After almost 70 years since it was established, Nelson Intermediate School has its first female principal – and she couldn’t be more at home in her new role.
Diane Webb is now one term deep into leading over 400 students and nearly 40 staff at the school.
The position was made vacant earlier this year by Hugh Gully, who, after 12 years at the helm, took over as principal at Collingwood Area School.
Diane says she’s had a “good training ground” after being the deputy principal at Hampden St School for six years, and before that, principal of a small rural school in Central Otago.
“My first term has been really busy, but a really lovely experience. I’ve been getting to know the place and the staff are warm and welcoming. It’s just such a good place to be. I feel like ‘yes, I’m glad I’m here’.”
Diane says she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher and landed her first job in Auckland when she was just 18.
“My auntie was an early childhood teacher and I always thought that was what I wanted to do, but then I went to teacher’s college and realised that this is the age group I want to teach,” she says.
“I’ve always loved this age. I just love where they are at with their development.”
Diane is no stranger to Nelson Intermediate School, with her daughter going through there, and during her time working with transitioning students from Hampden St School.
“When the opportunity arose, I just took it. I feel well prepared and I’m really well supported.”
One of the changes Diane has been instrumental in driving is the transition to composite year seven and eight classes from 2020.
“After interviewing staff, it came through that there was a desire for this,” she says.
“You spend the first six months getting to know students and their whanau and then you hand them over and it’s another six months. Every school they come from is composite. It means the older ones can nurture the younger ones but still gives all the students an opportunity for leadership.”
Diane says there are plenty of things she wants to achieve in her time as principal.
“We have a strong Maori medium class this year, and for the first time we have a group competing in the kapa haka nationals. That’s a real positive for us,” she says.
“I want us to become a leading intermediate educator in Nelson, and for the community to proud of the school.”