Dr Lesley Murrihy

Lesley Murrihy has never quite done things in the “normal” way. She and husband, John, have eight children who have been very successful in tertiary education, but who have never actually attended school. On the very day she was offered a first time principalship, Lesley was also accepted into the doctoral programme at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She accepted both opportunities. Lesley spent 17 years working as teacher and then principal in a small, semi-rural, low socio-economic school in highly challenging circumstances with 85% Maori students situated in the middle of the North Island; and left to take up a position as the foundation principal of a high decile (high socio-economic), multi-cultural school in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Throughout her principalship, Lesley has been recognised as an innovative school leader who cares for students. In her work, she combines vision and pragmatism - working best at the interface where practice and educational theory meet. She agrees with Kurt Lewin that there is nothing so practical as a good theory and she uses theory to inform practice and then reflected-upon-practice to continue the development of educational theory.

As the foundation principal of Amesbury School, with a very forward thinking and supportive Board of Trustees and amazing staff, Lesley has had a unique opportunity to really explore what education can/should look like for 21st century learners. Over the past five plus years, Amesbury School has been developing a future-focused, integral, personalised and rigorous curriculum and implementing it across the whole school system. Lesley is very honest about the fact that this has been a hugely challenging journey, but she is also adamant that it has been highly rewarding and a thrilling journey of discovery.