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New leaders at Marsden Primary and Preschool

Marsden Head of Preschool Helen McConnell (left) and Director of Marsden Primary Jennifer Ioannou, with some of their Preschool and Primary students.

Marsden Primary School girls and Preschool tamariki are warmly welcomed each day by their new leaders Jennifer Ioannou, Director of Marden Primary and Helen McConnell, Head of Marsden Preschool. Both have replaced long term staff members who retired at the end of 2019.

Jennifer is the past Principal of St Anthony’s School in Seatoun and has extensive experience in independent school settings, having taught for 6 years in the Prep School at Scots College and 5 years in the Junior School at Queen Margaret College. Alongside her teaching degree she holds a Master of Educational Administration and Leadership. “The opportunity to lead and teach in an independent school setting, which has the distinct advantage of smaller, same year group classes and exceptional access to teaching resources, is a real privilege”, says Jennifer.

Jennifer has a great love of learning and has shown warmth and kindness that has resonated with students, staff and parents alike. Her goal early on was getting to know each of her Primary School girls individually and she is doing the same with their parents and caregivers. She is seen greeting and fare-welling the girls at both ends of the day. “This is a great touch point with the girls even if I haven’t taught them that day”, she says “and a good opportunity to see the parents, too. My daily focus is that our girls are happy, engaged, challenged and supported; prepared for a future where they can be confident and connected, contributing with strong values, ability and citizenship. The positive, happy environment at Marsden that focuses on the girls’ wellbeing foremost and so places them in the best state for learning is key for our girls in the Marsden Primary School”, says Jennifer.

Helen McConnell brings the same warmth to Marsden Preschool, which is co-educational for 3 ½ to 5 year olds. Helen has worked in day cares centres in central Wellington and also has extensive experience working for Te Kura as an Early Childhood teacher, acting Early Childhood Manager and online Early Childhood Specialist. She is excited about guiding her tamariki to become independent and confident decision makers and fostering their curiousity, both in the Preschool and wider Marsden environments. She is also keen to use digital technology in a way “that will make children think critically and problem solve, as opposed to just being on an app”, she says. Helen recognises the strengths in each child and ensures they feel settled and have a sense of belonging, both in the physical Preschool Environment and with their Preschool whānau. “Encouraging their positive role-modelling and the values of kindness and empathy are key to tamariki learning”, she says. “It’s very special when the children recognise emotions in each other and respond in positive ways accordingly”.

Jennifer and Helen welcome enquires for the Marsden Primary (Years 1-6) and Preschool and look forward to meeting families and children.

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has been providing quality independent education for over 140 years. While honouring tradition it delivers a wide-ranging, modernised and future-focused curriculum, with a strong emphasis on student wellbeing. Marsden is New Zealand’s first Visible WellbeingTM school. Marsden provides education for girls from Years 1-13 and has a co-ed Preschool.

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