Maggie Reid – Developing leadership potential

Maggie Reid, deputy principal, Flanshaw Road School, Te Atatu, West Auckland is fortunate to work in a school where leadership potential is recognised and supported. In this story Maggie talks about the support she has had from her current principal to build her leadership skills.



I’m fortunate, in the school I’m at, to have a principal who feels very strongly about growing leaders and supporting leadership. The school leaders are not worried about the fact that because they’re growing leaders that those leaders might then leave the school.

I think that that’s something that all principals need to be aware of - the fact that they have a responsibility really to grow leadership within their school. And if that does mean that those leaders then go on and spread their wings, so be it. They’ve done a good job if that’s what happens within their schools.

My principal has been very supportive of everything that I’ve done, she’s provided opportunities for professional development for me. She’s provided opportunities for me to network and has made sure that I’ve made the right connections with people. Not just within our local community but, well, Auckland-wide and even wider than that.

I’ve had the privilege of going to conferences within New Zealand and overseas. She’s seen the need that if we can talk together about what we’ve seen and we’ve heard, that’s far more powerful than just perhaps her going or just perhaps me going as well. So that’s another way that she’s actually encouraged me to build my base of knowledge as well.

Another way that she has also supported me is when she went on study leave and let me take up the school in a way. It was, of course, through the board of trustees and everything, but it was (the suggestion was there) I had the skills and I could do this.

One of the first things that she said to me (and also other people said) was build up your networks of people. You don’t have to know everything, but it’s really important that if there is something you need to know, that you know the right person to contact. Just to find out, okay so how do I do this? That was through, I was doing my study at the time too and my lecturer at the University also said, ‘Have you got your contacts sorted out?’ And I felt that was invaluable.

Also I’ve been able to go to within our cluster principal meetings. So that the principals know me as well and I’m accepted with them because that’s just what happens. I go to the West Auckland principals’ breakfasts. There have actually been over the years more and more APs and DPs going, and when I first went there were very few. But I think now there is that understanding that we need to be there and we need to see what’s going on because perhaps for us our next step is into principalship.

Using this case study

  • Networks and contacts have been very important to Maggie Reid’s developing leadership. Think of ways in which you could assist teachers and emerging leaders in your school to increase their contact with other professionals in order to develop their leadership skills and knowledge. For example, are there opportunities for them to report back about professional meetings or conferences they attend?
  • Maggie comments about the importance of opportunities to develop her leadership. Kiwi Leadership for Principals stresses that principals should not be only leader in their school but develop the capabilities of others as well. Consider ways in which you can contribute to distributing leadership amongst your staff to build their experience and capacity.
  • Maggie has had the good fortune to attend conferences and meetings alongside her principal so that they can share their thoughts and perceptions. Is this what happens in your school? Do you see this process as more effective? Would it work for you?

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