Heads heading to Harvard

19:08, Jun 19 2014
Marlborough school principals
DISTANCE LEARNING: Marlborough school principals fly to the United States next month for a seven-day leadership course at Havard University.

With school holidays just around the corner, nine Marlborough principals will have no time to rest as they fly to the United States to start a leadership course at one of the world's most prestigious universities.

The head teachers travel to Havard University on July 2 for the seven-day programme.

Renwick School principal Simon Heath, who organised the trip, said professors at the top of their field would be leading the course of 100 principals during the intensive seven days.

"It's purely leadership-focused - educational leadership - specifically targeting principals to lead their schools, lead their community, lead their kids, lead their staff."

They were unsure what topics would be covered on the programme, but previous courses had covered emerging technology that transformed education as well as strategic planning and more community-focused learning, Heath said.

"We are going to benefit pretty significantly.


"The impact on Marlborough when we get back won't be, ‘right we've arrived', we get off the plane and ka-boom it's all working.

"It will take six to 12 months before everything starts," Heath said.

"We've got to manage that process ourselves, all that learning and what is there for us, how is that going to impact here?"

Heath attended a similar course at Harvard University in 2012, and said it was "easily the very best" professional development programme he had done.

"The impact for me, not just as a principal but in my school as a result of that [course], has been very significant, so it was really valuable."

Heath looked forward to revisiting the programme and learning new skills.

"Two years ago I was on my lonesome with 90-odd other principals from all around the world.

"Now there is going to be nine of us [from Marlborough] and we will have a reasonable-sized cage to rattle."

Funding to get all nine principals to Harvard was a joint effort from their school boards, the Marlborough Principals' Association, Jack Checkley, the Thorburn Trust and they were paying some costs themselves.

They had to submit assignments to be accepted to the course.

"A lot of us got in, so that tells you about the level of quality of education in Marlborough," Heath said.

They will give presentations to their boards, the association, the community and Education Minister Hekia Parata when they return.

The principals are Tania Pringle, of Seddon School; Gaylene Beattie, of Springlands; Andrew Read, of Bohally Intermediate; Simon Heath, of Renwick; Alister Bridgman, of St Mary's; Dave Parsons, of Riverlands; Cheryl Wadworth, of Tua Marina; David Nott, of Mayfield School; Willem Lampe, of Waikawa Bay.