Wānaka Sun       

“Railroaded” MAC Trustees resign

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 07 May, 2020 | By Joanna Perry newsdesk@thewanakasun.co.nz

Mount Aspiring College (MAC) Board of Trustees (BOT) chair Glenn Peat has resigned after just two months, it was announced on Monday. The following day, the BOT announced that parent representative of over seven years Tracey Gibson had also stepped down.

Peat and his family moved to Wānaka in 2018, and he joined the board in July 2019 before becoming chair in late February of this year. His term was due to expire in December.

Peat told the Wānaka Sun that he resigned from the board because he felt “misrepresented”, and experienced personal conflict in speaking for the board when he held a different view to the majority of his fellow trustees.

“I believe that as the governing body of MAC, the board should not only instigate change as required, but act with honesty, integrity and transparency,” he said.

“When I was elected to the board I felt motivated and excited to bring about positive change within the school. It became apparent that the board was continuing to take the same approach as the past while expecting a different outcome - which is not a logical process.”

The BOT thanked Peat for his contribution and said they were “sorry to see [him] go,” before announcing that parent trustee Ed Nepia would be the acting chair until a replacement is found.

In March, an Education Review Office (ERO) report identified MAC as a “developing” school, leading to the organisation of the group Parents of MAC. The group voiced parental concerns with the report and the school's strategy, leadership and communication with the community. Parents of MAC now has around 75 participants.

Parent Aidan Craig was liaising with Peat to bring about change and improvement, and told the Wānaka Sun that his resignation had been a surprise - adding that the board “needed a fresh set of eyes, and to have him walk out the door is both concerning and disappointing.”

Comparing the board's lack of direction to watching paint dry, Craig said that “over the past two months, there has been so little detail that it's been hard to discern what work was being done. Glenn was fully understanding of this.”

Despite Peat officially resigning last Friday, May 1, parents and staff received no communication from the board until the following Monday - by which time the news was already in the media.

Following the resignation of Gibson the next day, Acting Chair Nepia wrote to parents saying that the BOT would be seeking outside help to “reorient” following the recent resignations.

“The board is currently engaged with NZSTA [New Zealand School Trustees Association] to help guide us through the process of electing new parent representatives and to assist us in our efforts to improve the board's performance,” read the letter.

Nepia did not refer to Gibson's reasons for resigning, however Peat told the Wānaka Sun that she had supported his views on the board, and as a result the two of them were “railroaded.”

“Hopefully the board and the Ministry of Education see this as a catalyst to create some change,” said Craig. “Fundamentally, the culture is not working, and they need to recognise that.”

MAC Principal Wayne Bosley had not responded to the Wānaka Sun's request to comment at the time of publication. 

Read edition 973 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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