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Kuranui still looking for a new principal

Kuranui College, like many other secondary schools around New Zealand, is struggling to find a new principal in the midst of a nationwide shortage.

Recent figures from the Ministry of Education show many schools are without their senior leaders, with 257 secondary principals having resigned from the profession since 2018 – including 45 last year alone.

The Greytown college has been searching for a replacement principal since July last year, after the previous incumbent, Simon Fuller, announced his departure to take up his new role at Mākoura College in term four.

Fuller was the principal of Kuranui for five and a half years.

Kuranui College board chairperson Belinda Cordwell said Fuller did a “good job” of developing the school’s Ignite Programme into a “game-changing curriculum” that has been a “big” part of the college’s success.

During the board-led active recruitment phase, “we had really clear feedback from our consultation period with our community about the sort of principal they would like us to appoint”, Cordwell said.

“Ultimately, after two rounds of recruitment, the board has chosen not to appoint anyone.”

The first recruitment round was held and processed at the end of 2023, while the second took place earlier year.

Cordwell said that in the interim, Maree Patten has taken up the position of acting principal for the second time.

She said Patten has worked at the school for about 30 years, and is “highly competent” and managing the college well.

Cordwell said it is a “luxury” to have Pattern in the absence of a permanent principal replacement.

“We have decided to push pause on the recruitment,” she said.

The board has had extensive conversations about future options, such as recruitment consultation and various other methods and will begin the “best practice progress” in July or August this year, with the goal of making an appointment by late September, she said.

“We have every confidence by following best practice as we have done to date, there is an individual out there that will be the right appointment for our college,” Cordwell said.

The Ministry of Education’s [MoE] principal data shows retention rates nationally are at 92 per cent. MoE said principal retention has been around this level for several years.

There are 36 schools advertising for principals [secondary and primary] through the Education Gazette.

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