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Inaugural School Leadership Awards

18 May 2006

Recipients of Inaugural School Leadership Awards Celebrated

Principal of Glendowie Primary School and Co-Head of School at Kelston Deaf Education Centre recognised for their commitment to improving the lives of young people

NEW ZEALAND – Thursday, 18 May 2006 –The University of Auckland School Leadership Centre and Microsoft New Zealand are proud to announce the inaugural recipients of the Microsoft Excellence in School Leadership National Awards.

Anne-Marie Biggs, Principal of Glendowie Primary School, receives the Excellence in Principalship National Award, while Christine Miller, Co-Head of School at the Kelston Deaf Education Centre, is the recipient of the Excellence in Senior Leadership National Award. The two recipients were selected from a shortlist of six finalists from across the country, including Whangarei, Auckland, Taumarunui, Rotorua and Christchurch.

Dawn Jones, Chair of the Awards Selection Panel, says the number of high calibre nominations made the final selection quite difficult: “It was a privilege to consider the nominations and to learn about the inspiring leadership and expertise in many schools throughout New Zealand. These winners, as well as the four other finalists, have set a benchmark to which other school leaders can aspire.”

Anne-Marie Biggs is recognised for her vision, drive and innovation in building a strong, collaborative team committed to raising numeracy and literacy standards at Glendowie Primary School.

“One of the things that really stood out about Anne-Marie was her willingness to take risks and to try new ways of doing things. Her motivation in developing a learning environment that brings together staff, students and the community has resulted in improved student achievement. It demonstrates that she is a principal who is committed to improving education in New Zealand,” says Jones.

During her ten years at Glendowie Primary School Anne-Marie Biggs, with the support of her staff, raised the school’s decile rating, significantly increased the school roll and led the development of an ‘I care’ philosophy that underpinned the establishment of a safe learning environment.

Christine Miller’s outstanding work at the Kelston Deaf Education Centre is also recognised. In this position she has been responsible for leading and managing curriculum changes to achieve the commitment of the Board of Trustees in establishing Kelston as a world-class centre for deaf education.

“Through Christine’s leadership an impressive series of learning and teaching improvements have been researched, formulated and implemented. A belief that deaf students can achieve at levels comparable with other children has underpinned her work, with Reading Recovery programmes being specifically adapted to support this aim. With the support of her team, Christine’s work has made a significant impact on the lives of the students and will continue to do so for years to come,” says Jones.

With her responsibilities in the teaching and learning programme, Christine Miller has led a nationwide project to identify developmental stages in written English for deaf students alongside a team of dedicated professionals.

Ross Peat, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, says it is an honour to be a part of recognising exceptional school leaders in New Zealand and the impact their work has had at a school and community level.

“We salute Christine and Anne-Marie’s leadership in driving innovation and collaboration for their students and staff,” says Peat. “Their vision is part of an ongoing process to help realise the potential of New Zealand’s future leaders within their sphere of influence, which extends beyond the school gates. Their passion for continuous improvement shows through in the supportive environment they have worked hard to create.”

Several other outstanding school leaders were among the finalists. Bernie Taffs, Principal of Tikipunga High School in Whangarei, was recognised for revitalising the school into a positive and inspirational environment in which to learn and teach, with a consistent commitment to high standards.

Lesley Murrihy, Principal of Manunui School in Taumarunui was recognised for developing a specialised curriculum to meet the needs and learning-style of its students effectively, particularly its Maori students, who form 80 per cent of the school’s roll. The work of Cheryl Doig, Principal of Fendalton Open-air School in Christchurch, in developing a learning partnership between staff and students was also widely applauded.

Kelston Deaf Education Centre produced a second finalist. Michael Heeney, Regional Service Co-ordinator, was recognised for his work in uniting and leading specialist resource teachers throughout the northern half of the North Island and establishing active parent and school networks.

The recipients and finalists will be recognised at a formal ceremony on the evening of May 18, 2006 at The University of Auckland, with education, business and government leaders attending, including Howard Fancy, Secretary of Education.

About the Microsoft Excellence in School Leadership National Awards

The University of Auckland School Leadership Centre inaugurated the Microsoft Excellence in School Leadership National Awards in 2006 to acknowledge the special influence principals and others in school-wide leadership positions have in initiating, implementing, evaluating and sustaining programmes to improve their school, its educators, students and the wider community. Microsoft New Zealand is a proud sponsor of these awards.

Nominations for the two categories – Excellence in Principalship and Excellence in Senior Leadership National Awards – were sought from professional colleagues and associates, professional organisations, board members, schools, students, parents and communities throughout New Zealand.

About Microsoft New Zealand

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.


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