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New Director announced

Brian Coffey has been appointed as the new Director of the Office for Disability Issues.

Brian comes to us from the Ministry of Education. He has had a long and varied career in education as a teacher, educational psychologist, regional manager and national group manager for special education strategy and service improvement.  He brings with him the wisdom and advice of colleagues, mentors and leaders he has worked with. But most important is that Brian is always clear that it is about the children and people that we work for that he has learnt from the most. In particular, the experiences of those children, young people and families where the system does not and has not worked well for them. Within his roles Brian’s focus has been on children and young people with additional support needs including needs associated with disability and/or challenging behaviour.

Recent highlights in his career have included leadership of  the development of the Positive Behaviour for Learning Initiative, the development of the Success for All – Every School, Every Child which was the response to the Government’s 2010 Review of Special Education, and leadership of the New Zealand Sign Language initiatives within education.

A move to Director for the Office for Disability Issues builds on Brian’s involvement in many interagency initiatives and the relationships that have been developed with the disability sector as well as colleagues in other agencies.  Other relevant highlights include:  being a government representative at the United Nation’s examination of New Zealand’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities, Enabling Good Lives, the Prime Ministers Youth Mental Health Initiative and last year involvement in the refresh of the New Zealand Disability Strategy (2016 -2026) Disability Action Plan.

A Hutt Valley boy Brian is proud to whakapapa back to Taranaki  - Aotea te Waka, Taranaki te Maunga, Te Atiawa ki Whanganui – a- tara te iwi.. Husband of Hilary, father of four he still manages to participate in old man’s rugby – although he assures me he does this slowly and cautiously.

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