Continuing our series of reflections on the year that was, we’re thrilled to present a conversation with Paul Cartlidge (Principal, Waimate Main School) and volunteer Capacity Partner Melanie Jones (Waitaki District Council) about visioning, meeting new people and – of course – their recent celebration to complete the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programe!
PAUL: It was nice to be able to stand up and talk about our plans at the celebration. It was a great group of people, Mel and I got along really well!
MEL: I felt so proud of Paul doing his presentation, he did it so well, it was so compelling. I know you’re not supposed to feel like this but I couldn’t help being like, ‘my principal was the best!’.
PAUL: We obviously know each other really well now, Mel and I. I went in deep with some of the other principals too, the networking and relationships were great.
MEL: That’s a really nice point, we did all bond so well! I came away feeling like wow, I’d love to catch up with everybody again.
PAUL: We planned a BBQ together, didn’t we?
MEL: Did we?! I could see us all doing that! Over the programme, you just really get to know the whole holistic person, way beyond who they are in the school.
PAUL: I’ve bumped into a few of the other principals at education things in Timaru, we have a bit of a Waimate (District) group too – the ongoing catching up has been so great.
MEL: That personal progress together, alongside the professional stuff, that’s been so nice to see. How was it presenting to them all?
PAUL: I’m used to presenting – mainly in board meetings – but this was the first time I’ve had a plan on a page, per se. I do a bit of it at the school, but it’s not at the same level as this presentation. The work I put into making it innovative, even attractive to look at – I felt like there was an expectation, it being a Springboard thing and not my own, that I had to bring my A-game!
MEL: I felt that for myself too! It’s intimidating at the outset – not the programme, but more that I’ve never done this kind of coaching in this context before. Am I going to get along with them, do I know what I’m doing? Then our first meeting, Paul did you come to my house?
PAUL: I think I did, yeah.
MEL: Did we start with wine? Or did we have a coffee first time around? It didn’t take long to switch!