New focus for new principal

New Waiheke High principal Jude Young wants all of her students to have more opportunities in life.

That is why her focus goes beyond academic success.

The former Marlborough Girls' College deputy principal started on January 20 and is holding a curriculum review after feedback from the wider community.

She says there must be alternative pathways for different learners.

"We can't be a school where one size fits all and we won't be," she says. "I feel very passionate about that. I want to individualise learning and ensure this school caters for everyone's needs."

Ms Young looks forward to learning about the community and is also keen to promote a strong sense of Maoridom and educate all students in biculturalism.

Waiheke High School Trust Board chairman John Stansfield says Ms Young is a fantastic new principal, full of vim and vigour and very well qualified. She beat stiff opposition to get the job after 34 inquiries and 15 applicants who were shortlisted to five.

"There were three who were outstanding," Mr Stansfield says.

"The whole board interviewed them and we narrowed it down to two. Nine people voted and the result was as close as it possibly could be."

The board carried out surveys and organised meetings to find out what people wanted for the school.

Mr Stansfield says results showed people were pleased the academic standard had lifted but now want a broader approach - looking at all the successes young people can have.

He and the rest of the board decided Ms Young had the right experience and understanding to achieve that.

"It was a really closely fought contest but we have determined the outcome.

"The board will be strongly supporting the principal."

Ms Young, who is living in Onetangi after her move from Blenheim, says she is being made to feel hugely welcome by school staff.

"It's wonderful," she said. "I feel really affirmed by that, particularly as a new person on the island."

The Marlborough Express