New principal signs on for MAC

Nicola comes to the college with an impressive track record of effective educational leadership and strong academic credentials. Credit: MAC

Mount Aspiring College has a new principal who will start at the beginning of the first term, 2021.

Limited statutory manager Madeleine Hawkesby announced the appointment of Pakuranga College deputy principal, Nicola Jacobsen, to the role of MAC principal on Monday.  

The MAC Board of Trustees was "delighted "at the appointment which followed a "robust" recruitment process led by Hawkesby in consultation with the Board of Trustees.

Ian Hall, Chairman of the Board, saw the appointment of Jacobsen as a positive step for MAC.

"Nicola comes to the college with an impressive track record of effective educational leadership and strong academic credentials. The board was impressed by Nicola's presentation to us and by her vision of a high-performing college that caters for the needs of all students," Hall said.

"Nicola will bring a fresh perspective, and she well understands the importance of strong community connections. We are confident that staff will respond positively to the ambitions that Nicola has for the college and its students," he said.

 "We acknowledge the work that Dean Sheppard is doing this year as acting principal, and we look forward now to having Nicola join the staff and become known to the Wānaka community," Hall added.

Hawkesby said Jacobsen was an "ideal fit" for the Wānaka-based secondary school.

"As a leader of teaching and learning, Nicola has a focus on personal excellence. Her ability to collaborate, problem-solve and critically analyse will be a significant asset to the college," Hawkesby said.

"A key strength of Nicola's was clear and effective communication, and I am confident that she is the right person to lead Mount Aspiring College as we move forward together," she said.

Jacobsen, who originally hails from Blenheim, has been at Auckland's Pakuranga College for the past six years.

"I believe that education is for everyone, and to lead a school which serves the whole community is a great opportunity," Jacobsen said.

“In terms of the appointment and the move south it’s something both my husband and I are really excited about. We moved from Blenheim to Auckland 17 years ago for me to start my teaching career.


“I’m excited and humbled by the opportunity, and very grateful for the trust that the Board has in my appointment. I’m looking forward to learning about the staff, students and community. 

“Being from a small town, I really like the role that schools play in terms of being there to serve the whole community. It’s a great opportunity in a great environment.

 "I'm looking forward to getting to know the community. The staff - who are a valuable asset of the college - the students; who we serve - and the wider school whanau. This partnership is crucial for our youth to achieve their personal best and become the leaders of the future." she said.

Before her appointment to Pakuranga College, Jacobsen held senior positions at Botany Downs Secondary College. She is a graduate of the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch College of Education and completed a Master's degree from the University of Auckland in 2019.

Jacobsen will meet with MAC senior leadership later on this term and will be welcomed officially to the school with a pōwhiri at the start of Term 1.

Read edition 997 of the WānakaSun here.

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