15% households with school aged children without internet access       39% of Aucklanders born overseas       82% of 18 year olds have NCEA Level 2       22% unemployment for 15-24 year olds       94.6% attend pre-school       1 in 4 children in poverty       79% pass NCEA Literacy in Yr 11       76% at or above national reading standards starting high school

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About COMET Auckland

COMET Auckland Staff

The people that work at COMET Auckland are passionate about what they do and are dedicated to improving education services and access to these services for the community.


Susan Warren, Chief Executive

Susan took over the reins at COMET Auckland in September 2011. Previously she was the Manager, Centre for Family Learning at COMET Auckland so she knows the organisation well and has excellent networks. She has a Masters in Education with first class honours, focussing on cognition and instruction.

Prior to joining COMET Auckland, Susan worked for the Ministry of Education, working with school leaders, boards and teachers in Manukau to help them raise student achievement in literacy and numeracy. She also designed and led the Pasifika Schooling Improvement project, a national project to improve the effectiveness of interventions for Pasifika students. Susan has authored a variety of educational resources for World Vision New Zealand including books, DVDs, photo packs and interactive internet sites to help NZ children learn more about the developing world.


Shirley Johnson, Manager, Auckland Skills

As Manager of Skills Auckland Shirley’s work is closely allied to the delivery of the strategic
objectives identified in the Auckland plan and Economic Development Strategy. Through partnerships she contributes to developing integrated models and initiatives that aim to achieve stable and sustainable growth in the skill base of Auckland's knowledge-driven economy.

Shirley comes from Christchurch where she has previously worked as the International Relationship Manager for local government as well as working extensively within the Social Service sector. Her experience spans organisational change, strategic and business planning, business case development, and project planning and delivery.

Shirley is a proven facilitator, presenter and trainer with a track record in engaging stakeholders and
developing solutions in complex environments for application across New Zealand.


Alison Sutton, Strategic Analyst

Alison provides a research and analysis perspective to COMET Auckland’s work.  She prepared Education in the City. A snapshot of Auckland’s education landscape in 2011 and co-wrote Unlocking Auckland’s Potential: Adult literacy and numeracy skills in the new Auckland in 2010, highlighting the low skills amongst the working population of Auckland.  She was also part of the team that developed Te Whanua Ara Mua, COMET Auckland’s family learning and literacy programme in 2009-2010.

Alison has a background in research and evaluation in adult literacy, lifelong learning and social services for the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission, and other local and central government agencies. Alison has a Master of Arts (Social Policy) with first class honours.


Linda Hu, Financial Accountant

Linda has been responsible for COMET’s financial management systems since 2008. Linda is dedicated to improve the efficiency of the financial management as well as IT systems and business procedures. Linda has also provided analysis support for the Education Snapshots.

Linda has a Bachelor in Business and a Postgraduate Diploma in Science. She has a passion working for the communities. She is a school Board of Trustee and Treasurer of NZ Go Society. 

Before come to New Zealand with her family in 2002, she was a statistician and IT manager in China.


Danielle Meredith, Office Administrator

Danielle joined COMET Auckland in 2014 with a strong background in administration, customer service and process improvement.

She has an Arts background including a Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree and Diploma in Production Design and Sculpting. She works part-time at COMET Auckland and continues to embark on her artistic endeavours.   

Danielle believes education is the key to success in life and is actively learning about Auckland’s education sector so she can support the COMET Auckland strategic team in their work.


Sarah Morgan, Project Manager for the Science in Society, Participatory Science Platform (PSP): South Auckland pilot

Dr Sarah Morgan is the Project Manager for the Science in Society, Participatory Science Platform (PSP): South Auckland pilot, hosted by COMET Auckland and the Auckland STEM Alliance. Many of our young people do not see a career or skills in science to be valuable in their life. The PSP is a new way of connecting communities with science, supporting groups to develop research projects around questions that matter to them. We want to show the value of science and science skills to our young people, and hopefully highlight some local career pathways within the science sector, while building relationships between local science businesses, researchers and communities.

Sarah grew up in Whakatane, Taupo and Havelock North, and before moving to Auckland in 2014, lived in Dunedin for 9 years. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours, and a PhD in Molecular Genetics (Otago), with a strong background in Science Communication. Most recently from a Research Fellowship at the University of Auckland, she was investigating science education translation-interventions and science literacy in 11-18 year olds from New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook Islands.


Rajshree Gopala Krishnan, Data Analyst

Rajshree first joined COMET Auckland in 2014 as an independent contractor providing data support for various projects and programmes handled by COMET Auckland. She enjoys “making numbers talk” and believes that data should be presented in a manner that can be understood by all. 

Rajshree is originally from Malaysia; she moved to Auckland after spending 8 years in Dunedin where she graduated with a BSc (Hons) and Masters with Distinction in Psychology from the University of Otago. She is currently working on a Phd in Educational Psychology from the University of Auckland. 



Julia Moore, Communications

Julia has a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication from RMIT University in Melbourne and started work at the  Murdoch-owned publishing company in Australia before moving to work for an educational publisher in Cambridge, UK. Personal photography and illustration was a passion and featured often with articles published. On arriving in New Zealand, Julia worked as an art director in an advertising agency maintaining branding and creating campaigns for clients such as Vodafone, Burger King, Zespri, Air New Zealand and Novotel. 

Julia then continued marketing, branding, and information-sharing in different media, creating work with her own business. Alongside the freelance work, Julia has been contracted to do event management and to maintain an Early Learning Auckland Network for over 5 years for Auckland Council. She  has also been co-opted onto the board at the local school for 5 years, and has recently been learning coding and web development at EDA in Auckland before joining COMET Auckland.




Anabel Fernandez, Talking Matters Administrator

Ana recently joined the COMET team as Talking Matters administrator. She has previous experience in project coordination and administration in the areas of culture, trade and education. Originally from Cuba, she has Bachelor in Social Communication, a Master in Sociology, and is currently working in her PhD. thesis in Social Science at AUT. She is passionate about the importance of equitable education and cultural diversity, and believes in the power of communities for collective action. Ana speaks Spanish, English and a bit of Dutch.