Raglan Area School’s new principal says first job is to build relationships

Raglan Area School welcomes new principal Louisa Barham in 2019 who is filling the shoes of retiring principal Malcolm Cox.

Principal of Hamilton’s Peachgrove Intermediate School for the past 15 years, Louisa currently manages 480 students and 50 staff members.

She’s looking forward to moving to Raglan permanently. Husband Ricky has owned the local butchery for more than two years now and he has a long affiliation with Whaingaroa, having grown up in Ngaruawahia. She also has a personal connection to the area through her paternal grandparents who farmed here in the 1930s and her father attended school in Raglan as a young boy.
“I’m really excited to finally have the chance to live in the community.”

Louisa plans to initially work on building strong relationships with the staff, students and the wider community.
“My first job will be to get in and actually listen and observe; to learn about the school’s unique character and culture.”

Although change will come with time, Louisa believes Raglan Area School already has a strong foundation and says there are many positives to work with.
“I’m wanting to add value to the good practices already happening in the school and to contribute in a meaningful way.”

She says the school already has what many schools in Aotearoa are now trying to implement in working together to create improved learning pathways for students of all ages.

“Raglan is naturally centred and learning within the goals, beliefs and aspirations of the local community. I am excited about Raglan Area School’s courage, conviction and clear commitment to students living and learning within a bicultural, sustainable and ecological environment.”

Louisa is also the lead principal of the He Piko He Taniwha Kaahui Ako (Hamilton Central Community of Learning), which includes Hamilton Boys High School, Hamilton Girls High School and Hamilton East Primary School.
These schools have been working together for the past three years to learn from each other with the aim of improving learning outcomes for students at risk of underachievement.

Raglan Area School board of trustees’ chair Chris Banks says the school is very fortunate to have Louisa on board.
“Louisa brings extensive educational experience, a strong interest in student well-being and future-thinking to the role, ensuring that Raglan Area School will continue to build on striving towards educational excellence and ensuring students are well-prepared for their futures beyond school.”

Louisa won the board over for being a passionate educator, leader, strategic thinker and innovator after a thorough recruitment process representing all community groups, he says.
“We believe she will bring strong leadership skills, curricular focus, be instrumental in developing more learning opportunities for students and build on our strengths and values.”

Louisa is looking forward to meeting staff and students later this year before she officially takes up her new role in January 2019.

Janine Jackson