Co-Principals' welcome

from the Otago Daily Times:

Logan Park High School has deviated from the norms of school leadership by announcing Peter Hills and Kristan Mouat as the school’s new co-principals.

Ms Mouat said the leadership model was ‘‘unique’’. Very few  schools in the past had had joint principalships, and Logan Park’s was the only one operating in New Zealand at present.

‘‘The ministry had to sign off on it and there’s a memorandum of understanding which clarifies who does what. We are truly two co-principals and we will share or delegate all the responsibilities of a principal. Obviously we’ll have clear focus areas, as well. For example, Peter will look after property and some of the strategic planning, and I’ll oversee things like curriculum, international students and pastoral care. We’ll be using our skills where they are best suited.’’

When asked how the leadership system would work if one principal disagreed with the other in the decision-making process, Mr Hills said it could only be good for the school.

‘‘There will always be times when there is rigour and debate around particular items. We think that’s a strength. We’re both comfortable with each other’s philosophy, direction and stand-points, and I think that’s healthy and we’ll make better decisions if we’re challenged.’’

Mr Hills has been in the education sector for about 30 years, and about half of that has been at Logan Park High School. Ms Mouat has been in the sector for about 25 years, and about 20 of those have been at Logan Park.

Board of Trustees chairwoman Ronda Grills said the long-awaited result was considered the perfect fit for the high school’s community and its innovative, co-educational secondary school. Ms Grills said the duo had acted in senior management positions at the school for many years, and their impressive complementary skill sets had served the school admirably for some time.

‘‘Now, in the roles of co-principals, they are tasked with steering Logan Park High School into the future, while holding fast to the long-held traditions of respect, motivation, and inclusivity which define the school. Additionally, this pair can stand as role models for our students — a man and a woman working as equal leaders of Logan Park High School. We are excited to launch into this new era.’’

Ms Mouat said the school was now looking for applicants to fill the deputy principal’s position, and it was hoped someone would be appointed to start in term 4.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz