Board of Trustees election results – click here
The Board of Trustees of Houghton Valley School is responsible for the governance of the school.
The Board’s role is a strategic one, focused on the big picture and employing the Principal to manage the school.
The BOT is made up of the School Principal, a trustee from the school staff, several parent trustees who are elected by the parents, and other members who are appointed by the BOT.
The board’s role is set by the Education Act and the BOT is required to ensure the school meets the government’s National Education Priorities. These are:
- Success for all
- A safe learning environment
- Improving Literacy and Numeracy
- Better use of student achievement information
- Improving outcomes for students at risk
- Improving Maori student outcomes
Parents are very welcome to attend board meetings. This is a great way to learn about the board if you have an interest in becoming a parent representative. Meeting dates are published in the school newsletter but don’t hesitate to get in touch with the board chair using the contact form below if you would like more information.
If you are a parent and have a question or an issue to raise with the board you are encouraged to speak with your child’s teacher in the first instance. If any doubts remain, our principal makes a point of being highly available. Please do not hesitate to make contact.
Any issues that remain to be escalated to the board should be brought to the attention of the board chairperson. You are welcome to use the contact form below to initiate contact.
Chairperson – Kevin Hales
I love mountain biking and snowboarding, and get out on the squash court a couple of times a week.
My background is in customer service and training. I have previously owned and operated a national training provider, and have been involved with a number of hospitality outlets around Wellington. I’ve sinced moved into financial management and IT, and currently work at Xero in the fun world of online accounting.
What I feel I bring to the board is my culture of always trying to do the right thing by our customers. I’ve found that if your customers are happy, your business is usually happy as well.
I have enjoyed my time on the Board so far and look forward to continuing to work hard for our community with my fellow trustees.
Parent Representative – Renee Riddell-Garner
I’m a born and bred Dunedinite, although my iwi is Ngati Maniapoto, and I’ve been living in Wellington since 2001.
Brooke and I have two daughters: Sofia who is at HVS, and Isabella, who has been right through HVS and is now at high school.
I am a lawyer with my own practice (Renée Riddell-Garner Public Law). Before beginning my practice, I spent most of my career as an in-house lawyer in the public sector. My last public sector role was as General Counsel for an occupational regulator.
At the time I’m writing this, I’ve been on HVS’s board for about 2 years. The board works closely with our principal and chief executive, Raewyn, who is responsible for running the school day to day, and is also a board member. We all want to provide the best education we can for all our children and that is our main focus.
I encourage you to visit a board meeting one evening and see what happens; or look at board agendas and minutes on the HVS website. You might find that this role interests you enough that you want to put your hand up at the next elections. I encourage you to do so.
Parent Representative – Andrew Downes
I have two children at Houghton Valley, Cathryn in Peter’s class and Lucy in Joe’s class. I was co-opted onto the previous board for the last year and a bit and therefore was able to be part of the process to recruit Raewyn as the new Principal.
Being on the Board of Trustees plays an important part in how the school works and develops. I’m keen to play my part in this to ensure Houghton Valley continues to be a great school for our children at what I believe is a critical stage of their educational life.
Principal – Raewyn Watson
As a parent of three daughters, all adults now, I have also been through the school system as a parent.
I understand the importance of an effective Board of Trustees and enjoy working in a team to continually improve and enhance the school for the benefit of the children and staff who work with them.
As the Principal of Houghton Valley School I am automatically a member of the Board of Trustees. It’s my job to manage the school’s day-to-day administration and ensure the school is managed effectively according to the strategic direction and policies set by the Board. We work together to set the strategic direction of the school and I work out how to get us there. Together, our most important focus is enhancing student achievement.
Staff Trustee – Peter Holmstead
I am one of the longer serving members of the school staff, having been at HVS since 2002. I have been the Year 6 teacher for half that time and I really enjoy the challenges of teaching the senior class, preparing them for intermediate. I have had a number of specialist roles including managing sport and I am currently the ICT/e-Learning Leader. I have been on the Board of Trustees for three years and I feel my role is to provide insight into the education system and the character of the school in order to assist the decisions of the Board.
I have a 21yr old daughter and a teenage son (who I taught at HVS in 2008). I am an avid fisherman and volleyball player, and I am also very keen on music and being a musician.
Parent Representative – Geoff Hume-Cook
One of the things I’ve found interesting, being on the BoT for the first time, is the realisation of how tricky the job of a Primary-school Principal is. We’ve been through six school-year cycles but it wasn’t until I joined the BoT that I got to see both the minutiae (property maintenance, staff recruitment, staff mentoring, budgeting, meeting prospective parents etc.) and the big issues (appointment of property consultants, an Education Review Office (ERO) review, a new Charter, a new BoT manual, new banking partner, new financial services supplier and more) that Raewyn’s had on her ‘plate’! Prior to joining the BoT, I hadn’t appreciated the sheer diversity of what the Principal’s role entails.
As members of a Governance group, we have to steer the direction of the school’s Policies (with adequate input from parents and caregivers) within the parameters laid out by legislation, and Ministry of Education (MoE) budgets! We all have different areas of expertise and experience, and a common sense of the joys and trials of children of school age. In effect, the BoT collectively, has the responsibility of knowing enough of the principal’s job to be able to give them appropriate feedback/timely advice, and then let them get on and do it. When that knowledge is pooled and shared responsibly with the Operational parts of the school, we contribute to the community of learning, that our valley is lucky to be nestled in.
The time commitment has sometimes been a bit more than I expected, but we have had a larger number of ‘new’ things to deal with in the last two years. If anyone is interested in contributing their perspectives and open minds to the guidance of the future direction of HVS, I recommend that you make the time to attend a couple of meetings over the next eight months. Come and see/hear how this ‘required’ part of the school’s life-blood functions. You will be warmly welcomed. Nominations for new trustees will be called for in the latter part of 2015/early 2016.