Farewell, Ms Small

December 15, 2023 at 11:00 AM

In honouring the end of Ms Juliet Small’s leadership tenure at the Girls’ School, students, staff and community gathered over several occasions to celebrate and reflect on her remarkable contribution as its Principal for the past eight years.

Ms Small's journey has been marked by collaborative leadership, a nurturing and safe environment, resilience through a global pandemic, and the realization of a dream – a purposefully built learning space for girls to thrive on the Shore Road campus. Ms Small guided the school through the unfamiliar, always with a firm resolve and a compassionate heart.

The final assembly was a poignant tribute to Ms Small's leadership. Head Girl Amelia Hardie and Deputy Head Girl Sophia Evans shared touching anecdotes, emphasising Ms Small's personal connection with each of them. Sophia recalled the simple yet powerful gesture of Ms Small remembering her name from the first day, while Amelia spoke of Ms Small’s genuine concern for her well-being.

Deputy Principal’s Mrs Jill Wahlstrom and Mrs Helen Prescott also added their appreciation, sharing their interpretations of her “pearls of wisdom” they have gathered over their time working together. Mrs Wahlstrom shared, “I cannot believe how patient, incredibly kind, and considerate you are. Know that you will be missed.” Mrs Prescott, who has been Ms Small’s colleague for eleven years, shared “You have led by example with humility, resilience, and empathy, inspiring and motivating everyone around you.”

These sentiments resonated throughout the assembly, as staff and students alike expressed their gratitude for a leader who championed both the individual and the collective. Ms Small's commitment to fostering a caring and empathetic school environment was evident in every story shared. Her advocacy for girls’ education, coupled with the timeless advice to "Always be yourself," will undoubtedly leave an enduring impact on the students.

The assembly, though bittersweet, was a thoughtful and at times, light-hearted affair. A collection of cherished memories, including Ms Small's quad-House cape, a book of students' dreams for the new school, and personal notes from each staff member, was presented to her as a token of appreciation. In return, Ms Small gifted the school a beautiful piece of artwork, a sculpture by local artist Melissa Young called Trust with another lasting message – together we are stronger.

In a separate ‘Thank You Teachers’ morning tea, the Girls’ School Parents and Friends took the opportunity to thank Ms Small for all that she has done. P&F Chair Mrs Sacha Palmer acknowledged how Ms Small has consistently put the girls first, thanking her and presenting her with a gift.

As Ms Small embarks on a new chapter in sunny Coromandel, we extend our heartfelt wishes for her continued success in her new role as the Principal of Tairua School next year. She will always hold a special place in the heart of Saint Kentigern. It is fitting that, in recognition of her dedicated contribution over the years, particularly in the building of the new school on Shore Road, the Social Stairs at the Girls' School will be renamed as the Juliet Small Stairs. May this symbolic gesture remind us of her commitment to educational excellence and compassionate leadership.

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