A Queen's Birthday Honour recipient who will be fondly remembered in some circles in Te Awamutu is Lois Chick, now of Shirley in Christchurch.

Lois was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education, which includes establishing and running a private teacher training organisation.

She, and her husband Graham, were part of the education and arts fraternity in Te Awamutu in the 1980s.

Lois came from Norsewood and went to Dannevirke High School before training at Ardmore Teachers College.


She taught in Levin, Napier, Dunsandel, Hamilton and Morrinsville before coming to Te Awamutu, where she worked at Pekerau School for four years under principal George Green.

Lois then won a job at Te Awamutu Intermediate School, under principal Bill Hewitt, as a Year 8 teacher with special responsibility to run the music programme.

Graham was also on the staff and they recall at that time Te Awamutu Intermediate ran magnificent school productions, written by staff members David Lewis and Ian Bacon, who they describe as talented teachers and well-remembered to this day by many in Te Awamutu.

"Graham and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Te Awamutu and made many life-long friends," says Lois.

"Graham was part of Little Theatre and I sang in the Hamilton Civic Choir."

Once the couple left Te Awamutu, Lois' career took her into the area of Special Education, the result of working in Rugby, England, at a residential special school on teacher exchange.

After much training and further teaching at another residential special school she lectured at what was then the Christchurch College of Education.

"This is where my interest in teacher training began," says Lois.


"I became convinced that increased practise time in schools for those in training was critical and needed to be done alongside highly trained teacher educators.

"I came to realise that not all those in training are ready to graduate at the same time. Some people take longer to learn the essentials of teaching and some need less time."

It was at this time Lois and a partner broke away and, with the agreement of the Minister of Education, in 1996 the New Zealand Graduate School of Education (NZGSE) was born.
Lois continues to co-direct the school.

She helped develop a detailed system of criteria for effective practice, as well as tools designed to measure and assess teacher effectiveness.

A Te Reo and Tikanga competencies course has also been introduced at NZGSE.
The organisation has trained more than 1600 primary and secondary teachers since its inception.

Lois says the training programme at NZGSE sees students spend as much as two-thirds of their course teaching in a classroom, a contrast to standard teaching models where students are often sitting in lectures.


And NZGSE has a successful record, with more than 97 per cent of students successfully gaining employment in the field following graduation.

As well as teaching and running her own training college, Lois' expertise in special education and learning support saw her chair the Board of Trustees governing Halswell Residential School and Westbridge Resident School from 2014 to 2017.

Lois also routinely conducts performance appraisals for local boards of trustees in the Canterbury region.