Objective

I am the Principal of Albany Junior High School in Auckland, New Zealand, a middle school with 1150 students, 67 teachers and 31 support staff. In my previous roles as an educational consultant I learned much about the structures, practices, and processes of effective schools that I bring these strengths to my school, in addition to previous Deputy Principal and senior teacher / team leader experience. The time away from schools whilst consulting, reinforced my love of belonging to a school and driving student achievement (academic, creative, and social) to its maximum potential.

My objective is to become the best school principal that I can be and to bring together my life experiences, personal learning about schools and education, and skills and knowledge, and be a part of a great team that will help create future lives that our students  can be proud of.

Work History

Work History
Dec 2013 - Present

Consultant

Visible Learning Plus

As a consultant with Cognition Education, I:

  • Evaluated school performance on a range of strategic areas.
  • Completed needs analyses, and co-design action cycles with school leadership collaboration.
  • Lead professional learning and development (PLD), with a focus on Visible Learning and assessment tools, such as e-asTTle, to provide solutions to the needs of the school towards improvement in student achievement and community engagement.
  • Consulted with schools (primary, intermediate and secondary schools), students from a range of socioeconomic status levels and from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural influences.
  • Delivered quality professional learning workshops, conference papers and presentations.
  • Analysed data on school-wide data (achievement and perception data), and communicated with schools about the interpretation derived.

I was also specifically tasked with the establishment of the 'Impact Schools Project', whereby 15 schools undertook the suite of Visible Learning workshops (which I delivered) and the collective impact was measured, analysed and evaluated.

May 2014 - Present

Principal

Albany Junior High School

School leader of 1150 student school delivering awesome educational experiences to year 7 to 10 students. Leading 67 exceptional teachers and 31 passionate support staff. 

In 2014, we achieved an average of 5% improvement across the National Standards range of reading, writing, and maths from an already strong base.

After a time building relational trust and addressing mental models at use in the school, we have now introduced change through the High Reliability Schools (HRS) framework of Dr. Robert Marzano. Having attended the first US summit on HRS with Dr. Marzano, we are on a journey to become a best practice model for middle years education. So far, I have delivered most of the professional development towards our goals. Other change management processes introduced include:

  • Reviewing and replacing the previous vision and mission statement in collaboration with our teachers, parents, students, and Board.
  • Increasing networking and parent meetings at our feeder primary schools, helping to grow our roll by over 100 students in one year.
  • Implementing a developmental appraisal model and a classroom walkthrough process to ensure effective teaching in every classroom, something aided by our team of excellent teachers. We also introduced a common language of instruction and learning.
  • Implemented the Professional Learning Community process to engage collaborative inquiry.
  • Identifying priority standards to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum alongside critical vocabulary for each learning area.
  • Surveyed parents and subsequently changed our reports towards standards referenced reports, including not only achievement towards National Standards but also progress (using effect size analysis).
Aug 2011 - Dec 2013

Deputy Principal, Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy

Sunnynook Primary School

Specific responsibility for curriculum, assessment and pedagogy. Through implementation of a planned action-cycle and a change program focused upon improving teaching quality and student agency, we improved student achievement against national standards. The change program involved:

  • Devising and producing a School Improvement Portfolio, cross-tabulating student data, perception surveys, demographics, and teacher practices, analysing and sharing the findings with the community.
  • Assessment of teaching effectiveness.
  • Collecting, analysing and interpreting student achievement data, updating MS Excel spreadsheets with pivot tables in order to help analyse and report progress.
  • Developing learning progressions and establishing a scope and sequence for teachers to follow. This involved daily contact with the NZ Curriculum and National Standards documentation. I used these, alongside the Literacy Learning Progressions and Numeracy Development Project, to develop a range of student-talk Learning Progressions for the three core curriculum areas.
  • Following up with coaching walk-throughs every day, with feedback for each teacher.

This data and action cycle was shared with the Education Review Office inspectors and the school received a 'highly effective' result by the Education Review Office and a 4/5 year review period; the first ever given to the school. Subsequently, Sunnynook School received several groups of visitors from international school leaders to explore how we were achieving such good results, e.g., from Denmark.

