Meet the Team

We are a team of individuals who are passionate about people, different cultures, and the transforming power of international education. We work hard to ensure our students receive the best-in-class services before, during and after their stay in New Zealand.

Management & Student Support

Rob McKay Photo

Rob McKay

Owner and Managing Director

Rob has been the owner and managing director of CCEL since it opened in 1991.  During this time he’s been President of the Chamber of Commerce and Chair of English New Zealand.  Before the opening of CCEL he worked in radio in Auckland and Christchurch as a presenter, talk show host and rock music programmer.  Rob is crazy about music and loves flying.

Glenys Bagnall Photo

Glenys Bagnall

Principal – Head Office

Glenys is the Principal for CCEL and looks after both schools. Glenys has travelled and worked as a teacher overseas a lot. She came to CCEL in 1995 thinking she would stay for 2 years and then keep travelling – 20 years later she’s still here – that says something about CCEL! She loves coming to work and meeting students from all over the world.  At home she’s busy with a big garden, some horses, and filling the kitchen with good food, good friends and good music.

Gareth  Williams Photo

Gareth Williams

Academic Manager

Gareth leads our teaching team and looks after the overall academic matters at CCEL. Originally from England, he has been living in New Zealand with his family for many years now, and really enjoys talking to students about one of his passions: football (in particular Tottenham Hotspur!). Gareth is also popular in the kitchen, especially when baking his delectable family-recipe cookies.

Paul O’Farrell Photo

Paul O’Farrell

Principal – Auckland Campus

Paul is the Principal for CCEL Auckland. He has worked at CCEL since 2009, firstly at CCEL Christchurch and since 2012 at CCEL Auckland. A proud Irishman, Paul claims that New Zealand is ‘just like Ireland but with less rain and better food’! When he isn’t taking care of the day-to-day operations at CCEL Auckland, he can usually be found cooking, camping or kayaking (sometimes all at the same time).

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Mel Whyte

Senior Sales Executive

Mel has been working at CCEL for many years. She started at CCEL as a teacher in 1996 and enjoyed teaching many wonderful students for over 15 years. When it was time for a change, she didn’t want to leave CCEL, so she joined the CCEL Sales and Marketing team, where she still works. When she is not at work, you will find her in a coffee shop, on the dance floor or out watching live music.

Helen Bu Photo

Helen Bu

Sales Executive

Helen Bu is the Sales Executive looking after our China, Taiwan and Middle East market at CCEL. She came to NZ in 2013 and decided to stay because she fell in love with NZ. With her passion and many years’ experience in international education sector, she is always ready to help students and partner agents. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities and travelling.

Margie Brown Photo

Margie Brown

Enrolment Officer

Our lovely Margie looks after all enrolments at CCEL, and works closely with Sales to ensure a seamless transition from the moment students submit their enrolment, to their first day at school. Margie’s positivity is known by everyone at CCEL, and students and agents find her very supportive. If there is one thing that she loves most apart from her grandchildren and her coffee it’s helping students settle in at school on their first day.

Marie Bristow Photo

Marie Bristow

Programme Administrator

Marie looks after groups at CCEL. She really loves the challenge of coming up with programmes to suit the individual needs of our valued group partners – some groups have been coming to CCEL for more than 20 years. She also helps out with academic administration and enjoys helping students achieve their study goals. She is passionate about movies, books and food.

Rachel Suh Photo

Rachel Suh

Administrator – Auckland Campus

Rachel is our Administrator at CCEL Auckland – the friendly first face students and visitors see. Being fluent in three languages and having a Masters in TESOL, Rachel is like a big sister to our students - answering their general questions, helping them with their homestay and organising our activities programme.

Joelle Anderson Photo

Joelle Anderson

Accommodation Administrator

Joelle looks after accommodation and student welfare at CCEL. She enjoys getting to know all our students and working with our wonderful host families. Joelle loves travelling and has explored quite a few places around the world, including South Korea where she worked as a teacher for three years. Back home in New Zealand she loves cooking, watching movies and going for walks and bike rides at the weekend.

Rachelle de Peralta Photo

Rachelle de Peralta

Accounts Administrator

Rachelle is the accounts administrator of CCEL. Her role also includes IT and Human Resources. She faces everyday work and challenges with a smile. She’s happy learning new things and believes that challenges will help her grow. Her inspiration is her children and she loves going to the playground with them.

Ellen Dakers Photo

Ellen Dakers

Administrator - Christchurch Campus

Ellen is one of the administrative assistants at our Christchurch campus. She also helps manage CCEL's Facebook page. Ellen is a recent University of Canterbury graduate, who spent her last semester living and studying in Aarhus, Denmark. In her spare time, she’s often exploring Christchurch or spending time with friends.

Gessica Bazaglia Photo

Gessica Bazaglia

Administrative Assistant - Christchurch Campus

Gessica is an administrative assistant at CCEL Christchurch. Having started as a Student at CCEL, she is aware of what new students need and what difficulties they may face. Consequently, she does her best to make students feel welcome, helping them with anything they need. Gessica has 10 years of teaching experience in primary years schools in Brazil and she is passionate about kids. She has moved to New Zealand to try a different life style - more peaceful and closer to nature. In her free time, she likes to go on trips around the South Island and learn more about the Kiwi culture.


