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Reflections of a foundation year teacher

When ACG Sunderland first opened its doors to students in January 2007, Leanne Chartrand was at the front of the class. Now, 13 years later, the experienced educator honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Staff Leanne Chartrand

“I love it here, that’s why I’ve stayed so long,” says Leanne. “I love the children and the staff as they make the place what it is. It’s a real pleasure to come to work and get to be with fantastic, hard- working children and teachers.”

As a foundation teacher at ACG Sunderland, Leanne left her teaching job at St Cuthbert’s College to launch the new school and help shape the minds of West Auckland youngsters.

“When I first started at ACG Sunderland my role was to develop and teach technology education to Year 1 to 9 part-time, and build the programme, equipment and resources from the ground up. Later I became the Year 5 teacher, then the Dean of the Upper Primary and the Year 6 teacher, then the Dean of the Primary and the Year 4 teacher.”

Now she’s Head of Primary and has accumulated an impressive string of achievements and highlights, from getting her soap box derby team into the West Auckland finals to winning the Auckland Regional Robotics Competition and flying to Christchurch for nationals.

“There have been so many highlights over my time at ACG Sunderland. I’ll never forget winning a national science competition and receiving over $5000 worth of IT equipment for the school for NASA’s birthday! Another highlight was an article that was published in a school journal about my robotics club.”

Leanne has been a star player in the development of West Auckland’s top school and has loved being part of its journey.

“The roll has grown from 66 children on the first day to over 500 now, and the number of staff has grown along with the special skills and abilities of our amazing teachers. We have also taken on the Cambridge curriculum which has been a real plus for the learning of all the children at ACG Sunderland.”

And while she has helped drive much of the progress, there are some aspects of the school that Leanne is certain will never change.

“The values at ACG Sunderland have been integral to everything we do at school and it underlies how we interact with each other. Children can be seen holding open doors for others, saying good morning to staff, and taking leadership opportunities when they can. I don’t think these values will ever leave ACG Sunderland as it is at the heart of who we are.”