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The Christchurch Girls’ High School Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Christine O’Neill as new Principal, taking up the role in Term 3.

Mrs O’Neill comes from a decade as Principal of St Thomas of Canterbury College, Christchurch from 2007-2017. Since then she has been an independent education and leadership consultant, working with the Ministry of Education along with 80 schools, mentoring school leaders, looking at future focused learning, cultural narratives and innovative teaching practices.

The Board Chairman Julian Bowden, says Mrs O’Neill was a shining light in the appointments process, and has a “unique ability to connect with the Board, staff and students.”

“She recognises the importance of well-being for students and staff and has an inclusive style which fits well with the values of our school.”

“We want our students to excel and lead when they leave school, no matter what they choose to do, and Christine has the skills to achieve this and more.”

Mrs O’Neill has extensive experience in mainstream Maori and Pasifika education and community engagement, including leading education cluster strategies and projects and post graduate research.

She has a passion for social justice and penal reform, was a founding member of Community Justice Panels, an alternative restorative strategy to court, partnering with the New Zealand Police, Community Law Canterbury, Ngāi Tahu and Ngā Māata Waka. She has also been a trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform (2009-2012).

Mrs O’Neill was Deputy Principal at St Thomas of Canterbury College from 2003-2007 and Assistant Principal from 2002-2003. She was Head of the Faculty of Arts at Villa Maria College in 2000, having started as a teacher there in 1991. She began her teaching career at Avonside Girls High in 1981.

“While my previous principal experience is in boy’s single sex education, life brings journeys at unexpected times. I had always thought I would lead in a girls’ school as single sex girls’ education is in my bones. I was educated at St Dominic’s College Dunedin, a single sex girls’ Catholic school which then merged with girls’ school St Philomena’s College to become Moreau College where I was the first Head Girl and Dux. I have three sisters and three daughters, all educated at Villa Maria College, and now three very young grand- daughters to follow in the education system. Girls are in my genes.”

“I believe I can contribute to the legacy which Georgiana Ingle and Helen Macmillan Brown began at Christchurch Girls’ High School in 1877.”

“The life work and interests of my family encapsulate the touchstones which drive my view of the world and passion for future focused education. I see education as the most powerful agent for social transformation so that we leave our young people a planet to inherit which values equity, diversity and justice. We inspire in them a sense of their own creativity and agency over their lives and we develop in them a commitment to develop a better world for all, in particular for those left at the margins of society.”

By CGHS Administration

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