Meet the teachers

Taylors College teachers

When you study at Taylors College Auckland you'll be supported by experienced, welcoming staff from the moment you arrive. Meet some of the staff and teachers who will be supporting you while you study one of our university pathway programmes.

Ted Dawe, director of studies

Ted Dawe


Director of Studies


My work involves:

Ted comes from a background in education that was formed during his early childhood; his parents were teachers and his sisters were teachers. He has taught in a range of private and public schools here in Auckland, as well as Sydney and London. His teaching specialty was English with an emphasis on writing and public speaking. These are two of his interests which he has maintained and developed over the years. He has been trained in Te Reo Rangatira, the language of oratory. In this capacity he has acted as ‘kai korero’ or leader on many Maori marae visits over the years and this has stood him in good stead for the Orientations and Graduations which are two of his responsibilities at Taylors college.

As well as this Ted is a keen writer. He has written five novels and a collection of Short Stories. His first novel Thunder Road won the NZ Post Young Adult novel prize, as well as the ‘best 1st book’ prize. In 2013 his novel Into the River won both the Young Adult Novel prize as well as the Inaugural Margaret Mahy Children’s book of the year.

As Director of Studies Ted has responsibility for seeing that students receive the best possible teaching, that the curriculum is dynamic and relevant to first year university courses and that students have a person to go to when they encounter problems. He enjoys his job and looks forward to the arrival of every new intake. He says “I never cease to be amazed at the progress that students make between orientation and graduation. They arrive confused and nervous and after just forty weeks or so we see ambitious, excited students about to take on university, and the world."

My top tip for learning:

He says “I passionately believe that to read, to write and to speak are the three most important skills for success in life.”

Miriam Bissett, tertiary advisor

Miriam Bissett


Tertiary Counsellor


My work involves:

My role as Tertiary Counsellor at Taylors College puts me in the privileged position of being able to watch our students arrive at the school, graduate and pass through into the university of their choice. It brings me such joy to see students succeed in their diverse fields including areas such as engineering, arts, technology, hospitality, business, science, and of course many others. All staff at Taylors are immensely proud of our current cohort and our alumni.

I help students to choose their subjects at Taylors to provide them with the opportunities they want to pursue, and then aid them with their applications to the University of Auckland, Massey University, and AUT University. Any information they may need on university courses or requirements I am happy to provide and I enjoy encouraging and advising students in their pursuit of their university qualifications and future careers.

I also teach Classical Studies; I completed my doctorate in ancient Greek art. Classical Studies is a subject which is relevant to everyone because it is focused on understanding and gaining empathy for people past and present. Greek tragedy and art, as well as Roman history are some of the popular and fascinating topics we cover in our Classical Studies course.

My top tip for learning:

Ask questions! Make an effort to really engage with the material, your teacher, and your classmates. The more you put into your lessons, the more you will gain in grades and enjoyment.

My top tip for enjoying life in Auckland:

Use the weekends for exploring Auckland’s beautiful parks, beaches, shopping precincts, and restaurants! We have some of the best food in the world here – it’s time to enjoy it!

Coralie Martin. Teacher - English

Coralie Martin


AFY English Teacher


My work involves:

As well as teaching English, I have responsibilities as a Mentor Teacher and have been assisting with the Career Development programme as needed. My background is in Language and Literature, having studied these at the University of Auckland and taught them over a number of years.

Before coming to Taylors College, I taught English, French and Japanese in schools in New Zealand and Japan. I love the way the AFY English course is focused on specific skill sets that the students will need in their university studies, no matter what they choose to major in. A good example of this is the Research Project, a major unit of work incorporating planning, research skills, preparing a written report and oral presentation. However, I think my favourite aspect of the course is the literature component, which gives students the opportunity to exercise critical thinking as well as widen their knowledge of different cultural experiences.

My top tip for learning:

My top tips for learning are mainly about attitude – know why you are here at Taylors, maintain your focus and be determined to achieve your goals. Also, take every opportunity to speak English.

My top tip for enjoying life in Auckland:

My top tip for enjoying life in Auckland is to get involved in your local community as much as you can. Make the effort to get out and meet local people: join a sports or hobby club, or volunteer with an organisation. Not only will that help you to settle in to your new life in Auckland, it will also support your English learning.

Binh Nguyen

Binh Nguyen


TAFY Mathematics Coordinator


My work involves:

As head of the Department of Mathematics for the Auckland Foundation Year (AFY), I manage the department and mentor/support the maths teaching staff. I have taught AFY Computer Science previously but now I only teach Physics as well as the two Mathematics courses, Statistics and Calculus.

My top tip for learning:

Regular class attendance is the first priority in any learning environment. Homework is attempted consistently and above all ensure that you understand what you are learning. Ask teachers for clarification of anything you are not clear about.

My top tip for enjoying life in Auckland:

Auckland offers many options for entertainment and relaxation as well as outdoor activities.

Richard Holtz. Teacher - Classical Studies & ICT

Richard Holtz


AFY Classical Studies Teacher


My work involves:

I was first exposed to providing support for students for whom English was a second language while studying history at university. I enjoyed it and, years later, when my partner and I decided to move to Japan, it was a natural skill to fall back on. When Taylors College offered me a chance to combine my English teaching experience with teaching the subjects I had studied (and taught) at university, I knew I had found a position that ideally suited my background.

Working with international students lets me teach two subjects concurrently (Classical Studies and English), while providing encouragement to people who embarking on a brave project (Studying in a foreign language).

My top tip for learning

Remember that what you are doing is very courageous. It won’t be easy, but life shouldn’t be. If it is easy, you’re not getting better.

My top tip for enjoying life in Auckland:

Auckland offers easy access to a good range of relatively unpopulated and unpolluted environments.

Elena ELP (English Language Program) teacher

Elena Kelly


ELP (English Language Program) teacher


My name is Elena Kelly. I live in Auckland and teach Academic and General English at Taylors College. I am a qualified secondary school teacher and specialise in teaching English as a foreign language to international students.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Philology and Language Teaching, I came to New Zealand to continue my studies at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics. Upon graduating from University of Auckland with a Master’s Degree in Language Teaching and Learning, I was fortunate to be offered a position as an ELP teacher at Taylor’s College.

A tip to succeed

My advice to new students is to practise every day! Create a study plan. Decide how much time a week you are going to spend studying and stick to it. Stay passionate and motivated.

The best part of being a teacher

The people, my students and my colleagues are what I like the most about Taylors College Auckland. It is so rewarding to see my students learn, progress and achieve their goals. I absolutely love living in the City of Sails. I love water and no matter where you are in Auckland, you're never too far from the sea. This is so special!

Student life

A group of Auckland Foundation Year students at Wynyard Quarter

Discover student life at Taylors College Auckland and the academic and personal support you’ll receive throughout your studies.

Campus and facilities

Yi, a student at Auckland Foundation Year

Study on our Taylors College campus in Auckland. Here, you will benefit from a high level of student support and state-of-the-art college facilities.

Our programmes

An Auckland Foundation Year student

Discover what you'll study on the Auckland Foundation Year, Pre-Foundation Programme and our English Language Preparation Programme.