I have a passion for learning and my heart’s desire is to lead a school where every child and every staff member wants to charge through the school gate every day because they love being here. Achieving this involves working together with our staff, our students and our community, all working in partnership to develop this great school.
There’s a popular educational belief that we teach the way we were taught. I loved school. I was a foundation pupil at Hobsonville School and then at Whenuapai School. When my family moved to Wigram Airbase in Christchurch my first three years of secondary education were at Riccarton High until my Dad’s retirement from the RNZAF. When our family returned to West Auckland, I went to Rutherford High where I became head girl.
I was successful at school but I always attributed this to A for effort. I didn’t realise my academic potential fully, however, until later; instead, I left school with University Entrance and went off to see the world, travelling extensively. I brought home my Liverpudlian husband, Lew, a man with a great sense of humour and a talent in folk music. Many anniversaries later, I’ve acquired some special bling but the best presents of all have been our three children, all grown up now into wonderful young adults.
It was through my children attending Playcentre that I became fascinated by teaching. Before then I’d worked in the business world and had a long period at home being a mum while struggling to make ends meet on one wage. I ran a small business from home, was involved as president of the Henderson Play Centre, and headed a community and church-based puppet theatre. Playcentre courses and doing parent help at my local school made me realise how fascinating it is to help children learn. I was inspired by the principal, Elwyn Richardson, who was a national and international influential figure in creativity and Gifted & Talented education. He took an interest in me, suggesting I was a natural teacher and should take up teaching as a career. Within a year I was enrolled at Massey University, and completed a BA in literature and NZ & Pacific history from the University of Auckland, while doing full-time training to be a teacher at the Auckland College of Education.
During my teacher training years I had an early taste of running a school; I ran an out-of-hours music and drama school. Graduating as a teacher in 1990, on the day I qualified I had a job offer from the principal of Lincoln Heights School and progressed rapidly through the ranks, from being a mature ‘Beginning Teacher’, then to senior teacher and then to being a Gifted and Talented Coordinator.
Tertiary training was as if a genie had released a stopper and out popped a passion for education, literacy, art and performing arts. Computers were a whole new world. With my business background I could see their potential so I jumped straight into using them in the classroom. I had some teaching units published by early computer companies. In 1996 I won a nation-wide award for New Zealand’s Outstanding Teacher of Literacy which earned me a sponsored overseas trip. In 2000, I graduated with a Masters of Educational Management (1st class honours), a degree that incorporates MBA papers and education papers. This led to my promotion to a Deputy Principal position at Sunnyvale School, from where I came to Green Bay at the end of 2003.
When I’m not consumed by the job I love, I make time for my family which now includes delightful grandchildren. I love to read, swim, party and enjoy live acoustic music, supporting Lew in his passion for performing in folk groups. My whanau scold me for not doing more painting in acrylics. I’m a fan of watching the All Blacks, the Warriors, and NZ Cricket. Thanks to my son, I love listening to Rock Music – especially Heavy Metal Music. It always amuses me when pupils assume I should like Opera and Classical! They learn you can’t stereotype people. I frequently hear from past pupils and I love getting hugs from little people. It’s what the job’s all about.
I feel privileged to be here, leading the learning at Green Bay School.