Liam Rutherford often doesn’t get time to stop and reflect about how he is sitting in the sixth floor of a central Wellington office building as NZEI Te Riu Roa President, but when he does, he recognises the influence his principal Wayne Jenkins has had in getting him there.

Liam has spent almost three years in the role at NZEI Te Riu Roa after working for more than a decade with Wayne at Ross Intermediate in Palmerston North.

He said Wayne encouraged him every step of the way – both professionally as a teacher and in the work that he wanted to do to impact the wider educational sector. 

“I’m really fortunate with the journey I’ve had to become President of NZEI Te Riu Roa,” Liam said at the start of Tu Meke Tumuaki – a week to recognise the contribution and unsung work of principals to their schools and wider communtiies.

“It is not lost on me that it couldn’t have happened without such a supportive and warm principal recognising that this was going to be a really important part of how I contribute to the profession.”

Liam said there were two things that made the most lasting impression upon him while working with Wayne.

The first was his willingness to keep his office door open to any staff member that wanted to seek advice or to talk.

“Or even just to vent,” Liam said with a laugh.

“He was one of those people who alway seems to find time for staff and the confidence you have as a staff member that you can walk in with any problem is greatly appreciated.

“The other area that I think is amazing is the effort he puts in to growing staff to be the absolute best they can be.

“I think it is important that we showcase our principals because many are just like Wayne, and I would urge all of my colleagues across the motu to find some time this week to show them that their work is not un-noticed nor unappreciated.”

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