Tom Gerrard (1966 - present)
Sunrise's roving reporter and part-time host, Ali Ikram and a TV3 film crew visited Rosmini College on Wednesday 13th August 2008 to conduct an in-depth interview New Zealand’s longest serving secondary schools’ Principal. Ikram was interested in both the school and Gerrard’s views on Education. Mr Gerrard also appeared on the front page of the North Shore Times on Tuesday 23rd December 2008. He has been the Principal of Rosmini College for 33 years.
Mr Gerrard was born in Cavan, Ireland and came to New Zealand at the age of nine. He has a B.A. in English and a M.A in Philosophy. Mr Gerrard says he, “always wanted to be a teacher at Rosmini.” He arrived at Rosmini College in 1966 where he taught here for four years. Mr Gerrard then went to Levuka, Fiji where he was the Assistant Principal for three years. He came back to New Zealand in 1974 and became the Head of English at Ruawai College near Dargaville. In 1975 he returned, as Deputy Principal, to Rosmini. In 1976 Tom Gerrard became the Principal of Rosmini College. He was the first lay principal of a Catholic Boys’ School in New Zealand. Mr Jim Flanagan was appointed as his Deputy Principal. The 1988 Rosminian describes Mr Gerrard as, “the top of the pyramid: a man of many tasks and hats – interviewing, using two phones at once, dictating letters. His office is often empty because he’ll be out at assembly, taking senior Christian Living, coaching a rugby team, speaking at a conference or watching the socks, shoes and shirts of sartorially imperfect boys.”
In 1999 Mr Gerrard was awarded a Woolf Fisher Fellowship and he traveled to Rome, Ireland and Wales where he visited a number of different schools, including Eton, and universities. He describes the building of the Tindall Auditorium as his biggest achievement as it has, “allowed for big assemblies, masses and school productions.” Mr Gerrard noted in his television interview some of the changes from his time as Principal were fewer male teachers, the introduction of NCEA and abolishment of corporal punishment. Mr Gerrard says in order to achieve “boys need discipline and the opportunity to be leaders in the school’, he also says that “teaching needs to be contents based and “that a school is only as good as its teachers.” Mr Gerrard loves rugby, classical literature and culture and he says, “there is still a place for Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte today.”
NB: To see the full Sunrise interview, click the YouTube link below.