Passionate about making a difference
Having all four of her children attend Maidstone Intermediate, Heather was interested in understanding how their school was run. "I wanted to give back to the schools that my children had been at, and I wanted to meet new people. I wanted to be involved, but not in a fundraising capacity (I'm so not a PTA person!)."
Now 12 years later and having been on three school boards Heather says that the experience has been so rewarding. "Being involved in setting the direction for the school, helping to manage resources to get the best for all. And knowing I'm making a difference for the school. Extending myself - becoming chairperson was not on my ToDo list, but I've really enjoyed the challenges it brings."
"I’ve met many like-minded people and gained a lot from being on a school board such as negotiation and time management skills and being an effective leader. "
Being a school trustee is extremely rewarding. Everyone brings their own skills and experiences to the table and working well as a board means you can achieve a lot. Heather says that she found it very rewarding being involved in the recruitment and selection of three principals - one for each of the schools she has been on the board for. "As a board we were pleased to see that we made the right decision, to enable each school to flourish and grow."
Boards have the important responsibility of working with principals and school staff, for the combined interests of students and community.
The work of a board is very varied, from principal recruitment to finance and property management, to setting strategic goals for the school. It’s not always a smooth sail and boards have to work through challenges like dealing with the limited funding - having to make every dollar stretch and work doubly hard.
I’m proud to have been "leading the property redevelopment of the school - seeing the amazing learning spaces come to fruition," says Heather.
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 and has a balance of skills and experience.
To anyone who’s considering becoming a school trustee, Heather recommends giving it a go! "Put your name forward. Give yourself the opportunity to make a difference".
Anyone who is interested to be on the school board, can find more information on www.trustee-election.co.nz .The call for nominations for school trustees will be happening for most schools between 10 and 24 May.
About the school trustee elections
School trustee elections are one of the most significant democratic processes in New Zealand and are a way that parents, caregivers and communities can make a difference to their local school. The New Zealand School Trustees Association runs the trustee elections on behalf of the Ministry of Education. NZSTA provides election resources and election advice to all schools to help run successful elections.