New leader for troubled school board

Ian Hall
Ian Hall
An independent chairman has been appointed to Mount Aspiring College Board of Trustees in the wake of claims of a lack of governance at the school.

The appointment fulfils one of the recommendations released by the limited statutory manager Madeleine Hawkesby last week.

Dr Ian Hall was co-opted on Tuesday and then voted in as board chairman, succeeding Ed Nepia, who has held the position for the past three months.

A Ministry of Education decision to appoint Ms Hawkesby as limited statutory manager came after a series of events concerning the running of the school.

In late 2019, the Wanaka school received a critical Education Review Office report.

In March this year, a group representing about 80 parents met the board of trustees and agreed there was a need for change. In May, three parents anonymously wrote to ministry Otago and Southland education director Julia Anderson saying they had no confidence in the school’s board of trustees and the principal to resolve issues at the school.

Sixty-nine parents subsequently signed the letter.

Madeleine Hawkesby
Madeleine Hawkesby

Then-principal Wayne Bosley resigned on May 25, after more than 20 years at the school.

He continued to work through to the end of the school term and stepped down for the transition to a new leader.

Mr Nepia said, "as a board we are lucky to have someone of Dr Hall’s expertise."

"To have a new chair with such a strong background in school governance is a real asset."

His experience would be invaluable, particularly over the next two terms as the comprehensive work plan got under way, Mr Nepia said.

Dr Hall was most recently chairman of new Wanaka primary school Te Kura O Take Karara’s establishment board, and has more than 30 years’ experience in the education sector, including as the principal of Otago Polytechnic.

He has also been chairman on multiple education boards.

Dr Hall said he welcomed a further opportunity to be involved in the Wanaka school community and looked forward to working closely with everyone associated with the college.

Ms Hawkesby confirmed she would remain in the role of limited statutory manager (employment and communications) and continue to support the board’s appointment of Dr Hall as chairman.


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