I am a rural school principal based in the Southern Wairarapa. I am a strong believer that the key element of educational leadership needs to involve empowering staff and students alike to take action on a shared vision.
My time in leadership has focused on building mutual trust, challenging the status quo, and working with all stakeholders to achieve great learning and well-being, based on modern teaching practices.
What I’ve Done
Principal, Tuturumuri School
Rural School principal. Led school re-visioning, working closely with Core Ed. Implemented a dyslexia programme, leading to an average of 2.5 years academic improvement for the students involved. Led a $100,000 TLIF project across six schools, looking at integrating STEAM to increase student engagement and hauora.
Teacher, Kenakena School
Classroom teacher. Key leadership role in leading the development of digital curriculum and delivering related professional development. Involved in TLIF project looking at using technology to increase personalisation. Led development of collaborative, student centred teaching in 5-class syndicate.
Dyslexia Tutor, Self-employed
Self-employed dyslexia tutor, working with a number of students and teachers across the Kapiti Coast. Focused on ways students with dyslexia can thrive in a classroom environment.
Learning and Living
Davis Dyslexia Facilitator
Training in teaching children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and ADHD.
Graduate Diploma in Education, Victoria University of Wellington
Bachelor of Arts, Victoria University of Wellington
Major in Economics and Political Science, with a large focus on Applied Statistics
Inspire Shared Vision
Educational leadership revolves around inspiring a shared vision. I have spent the last three years building that vision across two different settings, working closely with all those involved to shape and collectively move towards a vision that fits 21st century education and the local culture.
I have been involved in a series of professional development days working with Core Education in looking at different ways to craft school visions, goals and local curriculum.
Model the Way
Leaders model the way - walking the talk. It is not big speeches that set examples, but spending time with people, working side-by-side with colleagues, telling stories that made values come alive, being highly visible during times of uncertainty, handling critical incidents with grace and discipline, and of asking questions to get people to focus on values and priorities. As a leader and a teacher, I make sure that everything I do tries to embrace not only the values we try to teach our children, but also the culture that we hope to embed our schools with.
Challenge the Process
A key component of my leadership style is working alongside others to challenge the process. A lot of what we do in the schooling system we do just because it was always done. A key part of educational leadership is working along side staff to seek opportunities to grow, innovate and improve. This involves cultivating ideas in others and being willing to accept (and encourage) mistakes. I have given a series of presentations on the idea of fostering workplace environments where people take risks and are willing to make mistakes - and try to live by this myself.
Empower Others to Act
Building a spirit of trust and collaboration is key to a successful team and positive collective teacher efficacy. No one person can do it alone, making teamwork, trust and empowerment essential to delivering on plans and goals. A trusting climate, built through mutual respect, allows people to take risks, make changes and keep schools alive and buzzing. A key element of this is building people's leadership capabilities. Most schools have teachers with an amazing range of expertise - as we let children play to their strengths, so should we with staff, allowing them to follow their strengths and passions and add to the school environment.
Encourage the Heart
Last but not least, encouraging the heart is key to any successful school. As teachers, we do this constantly with children, celebrating their successes - whether this be celebrating a child's success in class, or inviting the community in to see the children's learning, Encouraging the Heart sits at the centre of any educational institute. This act also applies to staff - research shows that leaders who show appreciation for people's contributions and create a culture of celebrating staff successes, team spirit and self-belief is created and maintained.
"Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care what they see, take care of what they see. For how the children grow, so will the shape of Aotearoa".
Dame Whina Cooper
2938 White Rock Road
06 306 6106