New principal wants relationship with community

20:00, Jan 30 2013
 Hamilton Girls’ High School principal
Back to school: New Hamilton Girls’ High School principal Marie Gordon with students Kelly Le Quesne, left, Abbe Meads and Nicole Porima.

The new principal of Hamilton Girls' High School is settling into her role and is ready to get on with her first year at the helm.

Marie Gordon - who takes over from departing principal Mary Ann Baxter - said one of her most important tasks would be to build a relationship with the community.

Though the school term has barely begun, she has been on the job since mid-January and is eager to meet more of the students today.

"My feet are firmly on the ground.

"I hit the ground running."

She is taking in the atmosphere of the school but is not about to make any changes yet.


"The first term here should be about titiro, whakarongo - using your eyes and ears. It is about sitting back and seeing how things work around here."

She said she would bring a "different flavour" to the school but was looking forward to getting involved in the culture of Hamilton Girls'.

Mrs Gordon likes the "tailored approach" to single-sex education.

"I really believe in girls' education," she said. "We are working for the girls and they feel comfortable in their environment and are not competing with the boys, and that aspiration to achieve a high level of excellence is important."

Mrs Gordon grew up in National Park and went to Taumarunui High School where she was inspired to success by her teachers. After completing her university training, her first teaching job was at a decile two school in Levin in 1991.

After learning the ropes in the classroom she moved into middle management at Freyberg High School, Palmerston North, and then spent 10 years as deputy principal at Palmerston North Girls' School, with 18 months as acting principal.

Mrs Gordon is an avid sportswoman, coaching netball and basketball, and is a fan of the Waikato-based sports franchises. "I was always a Magic supporter," she said. "And a real Chiefs supporter because you have got a couple of Palmy boys up here."

Parents can also expect to see her on the sidelines of school sports and cultural events. She is committed to making her presence felt.

Her husband, Sam Gordon, is also a teacher and will work with students with learning and behavioural difficulties in Te Kauwhata, Ngaruawahia and Huntly.

Their 20-year-old daughter is a third-year medical student and their 18-year-old son is on an exchange in Scotland.