In the 12 years she has been at ACG Strathallan, Dr Katherine Greenley has inspired students in her chemistry and physics classes, supported and mentored them as a Year 12 and Year 13 Dean, and now she is honing in on professional learning and school operations in her new role as Assistant Principal.
But despite her different positions at the school one thing has never changed – she is still just as committed to empowering students for success as the day she first started.
Laying strong building blocks for success
“Despite changing my role at Strathallan a couple of times, and reducing the number of classes I teach, I still love being in the classroom teaching the subjects I am passionate about,” says Katherine, who has a teaching career spanning over two decades, and a wealth of qualifications including a PhD in chemistry.
“With this new role of Assistant Principal, I am excited about overseeing the staff professional learning and being able to mentor new staff at the beginning of the teaching journey - with the ultimate goal of enabling our students to maximise their potential and leave Strathallan ready to embrace whatever lies ahead and to succeed at whatever they put their minds to.”
New role, new responsibilities
As Assistant Principal, Katherine oversees everything from arranging relief teachers and professional development opportunities to organising experiential education (school trips) and supporting new teachers. She also works alongside the heads of House, supporting them with ACG Strathallan’s wide range of House competitions and activities. Add to that the senior chemistry and physics classes she teaches and there is never a dull moment.
But she wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only does Katherine love the work she does, but she is extremely proud of the role ACG Strathallan – and the Cambridge curriculum - play in laying strong foundations for success.
A curriculum for the future
“The Cambridge curriculum does not just prepare our students well for future success in New Zealand, whether it be tertiary education or employment, but it prepares them well for going overseas if that is their choice,” Katherine explains.
“The Cambridge courses give students the opportunity to form clear, focused study habits. They develop the ability to assimilate and analyse their classroom experiences, as well as having access to a wide range of different learning situations. When our students leave ACG Strathallan they have the tools to approach their new lives confidently.”
Furthermore, throughout their journey at the school students are supported, encouraged and nurtured to reach their full potential, by high calibre educators who love what they do.
“Students need to believe they learn from their teacher and, even with a challenging topic, they will engage and come alongside you on the journey if they can see your zeal for your subject and teaching.
“Amazing teachers are able to work at breaking down the mental barriers some students have to learning, while also inspiring those students who are ready to move on, thinking outside the box and extending them. This enables students to believe in themselves.”
Having teachers who inspire and engage is a critical driver in success – but so too is having a school culture and community that is uplifting and connected.
“The culture at Strathallan is unique and this is down to the students and staff. The most noticeable thing for me when I first started at Strathallan, and that has continued in all my time here, is how all the staff collectively support and work together regardless of faculties. Staff are willing to go the extra mile for their students, and the students also play their part in making Strathallan feel like a special place.”
The rich rewards of student success
Katherine has achieved many things in her 22 years as an educator. Papers of her work have been published, she’s been Head of Chemistry at a top Grammar School in the UK, and she has played an integral role in inspiring countless teens to develop their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). But her proudest achievement? Helping students overcome barriers to success and watching them fly.
“I delight in the success of all students whom I have had the pleasure of teaching and I am proud of their accomplishments - but it is seeing students who come from a place of low confidence and self-esteem persevere and succeed that really fills my cup.”