John Russell

Leadership Advisor

John is a leadership advisor to beginning principals, based in the Greater Wellington region, including the Whanganui, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough regions.

John has been a secondary school principal in three schools over the last 29 years, including the last 11 years as the principal of Naenae College, a very diverse multi-ethnic school in Lower Hutt. In this role he was honoured as Senior New Zealander of the Year in 2016 for his work in community empowerment.

John has been a first-time principals’ mentor for a number of years and has represented the Wellington region on the Secondary Principals’ Council for the last five years. He has served on a number of working parties and ministerial inquiry groups.

John’s current role involves working with principals in the following areas:

  • Strategic leadership and capacity building.

  • Creating positive change.

  • Developing culturally responsive practice.

  • Developing relationships between schools and their communities.

  • Building evaluative capability in leaders.

  • Working collaboratively and building relational trust.

  • Developing robust appraisal practices.

John lives in Porirua with his wife Rosemary who is a music teacher. He has three married daughters and 10 grandchildren, including five adopted African boys. His interests include keeping up with his extended whānau, landscaping and building projects, exploring issues of social justice and equity and maintaining a tolerable level of fitness.