Mrs Julie Peterson, Principal
BA (English), Dip Hort (Distinction), Dip Tchg
Mrs Julie Peterson’s focus at Woodford House is to provide a supportive environment, outstanding staff and a full range of opportunities for each girl to be equipped to live and lead an extraordinary life. Having experienced boarding school as a child, Julie believes that excellence in pastoral care is at the heart of our ability to respond to the needs of our girls. Coupled with a culture of continuous improvement that makes sure we constantly review and refine the way we nurture and educate our students.
Julie’s professional pathway extends beyond the classroom into leadership, advisory roles and specialist educational mentoring. Julie is a recipient of the coveted Woolf Fisher Research Fellowship.
Mr Paul Dine, Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning.
Btech (Hons), DipTchg
Paul Dine joined Woodford House in Term 2, 2018 as Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning.
Paul started his career as a science teacher at St John’s College, progressing to more senior positions as Head of Science, Dean, Assistant Principal and Deputy Principal. As Deputy Principal, Paul had a particular responsibility for curriculum development.
Following his time at St John’s College, and with four adult children having flown the nest, Paul and wife Jody travelled overseas, where he worked as an English Teacher in China. Whilst they enjoyed the experience immensely, they returned to New Zealand a year later to be near family with the arrival of their first grandchild, Milly-Rose.
Paul joined Woodford House in 2017 as a science teacher before stepping up to work in an acting senior leadership position in early 2018.
Paul has hit the ground running and is keen to support the girls in achieving their potential across the four cornerstones of the School.
Mrs Stephanie Russell, Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing
BA English and History (Hons), Dip Tchg
Mrs Stephanie Russell joined the Woodford House family in Term 2, 2017 as Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing where she is responsible for the care of our girls and day-to-day management of the School.
Stephanie holds a BA (Hons) in English and History from Victoria University and has a Diploma in Secondary School Teaching from Waikato University. She also brings a wealth of experience, having held senior positions at Melville High School in Hamilton, Takapuna Grammar in Auckland, Hasting Boys’ High School in Hastings and, most recently, Napier Girls’ High School in Napier where she successfully developed and implemented a Scholarship programme.
Stephanie approaches education from a pastoral centre. She says positive relationships are key to success: an ability to know, connect with and respond to the individual is necessary in any school.
Her aim is to foster critical thinkers and adaptive, confident young people armed with a sound set of skills, values and experiences.
Stephanie has lived in Hawke’s Bay for almost 20 years. She is married to a sheep and beef farmer, Sam Russell, and they have two teenage daughters, Margot and Helena.
Mrs Rachel Roberts, Assistant Principal – Student Outcomes
BA (Hons) History
Mrs Rachel Roberts was appointed as Assistant Principal at the beginning of Term 3, 2018 after nine years of experience at the School in key positions including Head of Social Sciences and House Dean.
Rachel has been teaching for over 20 years, starting her career in a large girls’ Church of England school in Westminster called the Grey Coat Hospital. She then moved to a co-educational school in the London suburbs as Head of History, later becoming a Head of a large Faculty including English, History and Religious Education, and the Library. In late 2008, Rachel was offered the Head of Social Sciences position at Woodford House and in April 2009 she and her family emigrated to New Zealand.
The Assistant Principal role combines Rachel’s interest and experience in both the pastoral and academic aspects of school life. She is looking forward to playing a key role in implementing Woodford House’s vision of best practice 21st Century learning. This includes ensuring that we are able to support students holistically and individually to achieve the best possible outcomes in all aspects of their school life, and also ensuring that we develop resiliency in our young people and a deep and authentic understanding of the world in which we live.