South Australia and New Zealand Principal Exchange

Now in its second year, the principals exchange offers principals unique professional development.

Janice Gulbransen from Nayland Primary School, Nelson, and Chris Roberts from Streaky Bay Area School, South Australia, talk about their experiences.

The size and location of the schools was an adjustment and an enlightening experience for both Janice and Chris. In Streaky Bay Area School, some students come from a 60–80km radius and they take four buses to get to school. Far West Partnership Schools, the Streaky Bay equivalent to Kāhui Ako, are within 300km of each other!

Nayland Primary School on the other hand, is in central Nelson and their Kāhui Ako schools are within 5km of each other. Janice says, “I have a better appreciation of the geographical challenges area schools face and what a long day it can be for a lot of students and staff.”

Janice and Chris spent four weeks observing each other at their own schools. Janice says, “Shadowing Chris made me think about the decisions I make and why I make them, as well as being able to question Chris on how and why he makes his decisions.”

For Chris, shadowing meant their schools weren’t left to their own devices as he learnt alongside Janice. “I have a very capable leadership team and this exchange has helped develop their capacity as well.”

He also believes if deputy principals act as principals for the duration of the exchange, it would further their leadership capacity and allow principals to focus entirely on the learning opportunities the exchange offers.

The exchange was an opportunity for Chris and Janice to look at how they stay fresh in their thinking, to develop and learn – so they don’t get stale! Janice says, “I had to sit and think about where Nayland Primary is now and what the next steps might be.”

Chris and Janice agree that an open mind was critical to their learning experience.

They also agree that principals wanting excellent leadership development should apply for the exchange.



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