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Spotlight on Deputy Principal Chay Carter

Pastoral care and wellbeing is a top priority for ACG Strathallan Deputy Principal Chay Carter, whose passion for transforming the lives - and futures - of young people inspired her to forge a career in education.


During her 25-plus year career as an educator ACG Strathallan Deputy Principal Chay Carter has made a life-changing impact on the lives of countless young people. 

Making a difference
An inspirational teacher and school leader, Chay’s unwavering desire to improve outcomes for students has always been her driving force.

“As a young adult, I worked with teenagers as a camp leader and, while it may sound cliched, I pursued a teaching career to make a positive difference in the lives of young people and to inspire them to be the best they could be,” says Chay.

“I’m proud of the positive impact I’ve been able to have on the young people I have taught. Over the years, I’ve kept every card or letter received from students to remind me of why I do what I do. Meanwhile as a school leader, I’m most proud of the times when I’ve led a diverse team of people to problem solve and lead change to improve outcomes for students.”

At the top of her field
Since launching her career in 1998, Chay has worked at many of Auckland’s top schools. She was a Specialist Classroom Teacher at Mount Albert Grammar, Director of English at Avondale College, and spent several years at St Kentigern, initially as Head of Middle College English, and later as Deputy Principal with responsibility for teaching and learning. Directly prior to joining ACG, she was Head of Teaching and Learning for Writer’s Toolbox, consulting in secondary schools across the country in schoolwide writing improvement - while also working towards a Master of Secondary School Leadership for aspiring principals.

These experiences have equipped Chay well to take up the reins as ACG Strathallan’s Deputy Principal overseeing pastoral care and student wellbeing and an IGCSE English – Language and Literature teacher.

“I was attracted by ACG Strathallan's academic focus, holistic approach, clear values and expectations, strength of community, excellent facilities, and stunning location. The opportunity to work in an independent school which is part of New Zealand's largest independent school organisation was also appealing. So too, was working under the umbrella of the Inspired global network of schools.”

A cut above
Chay says ACG Strathallan sets itself apart from other schools in a number of pivotal ways. Clear values and expectations create a safe and supportive learning environment, and vertical forms from Year 9 – 13 encourage connections across year levels and promote a sense of inclusiveness.

“The school has a reputation for its strong academic focus, and it certainly achieves this, while also promoting a holistic approach to education. There are so many co-curricular sports and activities for students get involved with, while student leadership is also strong and part of what creates the school’s vibrant character. I’m always proud to see our students take the lead in organising quad fiestas, junior socials, assemblies, charity events - to name but a few.”

High calibre staff
High quality teaching is a keystone of life at ACG, and Chay continues to be impressed by the dedication and passion shown by all who work there.

“ACG Strathallan has some of the most committed, passionate, and high calibre teachers—and ancillary staff—I’ve had the privilege to work with. It's this strong team of people, all prioritising the best interests of our students, that makes ACG Strathallan a great school.

“To quote British educationalist, Dylan Wiliam - If we can create a culture where every teacher believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better, there is no limit to what we can achieve." This culture of teaching and learning is certainly alive and well at ACG Strathallan which makes it a great place for teachers to teach...and for students to learn!”

A curriculum for the future
All of ACG Strathallan students study Cambridge – a curriculum that Chay believes prepares them very well for future success.

“Cambridge provides a knowledge rich curriculum and the essential skills needed for further study and life beyond the school gate. Additionally, CAIE qualifications are recognised and trusted globally, opening a world of opportunities for our students.”

All the right ingredients
A globally recognised curriculum, outstanding teachers, and unrivalled opportunities for growth and development help set ACG Strathallan apart - but it’s the strong focus on pastoral care that really places the school in pole position. A highly experienced team of deans are supported by two school counsellors, and the school’s wellbeing framework includes the Tutor and House programme and the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’.

“We want our students to thrive in every way, so at the core of everything we do is the pastoral care of our students.  Through our pastoral care programme, we aim to provide every student with the support, the environment, and the tools for them to flourish at school and into their future.”