Melini Fasavalu - Principal

After graduating with a Master of Educational Leadership in 2015, Melini Fasavalu is now Principal of Waimahia Intermediate School in South Auckland.

Melini Fasavalu

“Both my parents were teachers so it’s in the blood. I didn’t do my initial teacher training until I was 23. By then I was a mum and had some experience working in an office and it wasn’t for me. I have always been a learner so flipping that into teaching made sense.

“I did my Bachelor of Education (Teaching) degree with the University of Auckland. I still believe that teacher training is done best through the University. I did parts of my degree at Manukau and found it so convenient. When I realised how family oriented it was, I was sold.

“I did my Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership while working full-time as deputy principal at Wiri Central Primary School. Then I was fortunate to get a Teachers’ Study Award that allowed me to do my masters full-time.

“I joined the Pasifika postgraduate writing group at Manukau and that was a godsend. Completing a masters can be a lonely journey so the weekly get together with other learners was great. We helped each other problem-solve through parts of the research journey.

“Being immersed in theory and linking that to experience was enlightening. I went back to school with a new perspective on my leadership and the kind of leader I wanted to be.

“I am now principal of Waimahia Intermediate School. A huge part of my job is constantly reviewing what we are doing and the impact on learners. Having done some research helps me to do that.

“I am always encouraging others to study, especially those of us who have been teachers for a while. We need the space to reflect and learn. Then we can go back into our work spaces and see things with fresh eyes and plan ways for moving forward.”