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Caitlin Ottaway - A role model for her children

Caitlin Ottaway - A role model for her children

Source: Trustee Elections


Caitlin Ottaway’s journey to the school board was meant to be. When her eldest child started at Knighton Normal School, she joined the PTA, became the chair and frequently helped out around the school as a parent helper. When a vacancy occurred in the board of trustees, Caitlin was shoulder tapped for the role. The timing was perfect. She had always thought about becoming a trustee and this allowed her to learn about the role and the work involved before deciding whether to stand for the 2010 elections which were around the corner.

Caitlin read board minutes and talked to current board member to get an idea of what was involved. She did decide to stand and is now the chair of this board, as well as at Peachgrove Intermediate School.

The past six years has been full of learning with a few challenging situations along the way. Complex school property projects at both the schools, in particular, have been a huge focus of hers during the past year.

But Caitlin has enjoyed the challenges. In fact, some of her most rewarding moments have stemmed from her involvement in working towards and achieving successful resolutions to issues the schools’ boards have faced. She is also proud to know that her contributions, combining with those of her fellow board members and school staff, have brought about positive results in enhancing student achievement.

All the hard work has provided Caitlin with a lot of personal reward as well, helped by the many professional development opportunities given to trustees. She has also gained NZSTA School Trustee Accreditation this year.

"My confidence as a leader has grown, and I have learnt an enormous amount about school processes, legislation, compliance… the list goes on!"

While some people may focus on the fact that she is doing a lot of work for free, Caitlin has enjoyed having something useful to focus on, and the reward is knowing that she is being a great role model to her own children and an example of contributing to their local community.

Caitlin is standing again for Peachgrove intermediate this year, and says others who have student achievement at the top of their mind, can make a difference. "This is a rewarding opportunity to share your time, skills and knowledge, to contribute back to the school and the local community.

"I am proud to be a part of an important team where my input has been productive and valued. And I have met lots of great people and made new friends along the way."

Election Project Manager Janet Kelly says schools need informed people with a balance of skills and experiences to stand for election as trustees.

Parents, caregivers and people from the wider community can be nominated for election to a school board. It is important that the board reflects its community.

"We need people who can make a positive difference for their local school. A well run school board has the power to lift student achievement - which will then benefit the whole community", she says.

"Anyone interested in more information about trusteeship should contact their local school."

The call for nominations for school trustees will be happening for most schools by the 6th May and closes on the 20th May.


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