Nervous on her first day at school, Tracy Leader anxiously announced, ‘Please don’t just stare at me but come and shake my hand.”
The next thing she knew was every child in the school hall was shaking her hand and happily introducing themselves to the new principal of Anchorage Park School.
Now the newly anointed principal’s goal is to get to know every child’s name. And from the looks of it she is doing pretty well.
Meeting up with the little ones of Anchorage Park Kindergarten that are on their weekly visit to the primary school as part of an orientation programme, Leader knows each child by name.
“The transition of the kids is seamless as they come and spend some time with us once a week. Their school life doesn’t start at five years of age but from early childhood,” she says.
A former deputy principal of Pigeon Mountain School, Leader says that the transition from a big primary school to a more intimate one is something she is very proud of.
“When you walk around the school you realise how special it is. This small country school in the city that is tucked away in this pocket is so safe and secure. It has amazing facilities. The play area, the school grounds and we even have a wetland–our school is environmentally sustainable,” she says with pride.
“Some of our classrooms overlook an estuary with breath-taking views. But what our kids love most is our very own swimming pool. Children get to swim every day.”
Showing off the reception area of the school originally built in 1966, she says that when she first walked in the school she asked the staff if the area had been newly refurbished and was surprised to find that the entire school is in pristine condition.
Now her aim is to ensure that the roll is healthy. “We have no enrolment zone so all are welcome.”
Leader is also excited about growing the Enviroschool from bronze to silver and focus on the wellbeing of every child.
The commitment of the teachers is huge, she says.
“There is no one sitting in the staff room unlike big schools and during lunch time we have so many clubs including the kappa haka, card club, Stem group. Sports club, enviro gardening, swim club and art extension classes to name a few.
From the school choir participating in community to activities to organising a on Thursday March 12 she says that though she was sad to leave Pigeon Mountain she is happy to be here.
“Honestly I don’t have time to be sad, it is just go, go, go from the time I’ve been here.”