Schools across the district are calling for nominations for the upcoming Board of Trustees elections.

The deadline for nominating is noon on May 24, with elections closing on June 7.

Rebecca Wichmann has been a trustee for 17 years. She spent four terms on the board at Te Puke Primary School, has been on the board at Te Puke Intermediate School for nine and is currently the staff representative on Te Puke High School's board.

''The goal at the end of the day is student achievement,'' she says.


Rebecca says boards needs a cross section of skills and experience, and describes aspiring trustees as ''a good all round community member who is interested in the success of all students''.

Any areas where a board might feel more expertise or representation is needed can be covered by co-opting people onto the board.

''You can co-opt so you can get that different perspective and you can co-opt all kinds of different people with different skill sets.''

Board members aren't expected to hit the ground running.

''At the end of the day, if you are a trustee there's lots and lots of professional learning and development you can do through the New Zealand School Trustees Association, so you don't have to have a particular skill set, you just have to have an interest in our community and in our schools - and that's why I've stayed so long and will be putting my name forward for the intermediate [board]. I don't have any children at school any more.''

She says there are benefits on top of from assisting schools.

''Meeting new people. I think that's a biggie - you get to meet quite a diverse range of people. You've got to go out and consult with your community and just being involved [is a benefit].''

She says the work is a little different at a secondary school.


''You've got NCEA and you have to keep an eye on achievement in regards to that - we have different issues in high school from primary school, but pretty much processes are the same.''

Te Ranga School principal Brendan Wilson says the main thing for people to understand is that being on the board is supporting the school.

''It's a rewarding position in that we're setting a strategic plan for our charter and we're looking for a wide group of people that represent a cross section of the school.

''The big element of that is the understanding the issue between governance and managing - a board sets in place a plan and they support the school leaders to carry it out.''

He says being on the board of trustees is a step up in school involvement.

''You are actually involved in the direction of the school and the rewarding factor is you have some element of say.''

Paul Hunt, who is principal at Fairhaven School, says the school is fortunate that as a bigger school there is a good-sized pool of people who can put their names forward.

''But there is sometimes a difficulty in getting a cross section. In the past we have been able to co-opt people so we have a better representation of ethnicity groups or skills in a particular area.

''The biggest thing is they want the best thing for the school and are not necessarily wanting something for their child.''

Unlike many schools, Te Puke High School holds elections for half its elected board positions every 18 months.

Principal Alan Liddle says the reason the decision was made to change was to ensure continuity.

''The down-side of having it every three years is potentially you could end up with a totally new board every three years - that's worst case scenario.

''Having them every 18 months means that you've always got some board members who have the knowledge of how the school operates so it keeps that institutional knowledge going.''