Louise Anaru – The leader as learner

In this story Louise Anaru explains how the National Aspiring Principals Programme and the First-time Principals Programme helped her to build leadership knowledge and skills.



I think it’s really important as a principal to be a learner, and in terms of ako that reciprocal learning, teaching and learning is a key component of that. 
I think as principals it’s really important for us to know it’s okay not to know everything. We too are lifelong learners and certainly through participating and promoting learning within the school it shows that we’re walking the same journey. It provides that opportunity to tap in to the knowledge and the expertise of other people within the school community as well.

When I started at Flaxmere College I was at the end stage of the National Aspiring Principals Programme and I certainly found that really helpful in terms of providing that foundation for leadership learning. I’m now participating in the First-time Principals Programme to build my leadership capacity further.

I was the DP at Taipa Area School and I really enjoyed my time there. As a school we’d experienced some real improvements and success and I just felt it was time for a new challenge. I just wanted to be part of, I suppose, making a difference in a different context. So when I researched Flaxmere College, I could see there were some real issues. I could see that the students were really capable, as were the staff. So there was real potential for change and improvements, and I knew I just had to be a part of that.

Using this case study

  • Consider your own leadership qualities and a particular area that you would like to develop for yourself as a leader. Talk to a mentor either within the school, or in an out of school context about this particular area. Why is it important for you? Uncover ways to develop or learn about it so that you can be a more effective leader. Your mentor can also monitor your progress in this aspect of leadership.
  • There are many ways that you can prepare yourself for the next leadership step. Think about a skill or knowledge that you will need if promoted and engage in some prior learning so that you are ready when the opportunity arises.

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