Green School New Zealand’s new principal Caroline Rennie came across her dream job by chance.

Last year Rennie, who was the deputy head of school at ACS International School in Doha, was sitting at her desk filling out a reference form for a colleague.

Fortunately for her, she couldn’t quite remember the job they’d applied for because while looking it up online, an advertisement for Green School NZ (GSNZ) popped up.

“It’s a little bit of serendipity. I wasn’t looking to change my job,” she said after her first week in the new role at the Taranaki school.

“It really appealed to me, the idea that I could bring a wonderful amount of knowledge I’ve learnt along the way and then put that into a completely sustainable model.”

Almost all educators in the international world knew of the Green School, she said.

It was founded by Taranaki couple Michael and Rachel Perrett in 2019, whose children attended the Green School in Bali.

The educational philosophy of the school is based on ideals of sharing and caring for the environment through hands-on learning.

Rennie arrived back in New Zealand in March and did two weeks in managed isolation before being welcomed to the school with a powhiri on April 12.

Born and raised in Canterbury, Rennie has extensive experience in the education sector, working in the South Pacific, Japan, South Korea and China.

But this is the first time she’s had a principal role in New Zealand.

GSNZ recently passed its Education Review Office report and has been registered as a private school through the Ministry of Education.

Rennie said the school was now working towards getting its New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation.

“It allows our more mobile families to have a New Zealand qualification but then one that’s recognised internationally,” Rennie said.

The school roll has grown from about 50 students in 2020 to 75 this year. It has also got a three-year mastery-based diploma for the ten year 11 students up and running, which replaces the traditional NCEA standard in New Zealand, Rennie said.

“Often with education it’s criticised because it doesn’t prepare you for the real world, so this is a way of preparing students to be sustainable and have really practical skills.

“It’s setting out what you need to master and the learners will show evidence of their learning and show how they’ve mastered it.”

– Stuff NZ