Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees is comprised of a combination of founding members, former principals who have gone through our programmes, and individuals committed to bettering the lives of young New Zealanders.

Ian Narev

Chairman of the Board

Ian was Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia between 2011 and 2018 and is currently the Group Chief Operating Officer and Asia Pacific and Americas Chief Executive Officer of SEEK.  

Ian has been with Springboard Trust since its inception and has been Chairman of the Board for the past 14 years. In addition to his role as Chairman, Ian has personally facilitated a full set of SLPP workshops in each of the 11 years that Springboard Trust has worked with principals (66 principals to date). He has over 15 years' experience in consulting to non-profits, including five years in New York, and is the Chairman of the Education Advisory Board for the University of New South Wales’ Gonski Institute for Education. 

Malcolm Crotty

Board Member

Malcolm is a Partner at Russell McVeagh. 

He is a qualified lawyer with over 22 years’ experience. A former Trustee of Knox Trust Board Malcolm has been involved with SBT since its inception and was appointed to the board in 2005. He deals with all matters legal and has spent several years working alongside management, developing the documentation supporting our innovative capacity building frameworks.  

Frances Nelson

Board Member

Frances has 40 years' experience as an educator and is an experienced principal having led six different primary schools that vary in decile range in Auckland and Northland. Frances served as an executive member of the NZEI Te Riu Roa for 12 years and then as president for three years. She is the Immediate Past President of the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association, a member of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research board and a Justice of the Peace. Frances participated in the Strategic Leadership for Principals’ Programme in 2011. 

Liz O'Neil

Board Member

Liz is currently Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - Pacific at Amatil NZ. 

A qualified chartered accountant (CAANZ) with 20+ years’ experience in senior finance & commercial roles across large New Zealand companies including Lion, Telecom (Spark) & Fonterra, Liz first became involved with SBT in 2008 as a capacity partner. In 2011 she became an engagement manager for Alumni Services working closely with Homai School to embed their strategic goals. Co-opted onto the Board since 2012, she was appointed as a full Trustee in July 2014 and provides strategic support for Springboard Trust's finances.  Liz is also a member of the Board of Trustee’s for Baradene College. 

Billie-Jean Potaka-Ayton


Billie-Jean Potaka Ayton is Principal at Kaiti School in Te Tairawhiti. She has been principal there for 11 years and has brought the school from a 10 year trend of roll decline with a roll in 2009 of 130 to a roll of 380. Kaiti School is a decile 1 kura that caters for years 1-8 students in Bilingual and Mainstream education pathways. Her leadership style comes from her grandparents who were instrumental in her early life and education. Billie-Jean was part of the first cohort of Principals in Te Tairawhiti to work with the Springboard Trust in 2016. 

Billie-Jean was a recipient of the Woolf Fisher 2019 fellowship award. Her travel included visiting schools in Hawaii and Los Angeles and a week programme at Harvard University on leadership.

Dr Laurie Thew

Board Member

Dr Laurie Thew is a recently retired Principal of Manurewa Central School. Laurie was on our first 2007 SLPP cohort. 

With 43 years in education, he is well respected and informs the board of much of the ‘coal-face’, research and leadership developments in education. He has served on a number of local, regional and national educational advisory groups and has been recognised by the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, the New Zealand Educational Institute and the Auckland Primary Principals Association. He was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Education in 2004 and joined Springboard Trust’s board in 2009. 

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