Our Leadership Team

The Chief Executive/Chief Review Officer and Deputy Chief Executives make up the Leadership Team.


Nicholas Pole - Chief Executive/Chief Review Officer

“I have a clear vision to strengthen the quality and equity of education outcomes for all children in New Zealand.”

Nick joined ERO in 2017. He was previously the Deputy Chief Executive for the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, and spent time heading up special education services at the Ministry of Education. 

While living in Australia, he was the Deputy Secretary with the Victorian State Department of Education and Training. He was responsible for maternal and children’s health services and school operations.

Nick is committed to ensuring that children from all backgrounds, at all levels of education, experience learning and teaching that is culturally appropriate, supportive and inclusive. He is firmly committed to helping ERO achieve its ambition of Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori.


Melissa O’Carroll - Acting Deputy Chief Executive Review and Improvement Services

Melissa O’Carroll is the Acting Deputy Chief Executive Review and Improvement Services.

In this role, Melissa provides oversight of ERO’s review work in English-medium early childhood services and schools.

Melissa has worked in the education sector for many years, including as an Assistant Principal. Prior to coming to ERO, Melissa worked at the Ministry of Education as Group Manager, Corporate Strategy & Performance.

Melissa is an accomplished leader, having worked in a variety of roles across portfolio and programme management, service design and operational delivery, behaviour change and capability, development, and translating and implementing strategy so it positively impacts frontline workers and service users.

Melissa is committed to equity and excellence and quality education for every learner, with a focus on Māori success as Māori.

Melissa holds a Master of Educational Leadership, Bachelor of Education and Diploma of Teaching.


Ruth Shinoda - Deputy Chief Executive: Head of Te Ihuwaka | Education Evaluation Centre

Ruth leads Te Ihuwaka, ERO’s Education Evaluation Centre

Drawing on local and international research, the Centre aims to build a stronger evidence base to better support decision makers at all levels of our systems — from teachers to leaders.

Ruth is passionate about ensuring all children get the education they need to thrive. Her role enables her to do that through looking at education outcomes for children, what contributes to them and identify opportunities to improve them.

Previously, Ruth has worked in education research and policy in New Zealand (including as Associate Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education), in England (for the Department of Education) and  Japan (as a Dawia Foundation Scholar). She has wide experience in broader social policy and evidence, for example as the Head of the Child Poverty in the UK.

Ruth is currently chair of the Government’s Women’s Network and has a BA Honours Degree in Economics.


Deborah Wood - Acting Deputy Chief Executive Te Tāhū Whare 

During more than six years with us, Deborah has worked across many aspects of ERO including school/kura evaluation, system research, resource development and methodology and professional practice. In a prior role, Manager Evaluation Research and Methodology – Māori, Deborah led foundational research and resource work within Te Tāhū Whare.

This includes system evaluation on behalf of other agencies to drive their decision making, and our own body of work building the knowledge base relating to Māori learner success including Nihinihi Whenua and Te Kura Huanui. 




Jeremy France - Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Services

Jeremy leads the Corporate Services directorate. Jeremy joined ERO as the Manager Human Resources having previously held a number of management and technical roles with Inland Revenue.

Leading Corporate Services has allowed him to gain a wide range of knowledge and experience while working with the expert practitioners in the group.

The current focus is on modernising our systems and equipment to support all our staff.