Profile: Ian Macpherson, Principal, Medbury School

Ian Macpherson.fw

Why have you chosen to come to Medbury School?

Medbury School enjoys a very strong reputation both locally and nationally, and dare I say internationally, as a progressive preparatory school that successfully balances tradition and innovation. I am looking forward to building on the School’s solid foundations whilst integrating my knowledge and experience to assist Medbury in reaching its vision to become one of Australasia’s leading preparatory schools.

How would you describe Medbury School?

Medbury School has at its core a family feel which extends both within and beyond the school gate. The highly professional staff enjoy a special relationship with the boys and their families. Medbury boys are challenged in a supportive way which adds to their resolve and resilience, providing a long and successful list of traits which they can draw upon.

What attracted you to the school?

My first interaction with Medbury boys was when a rugby team toured to Australia. The boys were authentic and wonderful ambassadors for both their family and their school. School reputation takes time to build and it was evident through the actions of this sample of boys, both on and off the field, that Medbury School would be a desirable school to lead should the opportunity arise.

What do you aim to achieve as Principal?

Medbury School’s mission is ‘to unlock the potential of every boy’. I will be dedicating myself to working with my colleagues to ensure our approach to personalised learning programmes allows all boys to flourish. Helping boys master skills which help them tackle greater obstacles and to ask more ‘why’ questions drives our curriculum development and implementation programmes. I also value the learning opportunities that take place beyond the classroom, and Medbury boys are truly blessed to be extended in so many ways.

Tell us about your choice of career as an educator.  Were there enlightening moments or inspirational people to set you on your way?

My initial calling was as a senior student leader working with Year 8 students, who back then were starting High School. I felt empowered by staff to assist whilst receiving feedback from the younger students that I was indeed helping to make a difference. The rest, as they say, is history.

Describe the pathway your career has followed.

After graduating from Mt Gravatt College of Advanced Education (now Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia) I enjoyed two years working in Education Queensland. I moved to the independent sector teaching both primary and secondary classes at a newly created Anglican Co-Educational College. After another two years I moved into the Great Public Schools (GPS) system working 15 years at Ipswich Grammar School, 11 years at Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) and most recently 21 months at Brisbane Boys’ College. I amassed extensive experience by taking on a wide range of middle management, senior management and executive roles.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I would describe my leadership style as being heavily based around servant leadership. To lead by serving and to serve by leading resonates very strongly with me. Leading a school requires tremendous flexibility and therefore one needs to embrace a situational leadership component as well as a collaborative leadership mantra to engage the passion and expertise of colleagues.

Can you share your thoughts about independent education - in New Zealand and internationally?

I strongly believe in providing choice for parents as they seek to find a learning environment that best meets the needs of their children. Independent schools, both within New Zealand and abroad, offer additional opportunities to parents as they weigh up the various pros and cons of schools and schooling systems. Regardless of the sectors, all educators have at their core the drive to make a difference and to help students ignite their passion to learn.

What encouragement would you give to parents considering a private education for their children?

I always have my ‘parent hat’ on, having had four children progress through independent schools back in Australia. When considering a school, I encourage parents to attend opportunities when schools open their doors and then continue to go back for multiple visits. Speaking with parents whose children currently attend the school can also be helpful, together with reading school publications. Committing to a school is a major family milestone and the parents should feel comfortable with their due diligence, together with the service and support offered through their school of choice. There will undoubtedly be some ups and downs along the journey, but it was the best investment my wife and I have made.