BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Graeme H Daniel (Chair)
Graeme has recently retired having held a number of principal positions in special education over a thirty year period and was a member of regional and national advisories. He also worked for the ERO for several years. Graeme is currently an education consultant/advocate and advises in the area of Learning Support and leadership.
David Lang (Deputy Chair)
David is a partner in the law firm, Saunders & Co, and is currently the Chairman of the Nurse Maude Association. David became involved with the Champion Centre when his wife, Lois, was working at the Centre as a speech-language therapist.
Vince Barry is CEO at Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd in Christchurch. He commenced his health career 35 years ago as a nurse assistant in psychiatry, progressing through a nursing career and into management in the mid 1990's following the establishment of Forensic Psychiatric Services.
Vince’s management career in hospitals involved general management of mental health, aged care and rehabilitation services, as well as coordinating the elective surgical services programme for Canterbury before embarking on his CEO role with Pegasus Health in 2008.
Vince is passionate about working in a leadership role in primary healthcare and his trustee role with the Early Intervention Trust provides an opportunity to support the development and ongoing sustainability of an incredible programme.
Carol is a finance professional with governance experience in both the not-for-profit and commercial sector. Her current role is General Manager Finance & Commercial (CFO) at Christchurch City Council. Carol has been associated with the Christchurch Early Intervention Trust since 2006 as both a parent and a Trust Board member.
Andrew is the National Programme Manager for the NZ Spinal Trust and is responsible for managing the Trust’s Peer Support Network and the Vocational Rehabilitation Programme. Prior to this he served 6 years on the Board of the NZ Spinal Trust, three of them as Chairman. He also had a previous stint working for the Trust for nine years, five of them as CEO. During his time at the Spinal trust, his son Anton was attending the Champion Centre and because Andrew’s workplace was nearby, he was frequently able to participate in Anton’s learning sessions there and gain first hand understanding of the great work done by the Champion Centre team.
He is currently also on the boards of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation, the Burwood Academy of Independent Living, the Sporting Futures Charitable Trust and is a founding trustee of both the Ben Lei’a Trust and the Pacific Disability Support Trust. Previously he has worked for the Canterbury District Health Board as a senior business analyst and technical team lead, software manager for Dynamic Controls, the world’s largest supplier of wheelchair and scooter control systems and as a farmer in the Maniototo (Central Otago).
Dr. Susan Foster-Cohen (Director)
Jan Murphy (Clinical Practice Manager)
Karon Storr (Grants and Funding Coordinator)
Dr. Susan Foster-Cohen (Director)
Susan has led a multi-disciplinary team of around 80 staff members at the Champion Centre for 15 years. Susan is an active researcher into the communication development of children with disabilities and has presented this work on behalf of the Champion Centre at national and international conferences, workshops and in publications in international journals. In addition, Susan is the Chair of the Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand, sits on the Early Childhood Advisory Council; and has been a member of the Ministry of Education’s Specialist Services Review Team. She also coordinates a national group of all NGO early intervention providers.
Susan is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Canterbury’s Department of Linguistics and an Adjunct in the Department of Communication Disorders. This is in recognition of her on-going commitment to research in her field. She is also an honorary professor at Birmingham City University in the UK. Susan is an active member of the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour (NZILBB) at the University of Canterbury. As a result of Susan’s connections to the university, the Champion Centre is a local partner of the NZILBB, which carries out a range of research projects of importance to New Zealanders.
Susan leads two current research projects at the Champion Centre. The first involves longitudinal tracking of the communication development of children with disabilities in the programme and the second compares the perception of parents and professionals about children’s progress over time.
Susan also participated as co-investigator on the Christchurch longitudinal study of Neuroanatomical and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Children Born Very Preterm (2001-2009).
She led a successful collaborative research project between 2012 and 2015 helping children in Christchurch schools with mild to moderate disabilities access the primary school curriculum with visual supports at home and at school. She has published the results in an international journal. Susan has developed and reviewed national standards for Specialist Services in early childhood and schools’ provision for the Ministry of Education and was an active member of the review teams (2004-2017).
Susan recently served on the local organizing committee and scientific committee for the International Society on Early Intervention conference in Sydney, Australia. Susan has worked with the Brainwave Trust to educate the public about early brain development and the importance of early experience in the first 3 years of life (2005 - 2009).
Susan also has collaborated with the NZ Down Syndrome Association to produce two DVD’s for parents about ways to support their child’s development.