New principal grateful for support

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Despite a challenging first term for schools, Wyndham Primary School’s new principal is loving the job.

Catherine Lewis started in the role at the beginning of the year and has already had to make some tough calls, including closing the school for three days as a result of the Omicron outbreak.

“It got to a point where we had so many students and so many students’ families with Covid … for wellbeing and hauora, it was important for children to be able to stay home and families be able to recover,” she said.

She was unsure how the community would respond to the decision, but “everyone was very supportive and very gracious”.

“They just wanted the best for the students and for the staff, so I’ll be eternally grateful for that.”

It was about “looking after each other and that’s our school values … be respectful, be responsible, be considerate”.

Those values were what drew her to the school in the first place, Ms Lewis said.

“I knew the staff and the students because I had an outreach teacher role at my previous school, so I’ve been coming out here for a couple years.

“I knew this was a lovely school and when the principal’s position became vacant, this was the universe saying ‘come here more often’.

“I still feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity and I really enjoy working here.”

The staff, board of trustees and community had all been very supportive, she said.

“It’s been a really great term.

“It’s been a learning term for me because I’ve come from a specialist school into a mainstream school.

“The team is really strong here and really experienced and all the teaching and learning is well embedded into the practices here.”

She looked forward to coming to work every day, she said.

“This is a school that belongs to the community … It’s a very warm place to work.

“We’ve got beautiful grounds and really cool kids, who really love their school.

“They’re a joy to spend your day with.”

Pupils had recently been asked to come up with a wish list of things for the school, she said.

Creating a bike track around the school field was among the suggestions and she looked forward to seeing that happen.

Other ideas included a petting zoo, a hydroslide, a zipline, free ice cream, a Nerf gun field, a spa pool and mini bumper cars.