After a long and thorough search, Avondale Primary School recently welcomed their new principal, James Williams, to their school community.
Mr Williams was originally from Christchurch, but with his father in the Army the family travelled a lot, including living for several years in Singapore, his dad finishing up at Papakura Army Camp before retiring in 1989.
After completing 6th form at Wesley College in Paerata, Williams had planned to go to Teachers’ College, but a summer job in the hotel industry turned into several years. He eventually pursued teacher training in 2002, managing to get in a year’s OE first.
After his two years ‘provisional’ at Royal Road School in Massey, Williams took the opportunity to teach in the community where he lives, Mt Roskill, at Dominion Road School. Soon after he was promoted to a leadership role as Team Leader at Mangere Bridge School.
At the end of Term 3 Mr Williams was farewelled from Flat Bush School where he has been Associate Principal since 2016, and Deputy Principal since 2018. That same week he was also welcomed to Avondale Primary with a pōwhiri.
“It’s important that I am now located to this whenua, this kura”, Williams comments. It was a wonderful transition through pōwhiri: Flat Bush School handing me over with love, support, and well-wishes for my success. It was humbling to experience their honouring of my work, celebrating me in that way. Then to get the pōwhiri from Avondale Primary, singing their heart out, connecting with me, saying ‘Welcome, take a good look at us’. And I did, and it was a beautiful thing”.
Williams did not accept the position lightly. “I never had ‘leadership aspirations’ as such”, he says. “These roles emerged as opportunities along the way”. When this position came up, he looked at it and thought, ‘What strengths do I have that will add value here?’
“There’s a culture here”, he said. “They were looking for a leader who can connect with the current culture and weave into them. As I talked to the DP and AP, I felt that things aligned well. There was an almost instant connection and we really engaged in values. I could see myself here. What I had to offer they wanted and needed”.
Mr Williams’ began his new role at the beginning term 4, taking over from DP Kim Wilkinson who has been acting principal since the beginning of this year.
Mr Williams' farewell from Flatbush School. Photos supplied by Flatbush School