Principal appointed for NZ’s newest Catholic school

An establishment principal has been appointed for New Zealand’s newest Catholic primary school.

The Establishment Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Anthony Mills as establishment principal of Suzanne Aubert Catholic School in Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty.

Mr Mills will begin his role on June 8.

According to a report in Hamilton diocese magazine Kete Korero, Suzanne Aubert Catholic School is a new, years 1-6, Catholic primary school that will open in February, 2021. The initial intake will be 100 pupils.

The maximum roll will be 250 pupils by the end of 2024, according to The Education Gazette. The school is situated in Papamoa East and serves a large, emerging suburban population. It is part of All Saints by the Sea Catholic parish, Papamoa Coast, which was created in 2018 from the amalgamation of Mt Maunganui and Te Puke parishes. The parish already has one primary school – St Thomas More School in Mt Maunganui.

According to the Kete Korero article, “Suzanne Aubert School and St Thomas More School . . . will be key parts of the ministry of the parish”.

“We see both schools developing a very close relationship and building on the existing family relationships within the parish.”

The facebook page for Suzanne Aubert Catholic School posted on May 13 that Mr Mills is currently assistant principal at St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga, and was previously director of religious studies at St Thomas More Catholic School in Mt Maunganui.

He has also held the position of Across School’s Coordinator, where he has worked with local Catholic schools in the Bay of Plenty faith-based Kahui Ako (Community of Learning), the facebook post added.

It was also noted that Mr Mills is a graduate of the Science Teaching Leadership Programme facilitated by the Royal Society of New Zealand, where he specialised in marine science.

“He has held a variety of other teaching and leadership positions during his 16 years in education.”

The post also stated that Mr Mills “is an active parishioner in the All Saints by the Sea Parish, where he leads music ministry. He is a keen musician, artist, sportsperson and enjoys surfing at his local Papamoa beach”.

He is married to Amie-Lee, who is also a teacher and together they have five children.

As establishment principal of Suzanne Aubert Catholic School, “he is very excited about the opportunity to lead the vision and development of our new Catholic school in beautiful Papamoa, and is looking forward to connecting with our community”.

According to a report on The New Zealand Herald website earlier this year, Graeme Roil, the Schools Property and Finance manager at Hamilton diocese, first began scouting locations for the school 10 years ago, eventually buying the land for the school at Pāpāmoa five years ago. Government approval for the school was given earlier this year.

Building the new school is reportedly a “multi-million dollar project”.




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Michael Otto

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