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New President for New Zealand School Trustees

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New President for New Zealand School Trustees Association

New Zealand School Trustees Association’s newly appointed president Chris France wants to see the organisation enjoy even more success through a more unified national approach.

Auckland’s Chris France was voted president at the NZSTA’s annual conference held in Wellington over the weekend. He will replace current president Owen Edgerton, whose two-year term comes to an end this September.

Chris France says he decided to be part of the concept of self-managed schools in 1990 as he feels parents should take up the “privilege” of being an integral part of their child’s education.

However, he warns that if parents don’t take up the challenge they could lose this right.

“ If you are going to help your children’s education you need to be a part of it. Trusteeship is a precious right given to parents, and we need to use trusteeship to its full potential.”

A former teacher, he has been involved in education for more than 30 years, and is currently a self-employed Information and Communication Technology specialist working with schools. He has served on several boards, and is currently a trustee at Wilson Home Special School.

Chris France says much has already been achieved through trusteeship, but even more could be done with a more national focus from individual boards.

“Boards are understandably focused on their own schools. What I am saying is there is strength in numbers, and if we want to continue to have a powerful position in the education system we need to mature with what is required.

“The power is in unity, we all need to understand and have a clear image of which roads we want to take and which ones we want to avoid. We want to paint a picture and make sure all boards are part of that picture.”

He says as an organisation NZSTA has matured and is ready to take a more active role in some areas, including teacher education.

“We are the employer of teachers, and we are also parents to the children who are taught by them. So, we want to make sure our teachers have the best possible skills to bring to our children. NZSTA is now at the stage it can take a more active role in teacher education.”

He says trusteeship has made huge inroads in just 10 years, and believes the success of self-management has also exceeded the expectations of some.

“NZSTA was only introduced 10 years ago, and it came from nothing. My instinct is that the Government didn’t really expect this animal to take on the shape it has. Now the issue is the next 10 years and where it is going. I hope to start that process over the next two years to ensure the next 10 years are as successful.”


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