An in­spi­ra­tional leader, says board chair­man

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

WHEN the top job at Mata­mata Col­lege came up 12 years ago, Glenn Rowsell did not put his hand up straight away.

Af­ter spend­ing five years as deputy prin­ci­pal, a po­si­tion he im­mensely en­joyed, he was still un­cer­tain about mov­ing into the prin­ci­pal’s of­fice.

‘‘I wasn’t re­ally sure it was the job I wanted,’’ said Mr Rowsell.

‘‘I didn’t ap­ply the first time round.

‘‘But I loved the school and I loved the community and I thought if I was go­ing to be a prin­ci­pal, I wanted to be one here.’’

Board of Trus­tees chair­man Bret Wil­liams said Mr Rowsell proved an in­cred­i­bly stu­dent­fo­cused prin­ci­pal who led by ex­am­ple.

‘‘He’s one of those guys that ev­ery sin­gle de­ci­sion he makes is for the love of the students and want­ing to see them suc­ceed,’’ he said.

‘‘He has been an in­spi­ra­tional leader for so many peo­ple – students, staff and par­ents.’’

Mr Rowsell has seen some ma­jor changes at the school over the years, the most sig­nif­i­cant be­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of NCEA in 2002.

‘‘I like to make sure things are in place be­fore I start any­thing, so lead­ing teach­ers and kids through those sud­den changes was an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney,’’ he said.

‘‘I made a de­ci­sion that we would just make it work the best we could for the students. ‘‘It was a huge job.’’ The changes added to teacher work­loads and Mr Rowsell said his big­gest chal­lenge was to cre­ate time for teach­ers to ‘‘get on and just en­joy teach­ing’’.

As a for­mer English and drama teacher, he is a strong be­liever in ex­tend­ing students’ learn­ing out­side the class­room.

He has coached the col­lege first XI cricket team ev­ery year, di­rected shows, built sets, con­trolled lighting and spent count­less week­ends pac­ing side­lines.

‘‘I have al­ways thought that stuff is just part of be­ing a teacher,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s re­lat­ing to kids on a dif­fer­ent level.

‘‘When I’m coach­ing the cricket team, I’m no longer the prin­ci­pal.’’

See­ing students such as Casey Wil­liams, Bren­don Leonard and Natalie Cur­tis go on to ex­cel at sport has been one of the high­lights of Mr Rowsell’s ca­reer.

‘‘To think they sat in the assem­bly hall and now they’re cap­tain of the New Zealand net­ball team or play­ing pro­fes­sional rugby is al­ways kind of in­cred­i­ble,’’ he said.

An­other stand-out was see­ing a Mata­mata Col­lege team win the World Fu­ture Prob­lem Solv­ing Fi­nal in the United States in 2010.

‘‘For four kids from a lit­tle town and a small school to win an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion is pretty spe­cial.’’

For­mer students would of­ten keep in touch and Mr Rowsell said he looked for­ward to up­dates.

‘‘There’s not al­ways in­stant re­wards in teach­ing – it’s when you see a for­mer stu­dent, 10 or 20 years later and they are mak­ing their way in the world and you think you may have had some small part to play in that.’’

While he was not sure what his next ca­reer move would be, he hoped to stay in Mata­mata.

His part­ing words for his students were to en­cour­age them to grasp ev­ery op­por­tu­nity they were given.

Deputy prin­ci­pal Alan Munro will take over as prin­ci­pal next year and Mr Rowsell has ev­ery con­fi­dence in his abil­i­ties.

‘‘He’s had a long ap­pren­tice­ship, he knows the school and he knows the community,’’ he said.

‘‘He can hit the ground run­ning and that’s go­ing to be good for the school.’’

Af­ter 17 years, Mr Rowsell said it was the staff and students he would miss the most.

‘‘Not ev­ery­body has the op­por­tu­nity to be a prin­ci­pal so I feel priv­i­leged to have had that chance.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.