Saint Kentigern Girls’ School Celebrates Commissioning of New Principal

March 26, 2024 at 4:16 PM

In a special service on 22 March, Saint Kentigern Girls’ School’s third principal, Mrs Marianne Duston, was commissioned into her role. The proceedings took place before a full school, joined by the Trust Board, her new colleagues Boys’ School Principal Mr Peter Cassie and Preschool Principal Mrs Megan Storey, old colleagues from her prior tenure at Saint Kentigern College, College Head Prefects, and her family – husband John and their two daughters, Anna and Rachel.

The official party were piped into the school hall, before the Kapa Haka group performed a Haka Pōwhiri and Hato Keneti e (waita a ringa) to welcome distinguished guests. Trust Board Chair Mr Mark Conelly welcomed guests, and Executive Trustee Dr Kevin Morris reinforced the Board’s commitment to supporting Ms Duston through her leadership. With him, he brought a letter from Mrs Duston’s prior colleague, the Principal of Ravenswood School for Girls, Mrs Anne Johnstone.

Mrs Johnstone offered a solid endorsement, “Marianne is a leader who is motivated to support continuous improvement in teaching and learning as well as foster high levels of wellbeing, having successfully progressed our school’s Teaching and Learning Framework through extensive staff collaboration, among others. I have no doubt she will make a wonderful impact in this important role and bring to bear her intellectual gifts along with her care and compassion in the education of girls.”

Continuing with the ceremony, Head Girl Farrah Palmer took the stage to read an encouraging passage from Isaiah 40, aptly titled ‘Comfort for God’s People.’ The school then sang 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord). Next, the Highland Belles performed ‘The Blessing’ over Mrs Duston and her leadership. 

Mr Conelly led the official pledges, to which Mrs Duston promised to uphold the objects of the Saint Kentigern Trust Deed and to serve the students, staff, principals, and the Trust Board to the best of her ability.

She then addressed the school and guests, highlighting her commitment to ensuring that each student has the very best opportunity to learn and grow in confidence, receive exceptional education and develop in character. Mrs Duston added, “In a world that is constantly evolving, we need young people who are courageous, resilient, generous towards others and motivated to make a positive impact.  Together with our wonderful Girls’ School staff, I will do my very best to enable a learning environment which draws out the best in each girl, helping her to discover and develop her unique strengths. Mrs Duston concluded her address by emphasising her Christian faith as a strong foundation in her life and leadership.

Following the ceremonial proceedings, Mrs Duston was presented with gifts by the various syndicates – a handmade Korowai from the Junior School, painted rocks and a tree from the Middle School, and a wreath with words of encouragement from every Senior School student and staff. After the conclusion of the ceremony, the guests gathered in the Girls’ School staffroom for morning tea.

We are confident Mrs Duston will continue to further strengthen our Girls’ School as a leading Independent, Presbyterian primary school offering exceptional education for girls in Years 0 to 8.

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