Onehunga High School the right fit for incoming principal2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Shameen Hayat has been announced as Onehunga High School’s new principal. Currently deputy principal at Mount Albert Grammar School, she will take up her new position at the start of 2023. Ms Hayat succeeds Deidre Shea who is retiring after 30 years at OHS, including 15 years there as principal.
Ms Hayat does have a previous link with OHS, having spent 10 weeks there as a trainee teacher many years ago in 1998. She then taught at St Peters College for a year, before spending a decade at Selwyn College, interspersed with teaching stints in Britain. After that, she moved to Mount Albert Grammar School, where she has been working alongside principal Pat Drumm, who is also a former staff member at OHS.
She says she had been considering making the next step up for some time and was looking for the right job. It was important for her to go to a school that “would be the right fit for me”. When the position at OHS came up, she felt it was exactly what she was looking for.
Ms Hayat enjoyed the time she spent at OHS as a trainee and for her more recent visits, she says it is a school not only with “positive energy and strong learner engagement” but one that’s supported by a great community; connecting with the wider community and whanau is a key element for her. She is also impressed with how it has led the way for other schools, with innovative programmes like the business, building and catering initiatives.
Born in Britain of Pakistani descent, Ms Hayat says she had always wanted to be a teacher, inspired by her parents who encouraged all six of their children to follow what they enjoyed. After finishing her degree, she spent some time travelling the world before arriving in New Zealand in 1997, where she went on to do her teacher training.
Believing firmly that every pupil can succeed, the secret is to “get them to hook into their passions ” and having high expectations of all learners. She says it is important to build up students’ self-efficacy so they want to come to class, and valuing everyone’s culture is vital to this goal; when pupils feel a strong sense of cultural location they do better at school.