Matt has appreciated the warm welcome he has been given at St Andrew’s, and has been mindful of the legacy left by former Director of Boarding, Di MacDonald, who was at the College for almost 30 years. “Di was so influential and brought real vibrancy to the boarding environment. I also highly value building relationships with the boarders, and I’ve spent the first few months being as involved as possible and getting to know everyone. I like to be really hands-on, which has given me a good understanding of what happens on a day-to-day basis in the boarding houses.”
Matt’s personal philosophy on supporting student well-being and achievement is to make decisions based on ‘what a great parent might do’. “I believe great parents set the culture and tone of their family and foster a sense of belonging, protection, and direction. We set the same intentions in our boarding family at St Andrew’s College. I’m fortunate to lead a large team who deliver an incredibly high duty of care. Everything we do revolves around supporting the students’ number one objective for being here – to get an excellent education.”
Matt came to St Andrew’s College from Christchurch Boys’ High School where he was Assistant Manager of Adams House for three years, and was also the school’s Director of Communications, a teacher, and a sports coach. He is an Old Boy himself, having played for the First teams in rugby and cricket for three years at Christchurch Boys’ High School, and serving as Deputy Head Boy in his final year.
During a gap year in the United Kingdom Matt had his first taste of teaching at an agricultural school in Somerset. While in the UK, Matt met his future wife, Nancy, and on their return to New Zealand, he spent four years studying Physical Education at the University of Otago. After a year teaching English in Japan, Matt completed his post-graduate teaching studies, and started his teaching career back at Christchurch Boys’ High School as a Health and Physical Education teacher. “In 2006, my family moved into Adams House, where Nancy and I were Housemasters for six years. After being Dean of Year 9 for three years, I took on the role as Deputy Manager of Adams House, which gave me invaluable experience in the management of a boarding house, and the care of boarding students. I was mentored by my former Physical Education teacher, Richard Taylor, who has been Head of Boarding at the school for over 20 years. He was a massive influence on me and played a key role in shaping my vision and love of boarding.”
Matt, Nancy, and their two children, Grace and Tully, currently reside in Prebbleton, but hope to be living on campus by the end of the year. “Coming to St Andrew’s has been a huge move, but I have absolutely no regrets. I’m excited to work in an environment where our students feel safe and happy, are supported in every way to be themselves, and encouraged to make the most of the wonderful opportunities available to them here at St Andrew’s College.”