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Introducing Emma, our newest team member

We are excited to have Emma Kingston join our team as the Emerging NLP Coordinator. The Emerging NLP started in 2021 with great feedback from teachers with a desire to improve their leadership skills in education. With the success of the 2021 programme, Emma has joined the team to coordinate the programme and ensure 2022 delegates are equipped to be great leaders. We thought it would be a great idea to find out more about Emma!

Tell us a bit about you and your teaching background. I am primary trained and have taught from the junior to senior school in both state and state integrated schools, in single cell and collaborative spaces. I have always had a passion for children and teaching, ever since I played 'schools' with my brother and our soft toys as a 5 year old - poor Michael! As a teacher I have been passionate and excited to explore new ways of doing things, if it means better outcomes for the children we serve. I have taken great interest in how schools might need to change to meet the needs of learners in a changing world. I also became interested in helping adults to grow and reflect on their practice; and explored this through facilitation, conference presenting, school professional development sessions and coaching roles in primary, intermediate and secondary schools, as well as a deputy principal role. Who has been your biggest inspiration in teaching or leadership?

I have been fortunate to work in schools with great leaders who all taught me quite different things about leadership; from allowing teachers autonomy to become the best they can be, to leading in a strategic and evidenced manner, leading with a clear and common understanding of the school's vision, and balancing kindness with accountability. I have also had busy, well respected leaders from other schools take me under their wing and mentor me as an inexperienced leader, which I have always been grateful for and want to pay forward. Along the way many people have given me opportunities and allowed me to learn and grow as a leader despite my age at the time. This has left me with a belief that anyone can be a leader, with or without a 'title' so long as they are passionate, willing to reflect and learn, and are humble in growing the people around them. How do you like to unwind?

I have two little ones so I love to go to the beach and park and so on, seeing things through a child's eyes. I also love food and wine. I really enjoy cooking and trying new dishes at restaurants with family and friends. I love to read, especially about lives that are very different to my own. My husband and I are suckers for punishment and are currently renovating the fourth house, which I'm not sure is a good way to unwind(!), but I do love to plan and see the transformation of houses. I am also really looking forward to getting back into sailing this summer after a lengthy hiatus! Have you got a favourite leadership quote?

I'm not sure I have a favourite leadership quote as many great leaders have said many inspirational things. I think the below quote resonates with me for a number of reasons though. The concept of ako is key in the New Zealand education context and we all grow through professional conversations and actions, the leader included. I also like the humbleness that sits behind this quote. I have never been the kind of person a report card would describe as a confident, born leader! But we can all learn to grow into effective leaders. I also believe that an organisation is only going to move forward if it is done, as the quote says, "together."

"I'll lift you and you'll lift me and we'll both ascend together." - John Greenleaf Whittier.

Where is your favourite place to be (if all travel restrictions were removed!) I am very fortunate to holiday with my wider family at the beach in the Coromandel, so this is a special place for us. I must say a holiday somewhere warm and sunny would be pretty nice this winter too though! What are you looking forward to with your new role with Growth Culture?

I am really excited to join Growth Culture, with such enthusiastic and warm people. I am most looking forward to helping new leaders grow and overcome the challenges that come with being a great teacher but new to leadership, which is quite a different skillset. I believe it is vital to support people in this, as effective leaders are ultimately going to have an impact on learners.

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