It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our Board Chairperson, Mark Callaghan, following a brief but courageous battle with cancer. Our deepest condolences go to his family and whānau. “Nā koutou i tangi, nā tatau katoa” (When you cry, your tears are shed by us all).
Mark was co-opted onto the Board in 2018 before being elected as Chairperson in June 2019, a role he continued to serve until he passed away on Friday 14 July 2023. Mark also served on the Board of Somerfield te Kura Wairepo until 2022. He was passionate about this community and saw his contribution on the school Board as “an honour, being able to give something back to the community and the school that nurtures and educates our children.” Mark was community focussed in so many of his endeavours.
Mark’s approach to leadership and governance aligned with the Callaghan family’s spirit of generosity and support. There have been a number of occasions when a much appreciated cake or morning tea treat appeared at the end of a busy term or following a significant event, thanks to the Callaghan family’s thoughtfulness. Mark regularly asked what the Board could do to help. He appreciated people’s efforts whether they were Board members, staff, whānau or students especially when those efforts supported others to flourish.
Mark always had the students, current and future, at the front and centre of his thinking in his approach to all his Board work. He was also highly supportive and trusting of the Senior Leadership Team to manage the school.
Mark was prepared to speak up for the school and education issues in a logical way with carefully considered points of view. Mark brought a pragmatic, practical and common sense approach to his Board work and leadership – whether it was student achievement targets, equity of opportunities, finances, school uniform, employment matters, health and safety, community consultation, staff and student well-being, or various building projects.
During his time on the Board he was required to chair or be a member of the occasional Board led student discipline meeting. All parties could rely on him bringing a thoroughly fair, empathetic and balanced approach. He ensured he had a full picture of the issues by asking searching and critical questions and ensuring all parties had ample opportunity to voice their perspectives.
All of Mark’s Board work was completed with sincerity and good humour. He was quick to smile and approached all his Board tasks with a cheerful demeanour. He was prepared to be open minded, listen to points of view and succinctly summarise discussion. He didn’t shy away from difficult issues and conversations but treated all involved with respect. His leadership style was well suited to the Board’s aim of reaching decisions through consensus wherever and whenever possible.
As both a school and community we have been extremely fortunate to have had Mark as a member and leader of our school’s Board. We will miss him dearly.