Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meet in Te Arahi (Staff Meeting Room) on the last Monday of the month at 5.45pm during term time.  Parents are welcome.


A full copy of the Board minutes is available upon request, once ratified by the Board.

Board Members

  • Robert Sewell

    I am Whanganui born and bred and have been living here on and off for most of my life.  In 2014 we made a conscious decision to relocate back to Whanganui partly for lifestyle, but primarily because of the availability and access to high quality secondary school education. 


    I am married to Karen and we have four school-aged children, currently a son at Whanganui High School in Year 10 and a son and daughter to start from Fordell School in 2020 and 2021 respectively.  Our eldest daughter is Year 13 at Girls’ College. 


    We are both self-employed running our own successful businesses, I am director of an engineering consultancy, working in industrial capital project development.  Karen is a chef and owns Honest Kitchen. 


    Since our children started preschool I have been continually actively in education governance, firstly as a member and President of Whanganui Montessori Preschool Association for eight years, and a current Board member of Fordell School. 


    It would be a privilege to be a member of the Whanganui High School BOT. I have a strong understanding and experience in the requirements and expectation of governance and how a Board of Trustees effectively supports the Principal and management team of a school. 


    I look forward to having the opportunity to play an active role in supporting the continual delivery of quality education for all our children.

  • Myles Fothergill


    I am a local family man and business owner of Q-West Boat Builders based in Whanganui.  Having also been involved in various governance roles over the past 12 years across various business sectors, I am particularly passionate about education and supporting youth into meaningful employment through trade training. 


    I have served on the Brunswick School Board of Trustees for two consecutive terms since 2013 with three of those years as Chairman.  Under my leadership we achieved our goal of providing each student with Apple devices (Years 7 and 8, MacBooks) and introduced digital learning platforms for our students.  This was entirely funded by the school/board with no contribution requirement from parents.  We also completely rebuilt the school swimming pool, including new automated filter and dosing systems, all of which was fully externally funded.  With the Principal and teaching staff, we significantly raised student achievement well above the Government’s national target.


    I offer my nomination for a trustee position on Whanganui High School Board of Trustees to add value to what I believe is one of the best schools in our region.  I will bring considerable experience to the table, particularly around sound governance, leadership and career futures, particularly in trades.


    I currently have a daughter in Year 11 at Whanganui High School, a granddaughter in Year 9 and another daughter due to start in 18 months’ time.


    I am also currently Chairman of Whanganui District Council’s economic development agency, Whanganui and Partners (W&P), responsible for growing the district’s economy.  A large component of W&P’s role is in the education space which gives me good insight into what needs doing in the future.


    Current Governance/Board Positions

    • Whanganui and Partners (W&P) – Chairman – 2016 – Present.
    • Whanganui District Employment Training Trust (WDETT) – Board Member – 2010 – Present.
    • Q-West Boat Builders Ltd – Director/Chairman – 1998 – Present.
    • Anchor Ridge Investments – Director – 2004 – Present.

    Recent Governance/Board Positions

    • New Zealand Marine Industry Association – President, Chairman & Director (2015 to 2018).
    • NZ Marine & Composites Industry Training Organisation (NZMACITO) – Chairman/Director 2015-18.
    • Brunswick School Board of Trustees – Chairman 2013 – 2016, Board Member 2016 – 2019.
    • Auckland On Water Boat Show – Chairman 2015 – 2018.
    • New Zealand Marine Export Group – Board member – 2015 – 2018.

    Whanganui Chamber of Commerce – Vice President – 2012 – 2014.

  • Keki Colaabavala

    My name is Keki F D Colaabavala, people know me as Keki.  I have a son in Whanganui High School, Year 10, while my other son is in Whanganui Intermediate School, Year 7.  My daughter was a full time student at WHS, having been the Academic Prefect for 2018.  She achieved a scholarship from Otago University as well as a full scholarship from Auckland University.


    We came to Whanganui in 2004 from Whangarei, with a plan to work for 6 months and move on.  During those 6 months fell in love with the place and the people so stayed on, left the company and set up my own business.  Still here in 2019.  This is my home.


    In my role as a Financial Advisor have travelled extensively all over NZ, especially the North Island.  Over the years have owned and operated various successful businesses, some which have been sold.  My work has helped me to understand the best way to move forward as a team.


    I am passionate about education, and wish to make sure every child at our school can reach their highest possible standard in educational achievement.  I will bring my own unique set of skills and experiences to the board.  As it does not matter how many resources you have, if you do not use them properly it will never be enough.  I sincerely believe anything is possible with a positive mental attitude.


    If elected I will work to ensure the success of our school and a bright future for our children.  We need an education system where all children are expected to succeed and one where we all take shared responsibility in ensuring this happens.  As a member of a school board I believe I can make things happen – and can make a difference.


