New chairman for group
A principal who transformed a failing school into a flourishing success story has been appointed chairman of the Inner City Principals’ Group.
Bill Barker took over as headmaster of Grey Lynn School in 1998 when the Ministry of Education was on the brink of closing it down.
‘‘The school was in a shocking state when I arrived.
‘‘There were only 85 children here and it was a decile 2 school.
‘‘Its board had been sacked three times during the 1990s,’’ Mr Barker says.
The Grey Lynn resident worked tirelessly to turn the school around and create a welcoming environment where children would want to come.
‘‘Our hook was Arbor Day where each child gets a tree to plant.
‘‘We started that in 1999 and we have been planting ever since.’’
The school grounds now boast a small forest and growth in the area means it is now a decile 7 school with funding for 365 children.
It has also just added a further eight classrooms.
Mr Barker says the overhaul would not have been possible without the support of the community.
‘‘I’ll be the first to admit that you can’t turn around a failing school without community sup- port, they really helped make it happen. And now it’s my turn to branch out and be a bit more visible, so I took on this role.’’
The Inner City Principals’ group covers schools from Pt Chevalier to Freemans Bay, and includes Waiheke Island.
It facilitates professional development and provides a voice for principals within the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association and the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.
Flourishing: Grey Lynn School principal Bill Barker has been appointed chairman of the Inner City Principals’ Group.