Top head for Shotover school

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A leading Southland principal has been appointed to head Queenstown’s new Shotover Primary school.

Otautau School principal Ben Witheford will take up the job in May, ahead of the school opening next year in the Shotover Country subdivision, beside Lake Hayes Estate.

Witheford is president of the Southland Primary Principals Association and is convening this year’s New Zealand Principals Federation conference which will be held in Invercargill.

Seven years ago he took over Otautau School following a poor Education Review Office report and has turned the school around.

“We had a high calibre of respondents but Ben stood out due to his strategic skills but also very real examples of engaging with staff, students and the wider community,” Shotover Primary establishment board of trustees chair Sally Mingaye-Hall says.

Witheford, whose family has a long association with Queenstown, says: “The prospect of leading a school from the beginning is an opportunity that is rarely available in a leader’s career.”