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Long serving trustee becomes national resident

Long serving trustee becomes national resident

Not many New Zealanders have served on three school boards at the same time – but the incoming president of the New Zealand School Trustees Association is one of them.

Taupo woman Lorraine Kerr takes over as president of NZSTA in October and is the first Maori woman president of the association.

Lorraine Kerr followed her children through their schooling by sitting on the boards of their primary, intermediate and secondary schools. She has served as a school trustee since boards of trustees began under the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms in 1989.

But when her children left school, Lorraine Kerr stayed on and she has continued to contribute to children’s education.

“I’ve always had a passion for education and always just wanted to be there with my kids. It was very satisfying being part of making decisions around my children’s schooling. And then when they left I felt a loyalty to those schools so I stayed on.”

Although her youngest child is now 23-years-old, Lorraine is still the chair of Taupo-nui-a-Tia College and has been a member of the national executive of NZSTA for twelve years. She says she is eager to take on the challenge of the top job.

“I’m very excited by the challenges of this role I’m really looking forward to working with the new NZSTA board and all those involved in children’s education.”

Of Ngati Awa and Tuwharetoa descent, Lorraine Kerr says being the first Maori woman president of NZSTA is an honour. She says although the drive of the past two years to get more Maori involved with schools has produced some positive results, there is still work to be done.

“One in five school students today are Maori and we need to get still more parents involved in their kid’s education, and more directly through involvement in the board of trustees. One way to do this is build better bridges between iwi organisations and schools so that’s one thing I’ll be focusing on.”

She also intends to advocate for better training opportunities for new school trustees to enable them to better understand and fulfil their roles and she will continue the push for greater funding for schools.

“So much work goes into fundraising by schools and it’s not right – the operations grant is just not adequate. NZSTA will continue to work with stakeholders and Ministry of Education on the review of operations grant funding. Expectations are high that there will be a positive outcome,” she says.

The outgoing president of NZSTA, Chris Haines, completes his two-year term as president on October 2. A Southland police officer, he will return to his former work and will also continue to serve on the National Board for NZSTA as well as chair of the Aparima College board of trustees.

Chris Haines says he has worked with Lorraine Kerr for the past 10 years, and is confident the association will be in good hands.

“It is with a lot of confidence that I hand over the reins to Lorraine. She has shown, and continues to show, a huge commitment to trusteeship.”


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