Dr Camilla Phyllis Highfield

MFA, RMIT University; DipTchg (secondary), Auckland College of Education; DipFA, Otago Polytechnic

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Dir Prof Learn & Development


Camilla Highfield is the Director of Professional Learning and Development at the Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland. This role involves her leading three key buisness units with over 100 staff, to deliver high quality professional learning and development to educators in New Zealand schools. Camilla has held a range of roles within her career in education over the last 25 years. She trained as a secondary school art teacher in 1986 and  worked as a teacher and middle leader until 2000. She was a facilitator with Team Solutions for two years with the introduction of NCEA and then became the Senior Advisor; the Arts at The Ministry of Education in 2002. In 2004 she changed roles and led the Secondary Education team at The Ministry of Education. Camilla has a Masters in Fine Arts and a Doctor of Education. She has had two books published on New Zealand artists and was the deputy chair of the board of a large secondary school for five years.

Camilla’s research and professional interests are in the arts,  professional development, school change and leadership. Developing and coaching effective leadership practices in colleagues and young people is a particular interest.  She has given papers at conferences focused on schooling improvement and is an emerging academic writer. The title of her doctoral thesis completed in 2012 was The impact of middle leadership practices on student academic outcomes in New Zealand secondary schools. This involved the investigation of the variation of student academic outcomes in New Zealand secondary schools and the extent to which that variation can be attributed to the practices of middle leaders. Camilla is currently supervising students studying at Masters level.

Camilla is a widow with two daughters aged 13 and 20. She enjoys spending time with her friends and children, travelling overseas and experiencing the New Zealand natural environment.


Teaching Area/Interests:

  • Secondary Education
  • Leadership
  • The Arts


Research Interests (area & methodologies):

  • Schooling Improvement
  • Leadership
  • Within-school variation


Previous professional experience (prior to present position):

  • Secondary teacher 1987-2000
  • Ministry of Education official 2001-2006


Professional Roles and Affiliations:

  • Deputy Chair Board of Trustees, Epsom Girls Grammar School
  • Board Member: University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership

Research | Current

Title of Thesis:
The impact of middle leadership on secondary student academic outcomes.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Distinguished Professor Viviane Robinson
  • Associate Professor Christine Rubie-Davies

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of the Faculty of Education Equity Committee

Member of the faculty of Education Art and Aquisitions Committee

Co-chair Professional Learning Association Aotearoa New Zealand

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Highfield, C. (2012). The impact of middle leadership practices on student academic outcomes in New Zealand secondary schools The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/19796
  • Highfield, C. (2010). Disparity in student achievement within and across secondary schools: an analysis of department results in English, maths and science in New Zealand. School Leadership & Management, 30 (2), 171-190. 10.1080/13632431003685860

Contact details

Alternative contact


Primary office location

Level 2, Room 202
New Zealand