Under-pressure principal exits Wakatipu High

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Wakatipu High principal Lyn Cooper has been shown the door – and yesterday she walked from her job. 

In a move that has shocked the secondary school community, Cooper’s sudden departure was announced by the board of trustees, following confirmation from the Government-appointed expert brought in to sort out “serious communication problems”. 

Limited statutory manager Peter MacDonald has been at the school since June, investigating issues highlighted by this year’s damning Education Review Office report, which criticised senior management but praised teaching staff. 

Board member Greg Turner says: “Peter MacDonald has come to the conclusion that [Cooper’s] position was untenable. 

“He’d been hoping to have a discussion on coming to an agreement on the terms under which she might leave. She decided, which I guess is her right, that she didn’t want to have that conversation.” 

Cooper has been principal at Wakatipu High since the beginning of 2008. 

“It’s been apparent for some time that there were real questions about Lyn’s ability to be able to lead the school through the [curriculum] changes that were happening,” Turner says. 

“As far as I’m aware there’s been no questions raised about Lyn’s ability as an educationalist or her commitment or anything like that.” 

Deputy principal Grant Adolph will assume the role of acting principal in the interim. 

In a letter to the school community, the board assures parents that there will be no interruption to day-to-day operations. 

“The board remains committed to any process aimed at improving outcomes for the school and its stakeholders and will immediately seek to ensure that all matters relating to this circumstance are resolved quickly and efficiently,” the letter says.