Jan is a list Member of Parliament based in Tauranga. She was born in Hokitika and grew up rurally on the outskirts of Christchurch. Jan attended Villa Maria College before graduating from Christchurch College of Education with a Diploma in Teaching (Primary) and the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Education. In 2016 she graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Master’s in Education with First Class Honours.
Jan pursued a career in primary school teaching which saw her working in schools in Invercargill and Greymouth before embarking on a career as a school principal. Over her 20 years as a primary school principal, she led across four schools across Southland and Tauranga.
Jan’s last position as principal before entering politics was Merivale School, in one of Tauranga’s most financially disadvantaged communities. Throughout her career in education, she has fiercely advocated at a national level for equal educational opportunities. After seeing families struggling in her local community, she has campaigned for them to access everything they need to thrive.
Jan’s entry into politics stemmed from her belief that the Government has a role to play in ensuring all New Zealanders have access to the services they need to help them to be the best they can be.
Jan is currently the Minister of Education, Minister for Child Poverty Reduction and Minister for Women.