Arlene Denton Photo

Arlene Denton


Arlene has been at CCEL for some years and often teaches on the Academic English programme. She loves encouraging students to visit her lovely home town Dunedin and can give them lots of suggestions of things to do there. In her spare time you can find Arlene supporting her favourite netball teams and tramping the stunning walking tracks of the National Parks around the South Island.

Brian Hay Photo

Brian Hay


Brian has been teaching for a very long time in several different countries and for some strange reason he still really enjoys it. He finds CCEL a particularly pleasant place to work. He also enjoys good books, fine wine, and playing with dogs and grandchildren. Brian has a keen interest in painting, surfing and learning Japanese. He hasn’t ever done any of these things but he has always had a keen interest in them.

Bruce Wayman Photo

Bruce Wayman


Bruce has had many years of experience in teaching, both in New Zealand and England. Originally, he was a primary school teacher but since 2002 he has been working at CCEL. He finds the students at this school very satisfying to teach and especially enjoys working with those on exam classes. When not teaching or preparing lessons, he likes working with other staff members to solve cryptic crosswords. He lives in a small village near Christchurch where he has spent many happy years restoring an old cottage.

Channelle Carnie Photo

Channelle Carnie


Channelle is one of the arty teachers at CCEL Christchurch. Having grown up in Invercargill and choosing to come to Christchurch to study at the University of Canterbury several years ago, she finds it incredibly rewarding to help CCEL students during their own Christchurch experience as well. When she isn’t holding a whiteboard marker, she’s holding pencils, pens, a drawing tablet, and needles and thread, or making funny videos with her little sisters.

Chris Coles Photo

Chris Coles


Chris started teaching at a young age when he went on his first big overseas adventure in Japan. Since then, he's also had jobs in landscaping, building and transport. He keeps coming back to teaching because he loves it so much! Chris is very laid back and loves living by the beach. Kayaking or surfing the waves, building things around the house, and of course exploring New Zealand and the world is when he's the happiest!

Craigie Withers Photo

Craigie Withers


Craigie has been teaching at CCEL for many years and loves learning about our students and their countries. Although she enjoys teaching all classes, she especially likes teaching on the academic and exam courses. In her spare time she is kept very busy in her garden. She also loves yoga, reading and walking her dog on some of New Zealand’s beautiful beaches.

Elsbeth Hird Photo

Elsbeth Hird

Teacher Trainer & Examiner

Elsbeth is a teacher trainer at CCEL and also works as an examiner here and at two other centres. She’s originally from England but fell in love with the lifestyle in New Zealand and has never left! What she really enjoys about her job is helping students and student teachers achieve their goals. When Elsbeth’s not at work you can often find her on a bike, in a kayak or practising her paddle-boarding techniques on the beach.

Jane Goodley Photo

Jane Goodley

Teacher Trainer

Jane has been teaching English classes and training teachers at CCEL since 1995, and still finds the work fun, interesting and satisfying!! When not rushing to class, Jane can be found at her desk with a strong coffee, discussing course materials and student progress with colleagues. In her free time she goes walking in the hills near Christchurch and travelling to exotic places overseas.

Helena Hampshire Photo

Helena Hampshire


Helena is an English teacher at CCEL. She comes from the sunny shores of Tauranga but has lived in Christchurch long enough to feel like a Cantabrian. Her association with CCEL goes back to 1999, when she taught a group from Japan but she has also worked at several schools in Christchurch. Helena loves getting to know students of different nationalities and learning about their cultures. She is the mother of 2 beautiful daughters and enjoys music, reading and travelling.

Jean Claridge Photo

Jean Claridge


Jean is a Christchurch local but grew up on a farm 30 minutes from Christchurch. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and walking. She also loves animals and has about 40,000 pets! A dog, a cat, 2 chickens, a pond full of goldfish and a hive full of bees. She started her working life as a nurse before discovering what she really loved doing: teaching. She's been teaching English for 20 years and has worked here at CCEL since 2011.

Naomi Victor Photo

Naomi Victor


Naomi is one of our General English teachers. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese and French from the University of Canterbury. This reflects her passion of learning new languages and meeting people from different cultures. When she's not working, she loves exploring new places and being in the outdoors.

Ronnie Smart Photo

Ronnie Smart


Over the last couple of years Ronnie has taught a variety of levels at CCEL, including English for Academic Purposes, Business English and IELTS. He enjoys the friendly and creative environment at the school, and helping students to reach their learning goals. Ronnie loves practicing martial arts, writing poetry, snorkelling in tropical waters, and meeting new people.

Sarah Gingrich Photo

Sarah Gingrich


Sarah has been teaching at CCEL since early 2014. She has taught a range of levels and has enjoyed every one of them. She loves laughing and having a fun time with her class and enjoys doing the same with her friends outside of work. In her spare time you can see her roller skating around Christchurch.

