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New Faculties of Learning

In 2019, our teaching and learning structure has moved away from the traditional ‘department’ model to a new faculty structure. The purpose of this new structure is to provide greater opportunities for strategic planning, develop more cohesion between similar learning areas, and create an environment where collaborative support is enhanced, resulting in improved learning outcomes for our students.


The key changes that this new faculty system will bring about are:

  1. Commerce, Business Studies and Religious Education become part of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
  2. Visual Arts joins with Technology to create a new faculty called Design and Creative Technologies.
  3. English Learning Language becomes part of the new Faculty of Languages and Global Education.

This new system has also brought about a title change for the managers responsible for each faculty from Head of Department (HOD) to Head of Faculty (HOF).

We are delighted to welcome three new Heads of Faculty to our team in 2019:

  • Ms Joanna Cakebread will lead the new Faculty of Performing Arts
  • Mrs Annemarie Mirams takes over the Faculty of Science
  • Mr Nicholas Fitness becomes head of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

By way of introduction, we asked our new Heads of Faculty about their backgrounds and how they are settling into their new positions at Woodford House.

Mr Paul Dine, Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning


Ms Joanna Cakebread, HOF Performing Arts

I grew up in the New Forest, UK and attended Bangor University in Wales, majoring in both Acousmatic Composition and Music Performance on piano and bassoon. In 2012, I emigrated to New Zealand and quickly became involved in several orchestras, chamber groups and bands in both Hamilton and Auckland. I was principal bassoonist in the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra and Hamilton Operatic Society’s production of Phantom of the Opera. I have been involved in other groups such as St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, Devonport Chamber Orchestra, Auckland Symphony Orchestra and Manawa Wind Quintet on the bassoon and contrabassoon.

My teaching career started five years ago at Mount Roskill Grammar School in Auckland as a Music teacher. During my time at Mount Roskill Grammar, I was involved in a number of musical co-curricular groups and established a choir. I was also an advocate for e-learning and joined their e-learning lead team in 2017. I also helped the school develop e-learning resources across a number of different curriculum areas and assisted with staff professional development in this area. In 2018, I was offered and accepted the position of Director of e-learning for my leadership and development across the school.

I have always been passionate about the performing arts and my new role as Head of Faculty combines all my interests into one. I was ready for the next step in my career and I am proud to lead performing arts and share my passion for the arts with students, staff and whānau. I look forward to growing the Faculty of Performing Arts across all areas, both curricular and co-curricular.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my short time at Woodford House, thus far. I have loved getting to know each of the students and working with individuals wanting to achieve at their very best. Highlights so far have included my involvement in the 125th Anniversary celebrations, and House Music.

On a personal note, I met my fiancée, Matthew in 2013 through playing in orchestras and we are looking forward to our wedding in August this year.


Mr Nick Fitness, HOF Social Sciences

I was born and raised in the Waikato and moved to Auckland later in my childhood. I attended high school at Sacred Heart College, Auckland, and went on to study history and French at the University of Auckland. I started my teaching career in Auckland in 2007, teaching history and social studies at a range of low and high decile, public and integrated secondary schools. A key driver to my professional development has been researching, writing and producing resources and textbooks. I have co-authored two secondary school history textbooks (Protest in New Zealand and Pacific History) and have authored one junior social studies textbook (Diversity). My wife and I raised our three boys, Xavier, Oscar and Bede on Waiheke Island before deciding to make the move to Hawke’s Bay. I accepted the position of Deputy Principal in 2018, commuting daily to Dannevirke High School, but wanted to be closer to home and back in the classroom.

Even before moving to the East Coast, when I spoke with others in the education sector about Hawke’s Bay and great schools, the name Woodford House came up often. And so when I saw the role of Head of Faculty Social Sciences advertised toward the end of last year I decided to go for it. The role suited my experience, my passion for the social sciences, and my desire to be based back at a special character school after my own experience in this environment previously, both as a student and a teacher.

I have loved every minute of my new role this year. Getting to know the girls and the staff, being part of an amazing faculty with passionate and dedicated educators. Highlights so far would definitely be arriving in a key year of celebration for Woodford House, with 2019 marking 125 years of service for girls’ education. From the pōwhiri for new staff and students at the beginning of this term through to attending Chapel alongside the girls and dining with them on Friday lunchtimes, I feel humbled to be a part of this special schooling environment. Also learning new vocabulary must be mentioned, as who could have thought that ‘sticky’ is actually a thing?

I would like to continue to build on the strong faculty that I have inherited from Rachel Roberts. I have begun to roll out new units of work from my own research and writing looking at New Zealand and Pacific contexts, in Social Studies, and History, to further engage and challenge the girls’ learning. Having had experience in implementing blended e-learning programmes previously, I am interested to explore how Digital Technologies can assist with what we currently do in the Social Sciences. I believe it’s essential that as educators, we remain adaptive and responsive practitioners, always looking at how to best deliver successful targeted outcomes for our girls. I’m also a keen runner, and am always busy trying to recruit girls for the after school running club!

What keeps me engaged in the classroom is the ever-changing face of who we have in front of us. With the numbers of diverse learners in our classrooms on the increase, it is essential that we address what and how we are teaching. I have a long-term vision for my time at Woodford House to create a responsive and robust Social Sciences teaching and learning programme that reflects our girls, and provides them with the collaborative and innovative opportunities for being successful in a wide range of pathways. We are so fortunate at Woodford House to have small class sizes and a pastoral system that ensures that girls do not fall through the gaps. And if girls can leave Woodford House having achieved success in the four key cornerstones of school life – academic, cultural, spiritual and sporting, then they will be undoubtedly prepared for the future.


Mrs Annemarie Mirams, HOF Science

My teaching career started in Auckland; first at Marcellin College then Mount Roskill Grammar before moving to Hawke’s Bay where I taught at Karamu High School for two years. Prior to joining Woodford House, I held the positions of Specialist Classroom Teacher and school leader for the Nga Hau e Wha community of learning at Hastings Girls’ High School. During my career, I have taught a variety of subjects; mainly chemistry which is the subject I gained my Masters in, but also calculus, statistics and some biology and physics.

Prior to my career in teaching, I spent eight years working in the family viticulture business. Speaking of family, my husband and I have three children; Sally is studying physiotherapy at the University of Otago, Henry is studying engineering at the University of Canterbury and Kate is in Year 13.

I was first attracted to my new position at Woodford House as Head of Faculty because I knew it would give me the opportunity to use all of the experience that I have learnt as specialist classroom teacher and school leader. My interest and passion in education lies in classroom teaching and these are exciting times to be involved in science curriculum development.

I am keen to bring my passion for girls’ learning in general and in particular girls’ participation in science to my role at Woodford House. I am also an environmental chemist at heart so I am excited that the time has come in science education where sustainability is a priority. I am relishing the opportunity to work with a team of eager and dedicated science teachers and students in the delivery of progressive and engaging science programmes.

I have really enjoyed my time at Woodford House so far and have found the staff and students to be friendly, welcoming and supportive. I am really enjoying the six-day timetable, where no two days seem to be the same, and this makes for a stimulating and interesting teaching environment. I am also loving the House spirit as I am very competitive – go Wallingford!