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Hamilton Principal Elected New NZEI President

Hamilton Principal Elected New Nzei President For 2006

Hamilton primary school principal, Irene Cooper, will become the National President of the country's largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, next year.

She was elected on the final day of the union's Annual Meeting in Wellington which was attended by 400 members. Irene will become National President on January 1 next year, taking over from the current National President Colin Tarr.

NZEI Te Riu Roa has 44,700 members working as:

* Teachers and principals in primary schools

* Teachers in early childhood education services

* Support staff in early childhood education, primary and secondary schools

* Special education staff in early childhood, primary and secondary schools

* School advisers

Irene Cooper is the principal of Hillcrest Normal School in Hamilton. She's currently the National Vice President of NZEI and has been on the union's National Executive for 14 years.

She qualified as a teacher in England and began her teaching career in New Zealand in 1972. She spent several years as a full time reliever before getting her first permanent teaching job at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Ara Rima in Hamilton. She was appointed deputy principal at Gordonton School near Hamilton in 1991 and Assistant Principal at Knighton Normal School, in Hamilton, in 1994. She has been principal at Hillcrest Normal School since 1996.

Irene Cooper has a Masters of Education Leadership with honours, a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Teaching.

"I'm proud to be a teacher. The work is demanding but extremely rewarding," says Irene Cooper. "I'm also proud to a member of NZEI, because every member of the union is committed to providing a quality education for New Zealand's children."

Nigel Wilson, the principal of Kaikorai Primary School, in Dunedin, was elected NZEI's National Vice President.

Six new members were elected to the union's National Executive.

* Karl Vasau, deputy principal, St Bernadettes School, Naenae, Hutt Valley.

* Chris Panther, teacher, Somerfield School, Christchurch.

* Mahoney Topia, occupational therapist, Carlson School for children with cerebral palsy, Epsom, Auckland.

* Manu Pohatu, early childhood teacher, Te Kohanga Reo o Ngaa Kuaka, Silverdale, Hamilton.

* Maramena Tipiwai, teacher, Rotorua Primary School, Rotorua.

* Hayley Whitaker, early childhood education adviser based in Hastings.

15 other members were returned to the National Executive of NZEI Te Riu Roa

* Sandi Abel, principal of Dovedale School in Wakefield near Motueka

* Jonathan Ramsay, teacher, Mt Eden Normal School, Auckland

* Margaret Ready, Assistant Principal, New Windsor School, Avondale, Auckland

* Vincent Ridgway, Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour, Moerewa School, Northland

* Annette Patterson, support staff, Catlins Area School, Owaka, South Otago

* Brian Laing, principal at Wesley Primary School, Mt Roskill, Auckland

* Diane Leggett, principal at Karori Normal School, Wellington

* Frances Nelson, principal at Fairburn School, Otahuhu, Auckland

* Judith Nowotarski, head teacher at Hawera Kindergarten, Taranaki

* Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips, early childhood education lecturer at Waikato University School of Education.

* Mereana Epi Mana, librarian at Ellerslie District School, Auckland

* Ian Leckie, principal at Tahatai Coast School, Papamoa, Bay of Plenty

* Megan Rich, teacher, St Albans School, Christchurch

* Winifred Morris, special education adviser, Palmerston North

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