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7 Questions on Leadership with Graeme Yule

Name: Graeme Yule

Title: Headmaster

Organisation: Scots College in New Zealand

I was appointed as Headmaster of Scots College in 2007.

As Headmaster of Scots College, I am responsible to the Board of Governors for all aspects of College operations. During my time at the College I have implemented the three International Baccalaureate programs and achieved Scots College’s status as an IB World School.

Additionally we have developed international exchange programs and restructured the College from the two-school model to three schools (including the restructure of over 120 positions and all operational processes.) These initiatives have all resulted in successfully growing the College roll and improving academic results.

I have held governance positions with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools (AHIS) ,he full Board of the Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ) and been influential in the establishment of the IB Schools NZ Group, national IB Awards ceremony and Presbyterian Schools Support Office.

I was also a Board member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council and have served on the Secondary Teacher Education Program Advisory Committee at Victoria University.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Graeme's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The biggest challenge for a leader is managing the diverse needs and wants of their communities. Often they are divergent and it takes much time and effort to keep these aligned.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I had a number of opportunities growing up at school and at sport. I was driven by the ability to make change and improve things for others. My career path is not unusual from teaching to leading a curriculum area and pastoral care to senior leadership and Headship supported by external governance roles.

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

Short answer is I don't. I have a wonderful EA who manages my work commitments and a supportive whanau who manage things at home. My role is busy and these supports allow me to focus on the matters at hand. I try to do what is important first.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

That what you do is all about people. Our roles are for the betterment of others. I was reminded of this when speaking to beginning teachers about the key role of a teacher.

5. 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?

The Long Road to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Read the last paragraph. There is always one more mountain to climb.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Don't listen to the naysayers. Just get on and do what you need to do.

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

As a young teacher I undertook an exchange to the UK. At that time a number of teachers refused to take sport over an industrial matter. As a young teacher I took football and cricket teams and as a result formed good relationships with the students which in turn aided my teaching.

This showed the importance in education of knowing the whole student and also how valuable such activities were in building relationships with students who then learned better in your classroom.

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