New principal takes charge
After a turbulent year Marcellin College is embarking on a period of stability.
Instilling that sense of calm is new principal Jan Waelen’s first priority.
She says the school community has dealt with more than most.
At the end of 2013 long-standing principal Dennis Fahey retired and Brendan Schollum was appointed as acting principal.
But in September while he was still leading the school, Schollum died leaving the community in turmoil.
‘‘It was a traumatic unsettling time,’’ Waelen says.
The school’s strong character will help it bounce back, the Howick resident says.
‘‘It is a school with great potential.
‘‘Its character is embedded in the community and it very much has a family feel about it.
‘‘Students here already receive a really good education but I want to make it more 21st century focused,’’ she says.
That will be a key feature to turning around the dropping roll – since 2010 the roll has dropped from 713 to 633.
Waelen says the changing demographic and the cost of a Catholic education may be a few of the reasons behind the statistic.
‘‘We want to focus on making this a school that more and more parents want to send their kids to,’’ she says.
‘‘No Catholic child should be prevented from receiving a Catholic education. We don’t want cost to be a barrier.’’
Waelen was deputy principal at St Paul’s College in Ponsonby for the last six years.
She has a passion for Pacific education and this will be a fresh start for the college.
‘‘I’ve got lots of energy and that feeds down to the staff and creates a cycle.
‘‘Everyone is really excited to move forward.’’
Taking charge: Jan Waelen is the new principal at Marcellin College.