BEANZ Membership

All professional educators who have an interest in Biology Education in New Zealand are encouraged to become members of BEANZ.

Membership of BEANZ is via membership of NZASE. A supplementary subscription is payable for NZASE members to become a member of BEANZ.


Sharyn Varcoe


Riccarton High School

Involved in education since 2003, I passionately believe that professional development of educators is one of the keys to improved outcomes for all learners. This led to my involvement in BEANZ, initially as Canterbury regional representative and co-chair of the BioLive2013 conference and latterly as president.

I am currently Head of Science at Riccarton High School, a co-educational state school of almost 1000 students in west Christchurch. In my spare time I can usually be found making the most of the amazing environs of Canterbury with my partner and grown-up children.

Terry Burrell

Curriculum Committee

Onslow College

I’ve been teaching for ages across Hawkes Bay and Wellington schools.  Now based at Onslow College in the capital. My passion in teaching is finding ways to shift learning from teacher-directed to student-driven. I love exploring new strategies for tapping into student interests – like using drama to model gene expression, the annual Palaeolithic tool-making competition during our zoo overnight and most recently involving our students in planting a Hebe (Veronica) speciation garden featuring 20 species from alpine to lowland.

Via my involvement with BEANZ I had the opportunity to get involved during the NCEA alignment process and the development of the Teaching and Learning guides. I strongly recommend other teachers put their hands up to be involved with their subject association, local cluster groups etc. It’s the best TPL you could hope for and an effective way to jump start your career too.

Outside school I grab whatever time I can in the hills. Whether it’s multiday tramping or running my trap line to deal to rodents and possums in the hills behind our house in York Bay, adjacent to the East Harbour Regional Park.

Penny Daddy

Regional Rep for Auckland, Curriculum Committee

St Cuthbert’s College

Penny Daddy, position BEANZ Regional Rep for Auckland and on the Curriculum team. A teacher of Science and Biology with 28 years experience of NCEA, Cambridge and IB platforms.

I am passionate about teaching Science and as I was incredibly lucky with teaching mentors in my early days, I am keen to pass on this knowledge and experience to those interested in making Science fun and accessible to students.  Currently I am Deputy HOD Science at St Cuthbert’s College a private girls College in Epsom, Auckland. I teach Biology, Science and run the trees for survival program. Being interested in conservation, teaching and travel I am lucky to be able to combine all three and take school trips on biology adventures to exotic locations such as the Amazon.

I love walking in the NZ bush and have two grown up kids, a cat, two dogs and a husband, who I try to encourage to come with me, with varying degrees of success.

NZ Bio Olympiad executive member.


Biological Science workbooks with Ursula Paul

Biology workbooks level 1, 2 and 3, with Martin Hansen and David Blaker.

Mike Stone

Regional Rep for Auckland

I worked as a Biology teacher for 25 years and in various science TiC & HoD roles before joining Team Solutions as a science facilitator in 2006. Currently I am a National Co-ordinator for Science (a role I share with Kate Rice) and also on BEANZ exec where I represent Science Facilitators and the Auckland region (jointly with Penny Daddy). Along with BEANZ’s curriculum team I have been involved in putting together the BEANZ workshops presented in November each year. As well as being a fisho & a muso I am the proud aunty of 8 nieces & nephews.

My day job is all about Professional Learning and Development for science teachers & HoDs where I know I make a difference. I want to see support in the way of subject-specific PLD strengthened, one of my main reasons for joining BEANZ in a leadership role

Matt Easterbrook

Regional Rep for Canterbury

Linwood College

I have been teaching since 2003, starting my career at Wellington High School. I then worked in the Cook Islands as a Teaching and Learning Advisor for three years, before returning to my home town of Christchurch. I am currently the Assistant Head of Science at Linwood College and really enjoy teaching Science and Biology.

I have been the BEANZ Canterbury Rep for two years and have appreciated being part of a professional group supporting Biology teachers. When I am not at school I love spending time with my wife and two young children or out surfing somewhere on the Canterbury coast – but mostly during the warmer months these days.

Helen Mora


Linwood College

I entered teacher training college in 1983, as my chosen career – farming – was not a winner with my family. Thirty years later, working in jobs both inside and outside of education, I am now passionate about teaching and have had the opportunity to work with numerous teachers and students from Southland to Auckland over the last 18 years. In my role as the Ministry of Education Senior Subject Advisor, Biology, for the South Island in 2007 I developed an appreciation of the range of challenges faced by Biology teachers, whether working in a large city high schools or a small rural school and the real need for professional learning and support to subject teachers.

After working in the team at LENScience in Auckland I returned to my home town in 2013 to take up the Head of Science position at Linwood College, a co-educational state decile 3 school in East Christchurch. I have been the secretary for BEANZ for the last 2 years and it is a pleasure to work with a dynamic team that strives to provide informative and quality workshops and resources that provide subject specific pedagogy and information both regionally and nationally. In my spare time you might find me in the garden, on my bike or most likely making the most of one of the new cafes or shops springing up around Christchurch.