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Our Staff: Gordie

‘What matters to you? Not what’s the matter with you?’. This approach, coined by Sir Mason Durie, is the kaupapa of Gordie. From Rotorua, with iwi connections in Te Whakatōhea, Ōpōtiki and Te Rarawa, Hokianga, Gordie has a long teaching history. After an impressive forty years in mainstream education, in Aotearoa, Canada, and Australia, she was drawn to Kingslea School three years ago.

As of this year, Gordie is the Deputy Principal ki Waitaha. This means she has all three Waitaha (Canterbury) Kingslea schools under her wing. A key part of her job is to “get the best teachers in front of the rangatahi, as well as to look after/tautoko the current rangatahi and teachers”.

Several rangatahi are young dads and at Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo Gordie and the other kaiako are able to offer them an opportunity to learn how to read to their babies. This is possible with support from the National Library’s Community of Learners’ group, who supply books for babies. The young fathers pick out books for their babies, often in Te Reo, and are modeled best practice when reading to young tamariki. Gordie and her team then wrap and post the books to the babies with a special note from the young fathers. Gordie shares one time when she was getting ready to post some books for an ākonga. He asked if he could keep them in his locker because he was going home soon, and he wanted to give the books to his baby himself. Gordie’s energy and passion shines when she talks about working with these young dads, nurturing a love of reading, and Te Ao Māori.

Gordie says that the learning space itself is also a unique experience. There are always additional adults in the classroom, supporting both rangatahi and teachers, so the teaching space gets very busy. But Gordie loves working with a team, full of others who want to make a difference, with a focus Te Tiriti o Waitangi tying everyone’s work together. Gordie speaks with warmth of her Tumuaki, Tina Lomax, who ‘leads from the front’, the other Kingslea kaiako, and Oranga Tamariki and the Pegasus Nurses team. She loves that no two days are the same.

Gordie says that she doesn’t look for good samaritans to work at Kingslea School – “The Mana of these rangatahi is too important to have them taught by someone who feels sorry for them”. Gordie looks for great teaching practitioners who really want to make an educational difference in the lives of rangatahi who have slipped through the gaps. If that’s you, make sure to keep an eye out for vacancies across the motu, on our Vacancies page, or follow us on LinkedIn.

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