Principal applicants line up

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The vacant spot of principal for Wakatipu High has already attracted several potential applicants, a board member says. 

The job – left open after ex-principal Lyn Cooper’s controversial exit last year – has recently been advertised in the nationwide Education Gazette and overseas, board member Greg Turner (right) confirms. 

The closing date is March 16. 

Turner says the board’s pleased with the amount of people who have come forward about the job and will be making contact during the coming weeks. 

“We’ll be approaching people that we’re interested in as well to make sure they’re aware of the position,” Turner says. 

Last week the board formed the selection panel for the new appointment. Chairman Alistair Nicholson leads the group, with fellow members Kathryn Smith and Turner. A staff representative will also be on the panel, as will acting principal Paul O’Connor – who was brought in to temporarily run the school. The collective board will make the overall decision. 

Limited statutory manager Peter Macdonald, who fired, then re-hired and then finally accepted Cooper’s resignation, will take a back seat in the employment procedure. 

“He’s comfortable with the board running that process,” Turner says. 

All going well, the new leader will start the job no later than term three – which will signal a fresh chapter at Wakatipu High. 

The school’s management team has been in turmoil since an Education Review Office report damned them in March last year. Subsequently, Cooper was sacked in September by Ministry of Education-appointed Macdonald. 

Cooper, after lodging a complaint with the Employment Relations Authority, then returned to run the school alongside stand-in principal O’Connor in November. She also took a week-long holiday to Australia during the final days of term – one week before resigning. 

Mountain Scene has previously revealed Macdonald also eventually plans to run the ruler over other senior 
management jobs.­–