School ‘perfect’, head says
A principal who grew a renowned school from just an empty horse paddock is stepping down while the school is ‘‘on a high’’.
At the end of this term, Sherida Penman Walters, 68, will step down as the principal of the private school Pinehurst in Albany.
She has been there since it began 26 years ago, after responding to an ad for a principal placed in the North Shore Times by parents. Penman Walters was given just three months before the first pupils started.
‘‘It was quite a challenge because the site was a horse paddock; there were no buildings, no resources, nothing.’’
At the time, Albany was a rural part of Auckland, not the thriving, fast-growing suburb it is now. Penman Walters said the ‘‘explosion’’ of population was part of the school’s success.
It started with just 34 pupils aged 5 to 8. As the foundation pupils got older, the school expanded and it now covers years 1 to 13 with 850 students.
Another reason for Pinehurst’s success was its most famous alumni, Lydia Ko, the youngest player to be ranked number one in professional golf.
The school supported Ko while she played overseas but she was always ‘‘very diligent’’.
Pinehurst opened to offer a choice to parents of a nonreligious private school with strong values. It offered Cambridge qualifications instead of NCEA.
Now that everything was ‘‘perfect’’ at the school, Penman Walters decided it was a good time to let someone else take the reins, while she decides what to do next.
‘‘The site was a horse paddock.’’
Pinehurst School’s foundation principal Sherida Penman Walters says her 26 years at the school were challenging but rewarding.