A warm welcome to our new Principal, Thea Kilian, who joins us from her role as Deputy Principal of Long Bay College in Auckland. Ms Kilian is a respected educationalist with a strong interest in student wellbeing and community. She believes that great people make a great school.
Why have you chosen to come to ACG Tauranga?
I am really excited about the journey that ACG Tauranga has ahead of it as a young school within a fast-growing environment. The potential is just phenomenal and I really want to be part of that. Visiting the school, I experienced a real sense of care and community which fits well with me as a person and as an educator.
How do you feel about the move from Auckland to Bay of Plenty?
I am extremely excited – it is definitely time for a new chapter. Having immigrated in my early twenties from South Africa, I am very aware that the move will not be without its challenges. Any relocation requires hard work and time to adjust. It is all part of the adventure.
What are you most looking forward to about life in Tauranga?
Spending many hours outdoors with my family, making the most of the stunning weather, beautiful beaches and wide open spaces.
How would you describe your educational philosophy?
In order for our children to achieve success both at and beyond school, it is imperative that they are part of a strong community. They absolutely must feel safe, connected and engaged if they are to reach their full potential. Within this environment, we are then able to truly inspire and challenge them to develop themselves as people and as learners.
Education is moving forward. Ensuring our young people are creative, innovative problem solvers who have the ability to navigate an ever-changing environment is an absolute must. However, we must not lose sight of the importance of high expectations in terms of academic rigour as this provides the foundation for meaningful future-focussed thinking.
What makes a great school?
Great people. When you place caring, passionate and highly capable teachers in an organised and enabling environment, schools hum.
What excites you about education?
The fact that we are creating the future, right here, right now in our classrooms. The future is not something that is happening to us. We each have a hand in creating and shaping it for ourselves.
If, as educators and parents, we do our jobs well, the world will continue to be an amazing and exciting place in spite of whatever challenges and changes lie ahead.
Do you have any immediate plans for ACG Tauranga?
I think step one is to get to know our staff, students and families. We can then plan our next steps together.
What are your thoughts on the educational landscape in New Zealand?
I am very interested in developments around the mental well-being of our young people. This is such a crucial part of ensuring our students’ future success, yet we just don’t seem to have a really good handle on it. Moving forward we will need to carefully consider what it means to live in a 24/7 world and how we enable our young people to take control of their own journeys within this.
What do you enjoy outside of school?
I enjoy getting stuck into a bit of DIY, especially over the summer break. My husband and I also do some social Ballroom and Latin dancing. I really enjoy spending some time at the driving range although I have to admit, I am not particularly good at it. Makes for great stress relief though.
Can you tell us about your family?
I have two children. My son Dannan is in Year 9 and loves Jazz. He is a keen trumpet player. My daughter Aleksi is a competitive Ballroom and Latin dancer. She is in Year 7. Both Dannan and Aleksi love school and are extremely excited about attending ACG Tauranga. I am exceptionally proud of the positive manner in which they have both embraced our relocation. My husband Shane is a Tax and Criminal Lawyer. He will be working across both Auckland and Tauranga.