    Thank you for taking the time to consider me as your trustee.  It would be a privilege and pleasure to serve on the board.

  • Pirihira Cribb

    E rere kau mai te awa nui mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa.  Ko au te awa ko te awa ko au.

    Ko Pirihira (Piri) Cribb tōku ingoa.


    I am currently a co-opted member of the board of trustees on behalf of the Māori whānau at Whanganui High School.  I seek your vote to secure a seat at the board table as a parent-elect representative because I believe that ALL students (and their families) are entitled to an education that exposes a balanced world view of the community and country that we live in.  I want to represent that view on behalf of ALL parents.


    The LIFE values of Whanganui High School are consistent with the values and practises of Te Ao Māori and it is my goal as a mother and parent representative to contribute to the architecture of practising and applying those values at our school by way of my place at the board table.


    What do I bring to the board table?  A balanced worldview.  Critical awareness.  Practical solutions.  Analytical thinking.  Resilience.  A sense of humour.


    What does quality education look like to me?  Access to and the availability of opportunities to pursue what makes young people happy.  If that means you want to be the judge of the Supreme Court or whether you want to own a fleet of green waste disposal units then I want our school to help prepare students for that.  I want an education system that is honest with students.  A system that rewards the hard work students put in.  I want students to know what working hard is.  I want students to be positioned to be the masters of their own destiny.


    I want parents to be responsible and accountable for the role that they play in the journey of our students.  To know that there is support in the school for that to happen.  And to be the standard for their own children.


    I want teachers to know that I care about what they think too.  I might not always agree but I value and respect the place of knowing and doing that teaching staff come from.  Most of all I just want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.


    Kia Whaiora (that we might have life)

  • Jo Maguire

    Jo Maguire

    Tēnā koutou katoa


    My name is Jo Maguire. I am married to Paul, who is a former pupil of the school, and we have two daughters attending Whanganui High School in Year 10 and Year 12.


    I am the Deputy Principal at St Johns Hill School and have been a teacher for over 25 years, working in both low and high decile schools. I work with families, whanau, teachers, our community and agencies every day to support them on their learning pathway.


    I have the health and well-being of the learners as a high priority, especially with the increase of digital technology and the upcoming changes and negotiations in education.  I have a professional manner and want the best education for our learners at Whanganui High School. My job involves working with the New Zealand Curriculum, School Policies and Educational Guidelines and the processes that can support students, staff and whanau. I will continue to ask appropriate and challenging questions for you, and on your behalf.


    The importance of the LIFE values at Whanganui High School is an integral part in supporting our learners to be citizens that contribute positively to our community. I am currently on the Board of Trustees and for the past three years I have been active in the changes that have occurred e.g. Principal employment, Graduate Profile consultation and the school uniform review. I have been privileged to continue my learning on the Board of Trustees working with the excellent staff, students and community of Whanganui High School.  I look forward to the next steps we embark on, for a better education for all.


    Nga mihi nui

  • Principal

    Martin McAllen

  • Staff Trustee

    Lisa Burgess

    I am a full-time Teacher of English and Teacher-in-Charge of Year 11 English.  I have managed hockey and basketball teams and am continuing with the latter in 2019.


    I have been the Staff Trustee for the past three years.  During this time, I was involved with the Principal’s appointment in 2017.  Following the changes to the Health and Safety legislation, I was also involved in the establishment of the Health and Safety Committee and subsequent ticketing system.


    During my ten years at Whanganui High School I have witnessed a change to the clientele in our classes, and the diverse range of educational and pastoral needs which are associated with them.  I believe it is important that the BOT are aware of this and the additional pressure which this puts on the school systems and staff.  I believe we need to be proactive in dealing with these changes and support the staff in working to help students gain success in this current climate.


    I would also like to continue with the push for the BOT to look at and address the wellbeing of our large and hard-working staff, both inside and outside the classroom .  I believe providing a healthy and safe working environment, for both staff and students, is a priority for the board and should be the focus over the next three years.  Great learning environment = happy teachers = successful students.

  • Student Trustee

    Rebecca Baker

Co-opted Members

Also in Attendance at Board Meetings

  • Bursar

    Noeline Kennedy

    I have held the position of Bursar at Wanganui High School since 1997. I am responsible for the financial management services of the school, including financial reporting and budgeting. In addition, a component of my role is payroll management and overall responsibility for the school’s support staff.

    Over a number of years the Board has opted not to have a Finance Sub-committee, and therefore I attend Board meeting in a support role, to present monthly financial reports.

    I hold a Diploma of Business from Wanganui UCOL. I have a number of interests but enjoy first and foremost, my family, friends and holidaying.

  • Secretary

    Carol Molan