Head of Middle School / Interim Head of Senior School
We are delighted to introduce Dianne Smith as our new Head of Middle School (Years 7-10) from 2022. Dianne has been on staff at Marsden since 2008. Her heart for her students is evident through her many years teaching both Middle School (Years 7-10) and Senior School (Years 11-13) English classes, as well as her involvement with Marsden’s numerous musical productions as a producer, stage manager and director.
In July 2023 Dianne assumed the role of Interim Head of Senior School.
My aim is to bring a strong sense of purpose and cohesion across Years 7-10. In both pastoral and academic contexts, the position will require the ability to track where students have come from, and to look broadly ahead; to provide stability but also challenge.
Dianne Smith 2021
Opening their home and hearts
For the last four years Dianne and her family have hosted Marsden student Jade Otway in their home. Jade came to Marsden from Blenheim and Dianne met her in Year 9 English. Jade is an accomplished tennis player and needed not only a place to live but also support as she was often away from school playing in tournaments. Dianne connected with Jade and after discussing it with her own children and partner, and Jade’s parents, they decided to open their home to Jade as a permanent homestay. Now Jade is part of the family. “I honestly consider Dianne and her family as close as my own. They welcomed me into their whānau and helped me deal with the pressure of school, tennis and living away from my own family. I am really going to miss them all next year when I move to the States.”
Teaching and Nurturing Wellbeing
Dianne attended Waikato University earning a BA in English and Political Science, then received her Diploma in Teaching from Auckland Teachers’ College. She has taught for more than 30 years, primarily English, but also Media Studies and Drama. She was the Head of Department at St. Pat’s town before starting her family with partner Pete. They have a daughter and son, both now grown and living in Wellington. Dianne also taught in the distance learning programme at Te Kura where she worked with prisoners and teen mothers for many years.
She has been the Head of English here at Marsden since 2016 and is also an invested Junior Form Teacher, fully committed to nurturing the wellbeing of our students. Dianne’s contributions at Marsden include introducing Media Studies, piloting our Year 9 Performance Media option, advocating for the establishment of the Guided Studies programme and most recently teaching Life Skills Drama. “I am a firm believer in the core facets of a curriculum area, but I also love the fluidity and creativity that teaching offers. Our students need this too. I want all our students to have a solid grounding in this core, but with the added counterpoint of risk and curiosity. “
Selected for Prestigious Fellowship
Marsden is thrilled to announce that Dianne Smith, Head of Middle School, has been selected to participate in The Global Action Research Collaborative on Girls’ Education (GARC) for 2023. Selected as one of 30 Fellows from around the world, Dianne will participate in an 18-month program culminating in a presentation of her research findings at the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools Annual Conference in June 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. Read full press release ...
When she’s not at school Dianne enjoys foraging for flowers, cooking with her whānau, walking the dog, reading, and tramping the Great Walks.