INDEPENDENT NEWS

Give it a go, become a school trustee

Published: Fri 17 May 2019 09:19 AM
Twenty-one years as a trustee on Salisbury school board and Peter says the experience has been a real mixture but very rewarding.
"I was asked by the principal if I was interested in joining the board at a school my daughter was going to. I agreed, thinking this was a good opportunity to contribute my skills and give back to the school."
A positive and effective relationship between board, management and staff is critical to the success of the school’s students and its community. Maintaining and growing this relationship is a key responsibility for the board.
"The first few years were relatively easy, we focused on governing the school, students’ learning and development and property management. But a few years ago, Salisbury school was threatened with closure. This is when our board went through a challenging time. "
Peter’s board had to work really hard to fight for their school to stay open. "We learnt a lot through this experience. During the process we became a very strong board and used different trustees’ skills and experience to reach the best outcome. Our school had great support from neighbouring communities and other schools in the region. It was great to see the school had a valued place in the community."
Keeping the school open was extremely rewarding for Peter in his role as a trustee and on a personal level. "I learnt a lot about myself during this time - how to be professional during negotiations, engaging with officials in high level discussion and retaining good working relationships despite having different opinions within the team."
Peter’s message to people who are interested in becoming a trustee is to give it a go. "As a trustee you develop new skills that you can use to benefit schools and community and use in other aspects of your life."
"If you strongly believe what’s right obstructed by obstacles, never give up."
Nominations from school trustees are open between 10 and 24 May. Parents, caregivers and people from the wider community can be nominated for election to a school board. It is important that the board reflects its community and has a balance of skills and experience.
Anyone who is interested to be on the school board, can find more information on the www.trustee-election.co.nz .

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