Oct 2005 - Aug 2011

Assistant Dean, Team Leader, Lead teacher for maths, Board member

Murrays Bay Intermediate School
  • Whole school and team leader responsibilities in a 1000 student, decile 10 school.
  • Assistant Dean responsible for whole school professional growth.
  • Extension class teacher. Consistently achieved highest effect size on student achievement in the school for the three years of measurement (consistently ranging between 1.1 and 1.6, between 3 and 4 years growth in one year of instruction).
  • Responsibility for whole school ‘day talent’ programme of elective days. 
  • Qualified coach and was part of the coaching lead-team for the whole school.
  • Board member at Murrays Bay Intermediate School for 5 years, gaining a unique insight into the governance requirements of a school and gaining an understanding of quality board reports. Also gained a working knowledge of NAGs/NEGs and financial management as it relates to school.
  • Highlighted to school leadership as a high performing teacher in 2010 ERO review.
  • Introduced blogs, wikis and podcasts to our practice. Trained and utilised Smart Board technology.
  • Graduated from the Ministry of Education’s National Aspiring Principals’ Programme.

  • Team member for building a pedagogical matrix (became the measure of effective teaching).

Recent Professional Development Received 

  • Year long Schools Colloquium Programme through the National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative (NESLI) and the Australian School of Applied Management
  • 4 Day Advanced Open To Learn Leadership with Prof. Vivianne Robinson
  • 5 Day Summit on High Reliability Schools with Dr. Robert Marzano
  • Whole Year First Time Principals' Programme with Ministry of Education (NZ)
  • Ph.D. research

Professional Development Delivered

Professional Development workshops led in 2014 have been widespread and effective. The feedback from schools is that this PD has influenced teaching practice for the better within a short time of delivery. Locations include:

  • St. Peter's College and Mawson Lakes Primary School (Adelaide)
  • St. Mark's Dingley Primary School (Melbourne)
  • ACG Parnell Secondary College and Botany Downs Secondary College (NZ)
  • Fruitvale, Mission Heights, Clayton Park Papatoetoe North, Orere, and Alfriston Primary Schools (NZ)
  • Murrays Bay and Northcross Intermediate Schools (NZ)
  • Deakin University doctoral presentations, 2013: “Educational philosophy and social justice and equity in education. Bringing together Foucalt, Smith, and Bishop”
  • 2013 Visible Learning conference, Brisbane. “Building Relational Trust for Sustainable School Improvement"
  • North Shore Senior Managers’ Association Seminar series, 2012. “Towards school improvement using Visible Learning methods, tools and strategies. A leadership journey".
  • Mathematics Education Research Group Australasia (MERGA) 2011 conference, Alice Springs, Australia. “Mathematical Identity, Leadership, and Professional Development in Mathematics: Influences that affect mathematical practice in the primary sector”
  • Published in MERGA publications, 2011. “Hidden Influences That Affect Mathematical Practice In Your School”

Professional Affiliations

Member of:

  • Australian Council for Educational Leadership (ACEL - Australia)
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD - USA)
  • Primary Maths Association (PMA - NZ)
  • Mathematics Education Research Group Australasia (MERGA)
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM - USA)
  • New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER)

Summary

I am passionate about empowering our students for success in their future lives. I am committed to engaging students who see a pathway (university or vocation) to achieve their potential, whether creative, practical, or otherwise, with the help of my school. In 2013 and '14, I was part of a leadership team that introduced whole school change, surveying all stakeholders, acting on findings, and developing learning progressions for core curriculum areas. This saw increases in student achievement of 8% in 2012 and a further 11% in 2013. This was repeated at my current school with a 5% improvement in my first year as Principal through a focus on rigour and a student centred culture.

I am an educational leader with life and business experiences that add layers of capability, including a depth of understanding to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders in the education, governance and policy making sectors. I am a lifelong learner with a first class M.Ed.(Hons.) and current Ph.D. studies, demonstrating proven intellectual and practical educational leadership knowledge. 

I believe, fervently, that education should contain the foundations of equity of educational opportunity, high quality teaching and transparency. I am an advocate of evidenced-based teaching practices and have driven these processes in many schools, giving presentations to schools, school clusters and international conferences. I feel that rigour in theory and practice is a necessary skill of the 21st Century educational leader. Learning from others is part of this approach. Through my own learning pathway, I am confident in my understanding of curriculum, standards, and evidence based practice. 

Finally, I employ the use of technology. I use all web 2.0 tools including blogs, wikis, and podcasts. As a student, I study online on MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) and use digital devices constantly. I have experience in the use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning and try to stay at the forefront of technological pedagogy for student achievement.

Education

Education
Nov 2012 - Present

Doctor of Philosophy (Education)

Deakin University

Research on 'How does the publication of PISA league tables influence education policy making in New Zealand?'

