Kia ora koutou,

I have the privilege of leading the team at Eltham Primary School and being part of the Eltham community. We have a great school whānau with kind, caring and compassionate staff and delightful, open and honest tamariki. Our school Board of Trustees are professional, supportive and communicative and the children are at the centre of any and all decision making.

I was born in Stratford and for the first eight years of my life, I lived in and around the district. I began my schooling at Rawhitiroa School. My parents were dairy farmers so we moved with the start of a new season when I was seven. I then attended Ngaere School. My time there helped to develop my love for singing and music, as I vividly recall afternoons of whole school singing in Mrs Ridley's class. I then moved to the west of Taranaki, attending Rahotu School and Ōpunake High School.

I attended Massey University where I gained a Bachelor of Education. My first job was teaching at Fraser Road Primary School in Normanby. I then taught at Westown Primary School, spending ten years working alongside Mr Eddie Betts who gave me so many opportunities to grow as a teacher. After that I moved to Spotswood Primary School, where I have spent the last 12 years teaching and learning alongside valued colleagues and friends, Allan Day and Mark Fisher.

I worked under two great principals, becoming a team leader, deputy principal and then acting principal for most of 2021.

During the last five years my core work was in the SENCO space where I supported pupils with additional educational needs and ensured their pastoral care needs were being met. I supported the students to engage in school and with their learning, removing barriers to accessing education.

The focus at Eltham Primary School is building relationships, strengthening connections both in and out of the school and working alongside teachers and students to provide supports to meet the demands of the education sector in 2022 and beyond.

Nau Mai Haere Mai ki te Eltham Primary School!

Ms Rachel Watkins