Familiar face returns to Tuahiwi School
‘‘Mel impressed the board with...her passion for education.’’
Tuahiwi School is about to get a new face at the helm in the form of newly-appointed principal Melanie Taite-Pitama (Nga¯i Te Rangi).
Taite-Pitama will take over the role at the end of January, at which time the school community will farewell Whaea Sue Ross who has been committed to the school for almost three decades.
Te Kura o Tuahiwi Board of Trustees chairman Russ Caldwell said Taite-Pitama would bring to the role 20 years of classroom, administrative and management experience in both Ma¯ori and English medium education.
She joins the community of Tuahiwi from the Haeata Community Campus in Aranui where she has worked for the past two years on introducing a new model of education and is currently the director of learning.
Caldwell said Taite-Pitama was widely known and respected in the Tuahiwi community.
‘‘Mel grew up here. She previously taught at Tuahiwi School for a period of eight years,’’ he said.
‘‘In her role as deputy principal she was instrumental in leading the establishment and development of four bilingual classes. Mel’s three children are past pupils of Te Kura o Tuahiwi, while her partner is Mathias Pitama and five generations of his whanau have attended the school.’’
Taite-Pitama has a graduate diploma of bilingual and immersion teaching, a bachelor of teaching and learning, a diploma of teaching, and a diploma in pı¯nakitanga, as well as serving as a council member at ARA Institute of Canterbury and co-director of the Tuahiwi Education Committee.
Caldwell said the board took into account whanau aspirations, and worked closely with a specialist search and leadership assessment consultant, and a representative from Te Nga¯i Tu¯a¯huriri Ru¯ nanga, to determine the shortlist.
‘‘Mel impressed the board with her considerable experience, results achieved in leadership roles, personal and professional growth since leaving Tuahiwi and her passion for education.
‘‘She possesses an in-depth appreciation of ‘tuahiwi ki te whai ao’, and an innovative approach to both Ma¯ ori and English medium education. This, along with her ability to think strategically and creatively about the future growth and development of Tuahiwi while still being respectful of our school’s unique traditions, gives the board great confidence for the future.’’
Tuahiwi School will welcome new principal Melanie Taite-Pitama at the start of next year.