Feb 2006 - Mar 2011

Master of Education (First Class Honours)

Massey University

A first class honours with papers on educational research, mathematics education, teaching fractions, decimals and percentages, teaching statistics, foundations of literacy, and current issues in teaching mathematics. A 3-paper equivalent research thesis on 'The impact of a school leader's mathematical identity on the teaching of mathematics in their school' with Dr. R. Hunter as main supervisor.

Feb 2005 - Nov 2005

Graduate Diploma (Teaching) Primary

Massey University

Achieved an A+ average across the year, being entered on the Dean's Honour Roll as a result.

Sep 1988 - Jun 1992

B.A. ( First Class Honours) in Hospitality Management

University of Central Lancashire

A four year honours degree covering business management. Initially focused on the hospitality industry but leading to a year long placement in retail.  Main achievement in leadership, marketing and accountancy fields.

Received the Hopkinson Trophy for Best Management Student.

Non-Educational Work History

This section offers a summary of work experience prior to becoming a teacher, in reverse chronological order.

Director, Martial Arts NZ Ltd. (2000 - May 2007)

Following my lifelong love of the martial arts, I founded the first professional martial arts school in NZ, becoming the largest such organisation in Australasia (as cited in Blitz magazine) with 400+ students, of which around 325 were children. My programme included bully busters and values education.

Business Leadership Experience, UK, France, NZ, and South Pacific (1992 - 2000)

My first role following my degree was as an area manager in the hospitality trade, managing hotels, restaurants and bars in Southern England (including London). This was followed by a role in the oil business as a retail business manager for Elf Acquitaine, the French petroleum organisation, leading the operations of 22 sites. This was cut short by the offer of a job in New Zealand.

In NZ, from 1994 to 1997, I was employed by Woolworths New Zealand as a Category Manager, responsible for several categories of product for three supermarket brands and as the first project manager for the original online customer shopping system in New Zealand.

I was then headhunted to be Deputy General Manager of Morris Hedstrom Supermarkets in Fiji and Western Samoa, living in Fiji for two years before being headhunted again for an American based retailer, called Cost U Less, and taking up the position of Vice President for the South Pacific region. A Board takeover led to redundancy and entry into my lifelong dream of being a teacher.

Services, United Kingdom (1978 - 1988)Between 1978 and 1988, I served in the  Greater Manchester Police

and the Royal Air Force as a Commissioned Officer (Air Navigator). Having completed one of the World's most stringent leadership courses at RAF Cranwell, I trained for Flying duties an led a flight of 15 men and women.

Interest

Outside of my family time, my Ph.D. Studies both fills my time and is my main interest. Educational policy, Jean Baudrillard, actor-network theory, Bourdieu, school reform, and lots more have taken over any spare time. Prior to the Ph.D., my main interests included reading, novel writing, and martial arts, in which I hold a 7th degree Black Belt in Karate.

Skills

Skills

Curriculum development

The development of priority standards and learning progressions across all learning areas, combined with the development of scope and sequence for a guaranteed and viable curriculum. 

Educational Research

Master's thesis and Ph.D. are all research based with self directed research focus.

School Leadership and reform

Bringing together my out-of-education leadership experiences and my rise through school leadership, I am a passionate and driven advocate for student achievement. With exceptional results at my school, in terms of measured student progress results and teacher, student, and community perception data, I have been part of a team that improved student achievement in core curriculum areas by up to 11%  in ONE year. The school received a 'highly effective' result by the Education Review Office and a 4/5 year review period; the first ever given to the school. My model is that of an educational leader focused on the child. My method is evidence based, professional, and transparent. My tactics include being visible in the school, in the classrooms, and in the community.

Professional Development & presenting

I have delivered professional development to primary, intermediate, and secondary schools (varying SES deciles) for Visible Learning. I have delivered and presented to teams of teachers, to whole school audiences, and at international conferences on all areas of school operations, including evidence-based school leadership, e.g., for the North Shore Senior Managers' Association, NZ; the Visible Learning Foundation International Conference, Brisbane, 2013; Mathematics Education, e.g., Maths Education Research Group Australasia (MERGA), Alice Springs, 2011; Curriculum and Assessment, e.g., Massey University and Auckland University of Technology.

Certifications

Certifications
2013 - Present

Level 2, Philosophy for Children

P4C NZ
May 2009 - Present

Coach

GROWTH Coaching
Jun 2005 - Present

7th Dan Black Belt, Karate

World Kenshindo Karate Organisation
Feb 2007 - Dec 2007

Teaching a Foreign Language

University of Auckland