Profile: Mark Wilson, Executive Principal, Kristin School

Why have you chosen to come to Kristin School?

Firstly, Kristin School is a co-ed school, just like the real world; it is a return to independent schools for me and an escape from the constraints of state schooling. I love the school’s foundation story of being established by aspiring parents seeking to provide the best education for their children; it is a school with a progressive and innovative tradition, and it is a school that genuinely seeks to develop both the intellect and the character of its young people – a holistic education to provide well-rounded people.


How would you describe Kristin?

Many schools talk about providing a broad education, but here at Kristin I have seen a genuinely holistic educational approach based upon the school’s founding Christian values of developing the character as well as the intellect. The school’s International Baccalaureate programme from primary through to the Diploma in senior school reinforces this well-balanced education and focus on growing the whole person.


What do you aim to achieve as the Executive Principal?

Ultimately the aim is to ensure that the school is providing the best education for our young people. As the Executive Principal I have overall leadership responsibility for Kristin School – this includes clearly articulating and implementing what is the “best education” at our school. This is achieved collectively with the three school principals and our staff, who have the most direct impact on student learning and achievement. So, my core role is ensuring the strategic direction and planning is clear and implemented so we have very successful tomorrows.


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

There was no one particular person or event which inspired me to teach, but rather a desire to help make a positive difference in the development of the lives of others. My experiences to date have reinforced that this has been the right journey for me. For example, my ten years as Principal of Cashmere High School in Christchurch included many very challenging and extraordinary times (earthquakes and the mass shooting of 15 March) – yet these also provided some of the most rewarding opportunities and experiences (a strong and supportive community). It is so often during truly difficult times that you also see the best of humanity.


Describe the pathway your career has followed.

Prior to my role here at Kristin I was the Principal of Cashmere High School in Christchurch for ten years, Deputy Principal at Hamilton Boys’ High School, Head of Faculty and Boarding at St Peter’s, Cambridge, Head of Department at St Paul’s Collegiate School, and earlier a teacher at Hamilton Girls’ High and Matamata College.


How would you describe your leadership style?

It is based upon the servant leadership model.


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

I am aware of a wide range of examples of wonderful work being done across independent schools that already make real and positive differences for the education of our young people. I look forward to being part of the independent schooling sector, which continuously seeks to be at the leading edge of providing the best in education.


What do you see as the benefits of working at an independent school?

To be open to new opportunities and take innovative approaches without the same level of limitations imposed by government bureaucracy.