opportunity to discuss these types of topics with others in the education space is great, Kia pai to rā”, Kris Burden, Tumuaki, Hunua School.

Leaders Connect was initiated by our team during the COVID19 lockdown in March 2020 and has facilitated 30 Leaders Connect sessions in 2020 and 2021.  The Ministry of Education has funded this initiative during this time and has just agreed to sustain this initiative through resourcing it till the end of 2022.

Videos from past events


Our facilitation team

Working behind the scenes bringing you the Leaders' Connect series