Iva Ropati led the successful transformation of One Tree College and in doing so, helped instill a sense of pride and identity beyond the school gate to the wider community.
When the former league professional was appointed as Principal, the college, then known as Penrose High, was not the first choice of secondary school for parents in the neighbourhood. Finance and governance challenges were compounding the difficult learning environment for students and staff, but with a revamped board of trustees, Iva worked hard to impart vision throughout the college and lift the standard of achievement.
Key initiatives include a $15-million building development to change the appearance and culture of the college and a successful name change following wide community consultation. Ropati advocated strongly for investment in continued education for his staff to improve their skills and knowledge and, with a firm stance on student attendance and discipline, worked hard to create a positive learning environment.
The college now attracts hundreds more students each year, many from its own neighbourhood. A recent report from the Education Review Office praised its “inspirational transformation”. Prior to his appointment at One Tree Hill College, Ropati was Deputy Principal at Onehunga High School, with earlier teaching appointments at Saint Kentigern College, Lynfield College and schools in the United Kingdom.
Iva believes school is one of the best places to promote and nurture leadership potential. Iva is now Principal at Howick College, Auckland.
If we could see more schools promote leadership our future would be taken care of. I see myself as a cog in the bigger machine – creating opportunities for others to lead, take ownership and get excited about the school. ”