Kamo High awaits their new commissioner

By D'Angelo Martin

The Ministry of Education has announced the appointment of Tunney McFayden as Commissioner to replace the Board of Trustees that walked out of Kamo High School last week.   This is only done in extreme circumstances when all other measures have failed to rectify a failing school and a board of trustees resigns.

Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary Sector Enablement and Support, in accordance with her statutory powers made the appointment and announced it in the NZ Gazette today.

The board resigned en masse last week claiming that the principal had left over 20 complaints unresolved and mismanaged.  Allegations of the principal slandering and bullying board members and teachers have arisen.

Former Board member Veronica Turketo (Ngāpuhi) pointed out concerns as to how the principals’ performance was being appraised and the side-lining of tīkanga Māori in the Northland school.

"We have more than 60% [Māori] of the roll and yet there's no authentic Māori kaupapa in the school.

"It's still the same old same old which is a lack of culture, shared culture within the school".

Current and former staff say issues have been left to fester and many have been impacted as a result.

The appointment of a Limited Statutory Manager in August gave Kamo staff hope that things would be investigated thoroughly but the hope is fading now that the board has walked out.

Current and former staff a culture of fear has been perpetuated in the school which has led to the issues at hand.

Te Ao news contacted Joanne Hutt, Kamo High School principal for comment on the concerns raised and the resignation of the board. She advised she was limited in what she could say but did outline in an email:

“The one thing that I will say is the BOT asked for help with Governance some weeks ago - directly to the MOE as they were unable to deal with some aspects of this busy role.  The MOE appointed an LSM to help them, and now they have all resigned”.

Hutt stated that school operations remain normal:

“The day to day running of the Kura continues as normal - all aspects of teaching and learning, student achievement, culture, random acts of kindness and students having fun and growing up continue as normal.

“I just hope that the process of appointing a Commissioner is open and transparent.  The more transparent any process is that applies to this Kura and community the more effective and beneficial any results will be to the staff and students of this Kura.

Hutt concluded, “It is the students of this Kura who need continuity, security and their wellbeing guaranteed”.