Principal to retire just weeks after board resigns

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014
silverdale school
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

SILVERDALE NORMAL SCHOOL: A commissioner has been appointed to the school.

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The principal of a Hamilton primary school where a commissioner was recently appointed has announced she will retire.

But the Silverdale Normal School community is keen to support the school, and ideas offered range from barbecues to beautification projects.

Commissioner Richard Clarke was appointed to the school on July 31, to replace a month-old board of trustees which collectively resigned.

And early this week principal Lynne Holder's intention to retire was announced.

Holder was unavailable for comment before print, but Clarke said the retirement was her decision.

As commissioner, Clarke held two information meetings for parents and caregivers on Tuesday and they attracted more than 80 school community members keen to help Silverdale move on.

But why the board resigned remains a mystery.

"At the end of the day, the board resigned for their own reasons so I don't go back into that," Clarke said.

The board was obviously working through problems but he did not know much about them when he was appointed.

"And I wouldn't want to know because that could prejudice my thinking," he said.

"I've seen some good things here. I've seen lively, bubbly tamariki keen on their learning, good interchanges with their teachers. And we just have to keep building and building and building."

Several parents and caregivers at the evening meeting said they had thought things were going well at Silverdale and the appointment of a commissioner had come as a surprise.

Those present wanted to get behind the school, and one suggested holding family events such as working bees.

Another offered his time at weekends for a school beautification programme, to show his support for Silverdale and the commissioner.

They also had suggestions for improvement at the school, including more open communication.

And Clarke plans to keep the community updated with monthly hui reviewing the school's progress.

"When things go somewhat wrong . . . we talk only about that.

"We don't talk about the positives when things are going slightly wrong," he said.

"We have to turn that talk around."

Clarke has a further two weeks to finalise his report and action plan for the Ministry of Education and plans to share some of the information at a further hui in about a month's time.

Other jobs on his list include the search for a new principal and creating a parent and caregiver reference group.

Workshops will then lead to the appointment of a new board of trustees.

"What we're moving towards is the school returning to total self governance," Clarke said.

"One of the success indicators [of my job] is that you're now unemployed."

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- Waikato Times

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