Our Senior Leadership Team.Back: Principal - Neil Haywood.  Front: Junior DP - Shane Morrow, Senior DP - Lisa Heald, AP - Carole Lake by Asher Spragg

Leading into the Future

An in-depth look at education at Riccarton High School and our leaders' views on education and how we can better prepare our ākonga for the future.

As technology-driven change impacts society,  leaders face challenges in transforming their organisations to meet the demands of change, disruption and the future of work.  

Our schools are trying to manage the emerging future using systems and practices that were designed for a different time.

Our Senior Leadership Team is part of a much larger team of school leaders who are prepared for this transformation.  

Our 2018 Education Review Report stated, “The school is highly focused on improving teaching and learning throughout the school.  Leaders provide clarity of direction to achieve the school’s vision.”..............'We are a forward-thinking place of learning. Our diverse ākonga are preparing for a rapidly evolving world.  They are developing relevant skills, a global perspective and embrace the Riccarton Way. Students will experience success today and will be prepared for tomorrow' - RHS

Our senior leadership team - Principal Neil Haywood; Deputy Principals Shane Morrow and Lisa Heald; and Assistant Principal, Carole Lake - have never stopped learning and developing and are ready to take on the challenges of education in our rapidly changing society.  

Lisa pushes learning ideas to their limits, Shane supports these ideas with academic research and rigor, Carole brings the practical reality to these ideas and we are led by an immensely experienced Principal. 


Lisa Heald came to us from the prestigious New Zealand Graduate School of Education where she led the training of Secondary School Teachers. 

Last year she won a 2019 BOMA Educational Fellowship, a program designed to explore ways of bringing exponential thinking, technology, and innovative leadership into schools.  

During the last school holidays Lisa was in the USA, visiting innovative schools, design and tech companies, and then completed a Design Thinking workshop at Stanford University.  Lisa brings to her team the reality of our changing world and what this means for education and future work.  Lisa is now part of an extensive network of innovative educators and human design thinkers.

Lisa’s ability to challenge the thinking of others around the nature of learning and to inspire with ideas for action, creates change.  She develops and supports innovative practices that maximise the learning experiences in areas such as curriculum design, professional development, effective use of technology and fulfilling the learning needs of ākonga in a bicultural context. 


Shane Morrow became Deputy Principal in 2011. In 2018 he was awarded one of 75 TeachNZ Secondary Teachers Study Awards. 

This enabled him to study full-time, as an online learner, towards a Master of Educational Leadership qualification through the University of Waikato.  

He was particularly attracted to Waikato’s Educational Leadership for Social Justice course which focused on identifying and meeting the needs of increasingly diverse learners and explored issues of access, fairness, agency and success in education - with a strong focus on cultural responsivity and biculturalism.  

This is relevant to the diverse Riccarton High School community who reinforced the importance of inclusivity and of creating a sense of belonging and connectedness as key to educational success when consulted for our Education Brief.


Carole Lake is our most recent addition, starting in 2018 having spent the previous two years as Acting Assistant Principal at Avonside Girls' High School as they prepared for their new school.  

While there, Carole was involved in the change in timetable structure which introduced longer learning times, as well as the introduction of an extended whanau time to focus on wellbeing strategies.  Planning events and implementing structures like reporting and collaboration were also a priority.  

Prior to this role, Carole taught for many years at Kaiapoi High School.  While there Carole took on various roles such as Acting Assistant Principal, Timetabler, Dean, Specialist Classroom Teacher, and Board of Trustees member.

Carole was an important member of the group that worked on the rebuild for the school - helping to link effective pedagogical practices with flexible teaching and learning spaces.  

Her experiences will be invaluable as Riccarton High School moves into implementing and embedding many of the goals in the Education Brief and embarks on its own rebuild program.  

Her educational philosophy is centered around providing opportunities for all learners to be the best they can be with a sense of self-worth and care for others.


Neil was a previous recipient of a Woolf Fisher Fellowship which enabled him to study global educational trends at Harvard University.  

He recently attended the World Edulead Conference in Singapore and the Principal’s Delegation to Queensland.

Neil has learned from some of the world’s best educational researchers and thought leaders, and it is these very people that continue to inspire him.  People such as Professor Michael Fullan, a worldwide authority on educational reform who has stated that "the current education systems in most countries (including New Zealand) do not meet the needs or interests of a majority of students".  

Neil believes that Riccarton High School has much to learn from what is happening internationally. He commented that a ‘learning revolution’ is underway that not only focuses on the 6C’s (character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity) but also engages the students to get a greater insight into their world so that they may change it for the better, locally, nationally and globally.

Neil sees the future of education as an exciting prospect but not without its challenges. 

We must clearly establish what our priorities are and move away from what is generally accepted as quite an antiquated education system to one which is far more relevant and purposeful for our Riccarton Graduates.