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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Mark B. Tan

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Mark B. Tan

Name: Mark B. Tan

Current title: Principal

Current organisation: Kaitaia Abundant Life School

The Far North of New Zealand is home and has always been so. I married my Primary-school sweetheart as soon as I could and together we have 2 children who are raised in a brilliant environment surrounded by beaches, bush and whanau.
Have taught locally and overseas, publicly and privately, 5 year olds through to teenagers to young adults. In my 7th year as an Area School Principal and focused on bringing the best out of our students and staff.

7 Questions with Mark B. Tan

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?

People! We are all different, uniquely gifted and varied in our perspectives, understandings and interpretations of life and living. Understanding, relating to and leading people is a developed skill and one of the most challenging at that. People - your greatest asset and your greatest challenge.

2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Calendaring everything works for me. Keeps me sane and winning.
Time with the Lord, breakfast with the family, work (ensuring I take breaks with the staff and students), leaving work at the calendered time (which some days means an early exit or a late night), being present at home or at the beach, dinner with the family, exercise and then lights out.

3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

It's ok to fail, just fail forward. Mistakes are part of winning, not reasons to stop and not try.

4. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Jesus Inc., by Laurie Beth Jones.
It showed how entrepreneurial and adventurous the Lord was and how He took risks as such. It inspired me to get out of the boat.

5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?

If they are of the same heart and mind as your team/vision/leading, then you will keep them. If not, they will tend to move off.
To enable this to happen, I've moved more towards a coaching and mentoring role in my leadership as good leaders grow new leaders.

6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?

Valuing them by being real, transparent, honouring, reflective, and also blessing them with good food, breaks and ensuring that them and their family are of top priority, more than school.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?

Seeing a young lady enter our school who had been expelled from two local schools, one of which was a school for troubled teens. Through the love and care of our team, she attended our school for over a year and just blossomed in terms of self-confidence, heart and her overall wellbeing - it was visibly noticeable. I saw the heart and dedication of my team in action in loving that girl to a new place and level. Winning.

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