This time last term I was preparing to board a flight to the US to attend a professional leadership development course at Harvard Graduate School of Education with Deputy Principal, Mrs Russell. Last week I returned from Turangi after taking part in the Year 12 camp; an important learning opportunity for the girls to focus on their roles in Year 13. Both events were immensely valuable and rewarding experiences for me as a leader, and at the same time highlighted the significance of Woodford House as a Home to a Love of Learning.
The week long Harvard course, titled Leadership: An Evolving Vision, that Mrs Russell and I attended was an opportunity for us to reflect, stretch and strengthen our own leadership skills, as well as examine effective strategies that will help us to build upon the current successes of Woodford House. Attending the course alongside 162 other Principals and school leaders from 17 countries, provided a very insightful look at the various issues and challenges we are all facing in education. It also underscored how universal many of these challenges are across schools irrespective of borders, cultures and demographics. The process of striving to understand and address these challenges is not easy, but a love of learning is a crucial part of it.
I came away from the Harvard course with more questions than answers; the experience was packed full of valuable learning, and yet I sought to learn more. The course provided me with a renewed sense of certainty about the importance of inspiring a strong culture of learning at Woodford House. For our staff, professional learning and development not only challenges and supports them to be leading practitioners, it also allows them to be as much life-long learners as our students. For our students, they are seeing a love of learning role modelled throughout the School while they pursue their own paths towards personal excellence.
The Year 12 camp is one such path towards personal excellence. Our trip to Turangi was a chance to bring into focus the leadership responsibilities and opportunities available to these girls in their final year of study. We discussed the prefect roles and their significance in Year 13, but at the same talked about how each and every girl had a role to play as a Woodford House girl in helping to sustain the School as a learning community.
The Year 12 camp and the Harvard leadership course were different with respect to the specific learning environments, but the idea of developing and nourishing a strong love of learning was a common and important thread. I am sure many girls left the Year 12 camp with more questions than answers, but importantly I trust they left with a strong desire to keep asking those questions. That is what makes Woodford House a Home to a Love of Learning.
Mrs Julie Peterson, Principal