Wednesday February 14, 2018
By Julia Czerwonatis
With the beginning of the school year, Samuel Marsden Collegiate welcomed a new principal to lead their two campuses in Karori and Whitby. Narelle Umbers is Marsden’s 12th principal and recognises the school as a special place with a strong and rich history. “I have been overwhelmed by the kind and thoughtful way that I’ve been welcomed to the school over the last few weeks,” Narelle says. Marsden’s new principal has come from Melbourne where she worked at a prestigious independent school as deputy principal.
Narelle says moving to New Zealand was a no-brainer: “It’s a great opportunity and privilege to lead this school, and moving to New Zealand was an absolute bonus for me.” Narelle is a mathematics and information technology teacher who worked 15 years in the information technology sector before she returned to education. She says in all her leadership roles, she was able to draw from her corporate experiences, yet her passion was education. “I love developing people. I don’t get a thrill from solving math problems but from working together with students and staff.”
Narelle Umbers is the principal for Samuel Marsden Collegiate. PHOTO: Supplied
For her new role at Marsden, Narelle builds on 140 years of school history. “Marsden has always done a fantastic job in educating young women for their time. “These are interesting times because the world has changed much more than schools have. “I believe an independent, innovative and agile school like this one will have a good chance to adapt fast.” She says a strong point for Marsden was that every student is known and treated as an individual. As Marsden’s principal Narelle wants to focus on equipping students with skills that prepare them for “the real world”. “Rather than discussing grades, I would like to talk about the progress students have made in learning new skills. “Competencies, such as creativity, are hard to measure, so we have to find a way to do that. I believe that will be the future of schools.” When asked about Scots College, Strathmore’s all-boys school, and their plans to take in girls, Narelle answered she strongly supported giving parents a choice where and how they want to educate their children. “Yet I firmly believe many girls do better in a single-girls environment. “They leave school and believe every door is open to them because they have had the opportunity to take on every single leadership role.”
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Independent Herald 14-02-18