Power to the People

By emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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THE PRINCIPAL: Wairarapa College's new principal Shelley Power. PHOTOS/FILE
THE PRINCIPAL: Wairarapa College's new principal Shelley Power. PHOTOS/FILE

Wairarapa College's new principal could be the pick-me-up that school and staff are waiting for, after a rocky start to the year.

Shelley Power, who is now the Associate Principal of Katikati College in Bay of Plenty, was named Wairarapa College's new principal this week,

She will be taking over from Mike Schwass, who resigned at the end of term one amid mounting pressure over the college's financial crisis.

The school was put into Ministry of Education management in December, following confirmation it owed $1.86 million as a result of overstaffing.

Ms Power said she was "aware of the things that have been happening with the school" and said that the school had been "really lucky" with the leadership it has had in that time- "that'll be the starting point for me".

"I think at this stage what I really want to do at Wairarapa College is get to know people and work with their strengths.

"There are some great strengths there and Masterton is a great community, I've met some fantastic young people already and some really enthusiastic staff. What I'm looking forward to is building on the best that's there."

Ms Power has had extensive experience in a range of co-educational colleges and was selected from an "extremely strong field of applicants", said Wairarapa College commissioner John Carlyon.

"She has a BA degree in English and has been completing a study towards her masters degree in educational leadership; and she brings a highly successful background and experience of school change, enhancement and development," Mr Carlyon said. "The panel is delighted with the personal and professional qualities she brings to this new role."

Ms Power will take up her appointment at the college next month, bringing her two cats to Masterton with her.

She said her first and foremost focus upon arrival would be to get involved with the Masterton community.

"A lot of the best conversations that have anything to do with school happen at places like the supermarket, on the sides of sports fields, all those sorts of places, so it's very important to be as involved as possible in the community. I want the community to know me and I really want to get to know each of them."

Until she takes up the role, Peter Gould will continue in an acting capacity.

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