2012 Feedback from Principal for a Day

Here’s what some participants are saying about Principal for a Day 2012

Peachgrove Intermediate School’s Louisa Barham and Longveld’s Pam Roa:

The multi-faceted management skills required by principals were an eye-opener for business leader Pam in her first Principal for a Day experience.

“Not only do principals have to inspire their teachers but they also inspire students, administration staff and, at a governance level, the school board. Each of these groups has a unique set of needs,” Pam said.

A “very full-on and well organised” day gave Pam a new appreciation for the work of school principals.

“Louisa is a multi-talented and inspirational leader.”

Hamilton Boys High School’s Susan Hassall and Waikato Business Publications director Alan Neben:

The importance of excellent leadership in schools and business was highlighted when Alan shadowed boys’ high principal Susan Hassall.

“What really stood out was the amount of respect the teaching staff, students and the wider community has for their principal. These very high standards filter down to every level of the school, just like in any excellent organisation,” Alan said.

Alan described his visit as a whirlwind “day in the life” of a principal and was particularly impressed by the efficiency of an organisation employing about 140 teachers and catering for more than 2000 students.

He also had briefing sessions with the school’s deputy principals and gave staff tips for improving their school magazine and published material.

“Hamilton Boys is a great example of how very high standards in an organisation start at the top,” he said.

Waikato Diocesan School’s Vicky McLennan and Institute of Directors’ Margaret Devlin:

Encouraging students to pursue governance roles and starting a young directors’ group are two outcomes of Margaret’s visit to Waikato Diocesan School for Girls.

Vicky said the visit gave senior staff and students a better insight into governance.

“It was good for girls to be encouraged to set their sights high and see themselves as potential governance material,” Vicky said.

Vicky and senior students will attend Institute of Director’s events and are discussing setting up a group for young directors.

Hamilton West Primary School’s Mark Penman and Sport Waikato’s Matthew Cooper:

Former All Black and Sport Waikato leader Matthew Cooper enjoyed a blast from the past during the principal project but he also has the sporting future of his host school in mind.

Mark and Matthew were both Hawkes Bay sports team captains – Mark for hockey, Matthew Rugby – in the early 1990s, so they had some catching up to do.

The visit also reaped dividends of the sporting kind for Hamilton West, which is now better informed about the programmes available through Sport Waikato.

“Matthew addressed two groups of students about careers in sports administration and also met with our head of sport about the excellent support offered through his organisation,” Mark said.

Mark has planned a reciprocal visit to a Sport Waikato board meeting.

“It will great to be kept up to date with any new initiatives coming out of Sport Waikato and how we might use them in the school.”

St Andrews Middle School’s Tanya Thompson and Stafford Engineering’s Roger Evans:

The value of networking came to the fore during Principal for a Day veteran Roger’s visit to St Andrews.

Following his 5th Principal experience Roger connected Tanya with Hamilton West Primary School Principal Mark Penman.

As a result Hamilton West are collaborating with St Andrews to update and further develop their School’s IT strategy, especially e-learning at years seven and eight.

“I’m on the board at Hamilton West as a result of a previous Principal for a Day experience, and I noticed the high level of e-learning used at St Andrews. It thought it would be extremely valuable to implement something similar at Hamilton West,” Roger said.

Roger also introduced Tanya to Child Matters, a Hamilton-based charity dedicated to preventing harm to children.

Cambridge High School’s John McDonnell and University of Waikato’s Andrew Buchanan-Smart:

Fostering links between the university and high school is just one positive impact of the principal project for Cambridge students, according to John.

Andrew’s visit was “empowering and positive” for teachers and students.

“He is enthusiastic and he really understands the school environment…that’s quite empowering for us,” John said.

Melville High School principal Clive Hamill and HealthShare’s Andrew Boyd and Novotel’s Dick Breukink:

Clive said his dual experiences of a half day each with Andrew and Dick in Principal for a Day 2012 affirmed the benefits of the programme.

“As a result I have now enrolled in an Institute of Directors managing risk course and a student has been offered work at Novotel. This affirms the productiveness of this programme,” Clive said.

Clive also learned how critical good governance is for every organisation, whether business or education focused.


Hamilton Christian School’s Cor Bezeidenhout and Habitat for Humanity’s Nic Greene:

A new partnership was born between Habitat for Humanity and Hamilton Christian School, thanks to Principal for a Day.

Principal Cor Bezeidenhout will visit a Habitat build site and school students will take part in the not-for-profit’s Brush with Kindness programme.

The programme helps families in need preserve their homes by painting, landscaping, weather stripping and minor repairs.

“I learned a lot about strategies for staff management and prioritising in organisational management. It was also great to have Nic’s feedback on our strategic plan and his experience of our classes and students,” Cor said.

St Peters School of Cambridge principal Steve Robb and NetValue’s Graham Gaylard:

Principal for a Day was a positive and valuable experience for St Peters, Steve said.

NetValue specialises in analysing DNA and Graham visited a school biology class and met with careers staff.

He also enjoyed lunch with Olympic cyclists at a Home of Cycling Trust event.

The pair plans to stay connected.

Te Kauwhata College Principal Colin Driller and Waikato Chamber of Commerce’s Sandra Perry:

Gaining a greater appreciation of the many skills required to be a principal was an eye-opener for chamber chief executive Sandra Perry.

Sandra has invited Colin to visit the chamber in a reciprocal visit.

“I am sure Colin will find a day at the chamber a breeze compared to the many skills required to be a principal. This experience helped me understand the challenges faced by principals and teachers on a daily basis,” Sandra said.

Attending a workshop where students learned about respecting themselves was another highlight for the chamber chief.