To become the first principal of a new school is an honour, Melanie Hamilton says.
The Gore High School acting rector has been announced as the principal of the Longford Intermediate and Gore High merged school.
The two schools will combine next year and a new name for the year 7-13 college will be released soon.
Taking on the principal’s role was the next step in her career, Mrs Hamilton said.
“I’ve climbed up the poutama, the stairway of knowledge.”
She was looking forward to the challenge of her new position and working to bring the two groups of people together.
‘‘I absolutely love people.
“I’m excited by the opportunity to develop our new college’s vision and values in conjunction with the merged board, staff, iwi and the wider community, in a hope that these will help our students reach their academic and personal best.’’
Pupils and whanau would benefit from the seamless educational experience planned, Mrs Hamilton said.
‘‘Being able to build a purpose-built year 7-13 college will provide our students and community with a modern, dynamic learning environment that fosters creativity and innovation, and prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.”
It was important in that process to honour the history of both schools, she said.
Longford Intermediate recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and Gore High was founded in 1908.
Mrs Hamilton first came to the school as assistant principal in about 2002 and then progressed to deputy principal.
When John McKinlay retired in 2022, Mrs Hamilton became acting rector. Mrs Hamilton grew up in Crookston and attended Tapanui Primary School.
After about 10 years of working in a bank, she started her teaching career as a physical education teacher.
She taught at Kingswell High School in Invercargill and Marlborough Girls’ College before coming to Gore.
Merged school board of trustees committee chairwoman Leah Wilson said Mrs Hamilton was chosen following a ‘‘robust and extensive recruitment process’’.
The interview process involved members from both Longford Intermediate and Gore High School board, staff representatives from both schools and pupils, along with the support of two independent advisers.
‘‘Mrs Hamilton is a capable leader and brings in-depth educational knowledge and experience to the position.’’
Her appointment will begin by the start of term 3.
One of Mrs Hamilton’s first tasks with the merged board committee will be to talk with pupils, staff and community to develop on the new college’s vision and values.
An acting Gore High School rector will be appointed from term 3 to enable Mrs Hamilton to focus on the merger.