Sim Crawford  Photo

Sim Crawford


Sim has worked at CCEL for 18 months and prior to this taught in Taiwan for 10 years. He can often be found reading the quiz at lunch time in the staff room or having a chat about football with Gareth. Sim comes across as quite a serious person, but inside the classroom he has a different personality and loves interacting with students. He enjoys taking long walks with his family in Sumner and around the port hills. His greatest passion is music and he often listens to bands like GY!BE, Mogwai at dangerously loud levels.

Tim Connell Photo

Tim Connell


Tim is a teacher and language lover who enjoys getting to know all of the friendly faces at CCEL. After studying linguistics at the University of Canterbury, Tim completed his training here and hasn't left since! As well as having fun with languages, you might find Tim playing board games, cooking, enjoying music or making the most of New Zealand's magnificent natural world.

Paul Lemon  Photo

Paul Lemon


Paul began teaching at CCEL Christchurch in 2008 after working in Japan for many years, and has been at the Auckland school since 2012. He has taught students ranging in age from 4 to 80 but particularly enjoys teaching exam courses. When not working, Paul can usually be found with a paintbrush in his hand or his nose in a book, or continuing his quest to find the best ramen noodles in Auckland.

Renee McCall Photo

Renee McCall


From Tasmania, Australia, Renee moved to Auckland in January 2014 and is loving her new life with the kiwis. Having studied at university in Indonesia, Renee has a passion for other cultures and is familiar with language-learning environments. What she most enjoys about teaching at CCEL is learning about and meeting people from other countries. Renee aims for active and dynamic classes and her students describe her as patient, cheerful and sincere. Away from teaching, Renee enjoys being out in nature, keeping fit and socialising with friends.

Tony Griffiths Photo

Tony Griffiths


Tony is from Manchester and still misses the music scene and football from that city. He's had jobs in accountancy and nursing but finds teaching more rewarding.
Tony is very laid back and enjoys snowboarding and surfing when his knees allow it. Otherwise he enjoys nature, golf, easy walks, hanging out at the beach and exploring New Zealand.

Mahan Moteassebdayani Photo

Mahan Moteassebdayani


Mahan moved to NZ in June 2016 and started working at CCEL a month after that. She started her career as a teacher when she moved to Malaysia in 2010.
She believes that a teacher should be like a mentor to their students rather than just being a teacher.
When not working, you can find Mahan either at gym, challenging herself, or at home reading books

Cameron Trow Photo

Cameron Trow


Cameron has a background in teaching swimming (15 years), and carpentry(5 years). He decided that he didn't want to build forever so completed a CELTA course at the beginning of 2017. Since then, he has been working at CCEL. He loves teaching and helping people and finds great joy when he sees the students enjoying themselves and progressing. When he isn't in the classroom, he enjoys playing board games with friends, going out for coffee and, of course, watching movies with his wife.

Athena Yu Photo

Athena Yu


Athena is an English teacher at CCEL with 9 year teaching experience. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in China and a Mater of Science in Human Resource Management in England. After completing her Cambridge CELTA training with Grade A at CCEL, she fell in love with this lovely school and decided to continue her teaching career here. Athena loves learning new languages and meeting people from different cultures. When she’s not working, she enjoys taking long walks and exploring new places. She can often be found doing planking with Sarah, Channelle and Naomi in the teachers' room.

Greg Bray Photo

Greg Bray


Greg has been teaching English for the past 25 years in both Spain and Christchurch. He loves a variety of sports such as rugby, football, cricket, and badminton. In fact, he has played over 300 first division games for Canterbury Badminton. When not playing sport, you can find him in his garden growing vegetables that he will not eat, but will give away to family and friends.

Karly Gandiwa Photo

Karly Gandiwa


Karly studied Cambridge CELTA at CCEL and thought she might like to eventually travel teaching English but ended up back teaching at CCEL! When not in the classroom, Karly enjoys cooking with her husband, tramping, eating food from other countries and going to church.

Jude Nery Photo

Jude Nery


Jude's one of CCEL Christchurch's newer teachers. He's been here since March 2016. He loves traveling and being in the outdoors. An avid sportsman, he does a variety of sports such as boxing, football, netball and dodgeball. When not playing sport, you will see him in his car - he loves going for drives.

Michael Richardson Photo

Michael Richardson

Teacher / eLearning coordinator

Michael runs the eLearning component of the curriculum at CCEL. He loves seeing how technology and traditional teaching can come together to enhance students' learning experiences. After studying psychology and international relations at Canterbury university he spent ten years living and working as a teacher in Japan and Taiwan. In his free time Michael likes roasting (and drinking) coffee, and second-hand shopping. One of the things he finds rewarding about teaching is connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. For him, CCEL is a lot of fun because of the lively international environment. Everybody is friendly and brings their unique perspective to the school.

Linda Ross-Smith Photo

Linda Ross-Smith


Linda, a local, has had a long and interesting career teaching English in New Zealand and Italy. The opportunity in her job to meet people of all ages from different backgrounds and cultures is one of the main reasons she has chosen to stay teaching in this field. In her spare time she enjoys pottering in the garden, exploring the big outdoors, reading and watching Italian movies. Spending time with family and friends is also high on the list of things she makes time for.