The Empowered Learning Trust is run by a group of volunteers with a passion for people, the community and for education. We give our time freely with the aim of removing barriers to learning so young people can realise their true potential early in life, and go on to make a positive contribution in our community.

Our Board:

Karen2a Karen Barker

Board Chairperson.

Dip Pharmacy, Registered Pharmacist; Advanced Dip Art & Design, Business Owner.     Karen is a  Registered Pharmacist (who no longer practices), with qualifications in design, communication and management. She assists her husband Ross in the running of their business.  They have four adult children, some of whom live with Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome.  Her personal experiences with these learning difficulties as her children grew up encouraged help set up the Trust.  Karen was selected as a finalist for the Women of Influence Awards 2019 Diversity category, and was a Kiwibank Local Hero Award for Rotorua in 2019.


Kim2Kim Shearer

Board Secretary. 

Dip Occupational Therapy, Business Owner.  Kim and her husband Grahame are dairy farmers in the Reporoa area.  They have two teenage sons, and Kim is a keenly supportive mother.  Kim is a qualified Occupational Therapist, and then was managing the Reporoa Community Health Service which operates in the wider Reporoa area.  Since resigning from this post after ten years of service in this position, Kim has trained to become an Irlen Screener and has been screening for the Empowered Learning Trust programs for seven years.


YvonneYvonne Hathaway

Board Treasurer

Business Owner.  Yvonne and her husband, Graeme, are dairy farmers in the Reporoa area. She is the dedicated mother of their three adult sons. One of Yvonne’s interests includes education and this has created an awareness in her, that all children deserve a learning experience that promotes positive outcomes. She believes that identifying barriers and early intervention are the keys to helping those with learning difficulties.   She is excited to be able assist individuals and families, whose lives are affected by learning challenges and differences, through the work of the Empowered Learning Trust.


KathyKathy Cane

NZ Registered Nurse, Business owner.   Kathy and her husband Malcolm run a deer farm in Reporoa, including production of their own dietary supplement Canes Deer Velvet, which is sold online. They have 3 adult children.  Kathy is a Registered nurse who has a passion for understanding how the human body functions, and is currently studying bioenergetics. Her vision is that the Empowered Learning Trust will make a difference  for those challenged with learning difficulties so that they may follow a more positive path in life, than they may otherwise have.


SarahSarah McKnight

Royal Society of Health, Dip (Edin) Nursery Education, Business Owner. (Board Member, Irlen Screener). Sarah dairy farms in Reporoa with her husband Euan. She is proud Mum to 3 daughters, and has been an active member of the Reporoa community since emigrating from Scotland 20 years ago. With a keen interest in child development, it is Sarah’s belief that every child has the right to be equipped for the best level of education and opportunities available to them. Sarah has trained to become an Irlen Screener and has been screening for the Empowered Learning Trust programs for seven years.

AnnabellAnnabell Lane        

Teacher, SENCO and Literacy Support Reporoa College (Board MemberAnnabell is married to Mathew and have two primary school age daughters who attend Broadlands school. Annabell’s husband managers  Landcorp Rotomahana, and she is a teacher at Reporoa College. Her role  is Literacy Support teacher for four days a week, providing intensive reading programmes for year 7-9 students who are below their level and other support. Annabell also relieves  regularly when she is not busy with Angus genetic data on the farm.  Annabell is loving being a part of the Reporoa community, and she is excited about the support the Empowered Learning trust is offering the youth of our community and look forward to being able to contribute from both a teachers and parents perspective.



Anne Roder

Business Owner, (Board member).  My husband, Daryl & I work and live locally in Reporoa. I have been involved in community in various organisations especially during our children’s years at school, but I’m a new member to this Board. I really believe in what we do, and the positive changes we can make to a child’s  learning.


Our Staff:

Funding Manager

Hayley websiteHayley Hathaway

NZ Diploma in Business, NZIM Diploma in Management, Diploma in Marketing, Diploma in Human Resources .  Hayley and her husband Robert are dairy farmers in Reporoa. She has three young children. Hayley is passionate about identifying and supporting special learning abilities after the diagnosis of her son with Dyslexia and APD. She believes in equitable access to support and wants each child to feel happy and confident at school. She is keen to raise awareness both school and community-wide of these common learning abilities that present challenges to so many. Hayley is excited about contributing to the incredible work Empowered Learning Trust has achieved so far.


Community Screeners         

Our team of screening staff that visit schools and deliver screening services includes, Sarah who has worked as a screener for eight years, and Keren and Andrea who have recently joined our team in 2020.

Andrea Muggeridge  email:







Keren Leslie







Sarah McKnight