Iona Holsted was appointed as Secretary for Education on 5 December 2016.
Prior to this, Iona was the Chief Review Officer and Chief Executive of the Education Review Office. She was appointed to this role in July 2014.
Between 2007 and 2014 Iona held 4 senior management roles at the Ministry of Social Development, most recently as Deputy Chief Executive, Students, Seniors and Integrity Services. In this role she was responsible for services to seniors (superannuation payments), Studylink, and the integrity of the benefit system.
Iona also spent 6 years as a Deputy Commissioner at the State Services Commission.
She started her career as a primary school teacher in Auckland, later becoming an advocate and researcher for the Public Service Association, and then as General Manager of a community controlled primary health care organisation.
Iona has completed an executive leadership programme at the INSEAD Business School, and studied strategic leadership at Oxford University.
She has been a mentor with the New Zealand Institute of Management since 2007, is a Member of the Executive Leadership Learning Network and has served on Barnardos and YMCA Greater Wellington Boards.
Iona has a Higher Diploma of Teaching from Victoria University of Wellington and trained as a teacher at Waikato College of Teacher Education.