Mr Peter Clague announced as the 10th St Leonard’s College Principal

On behalf of the St Leonard’s College Council, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Peter Clague as the 10th Principal to lead the College from August 2022.

The College Council unanimously agreed that Peter is an outstanding selection for this significant leadership position. He is an inspiring and whole-hearted educational leader with the proven ability to maintain the impressive momentum the College has enjoyed under the leadership of Mr Stuart Davis. With over 30 years’ experience, Peter is an accomplished Principal, leading two prestigious independent schools in the last fifteen years.

Peter brings a broad range of leadership experiences in co-educational schools encompassing strategic planning, pedagogy, student well-being, staff management and development, and community engagement. He is passionate about progressive and holistic education that enables young people to thrive and excel both academically and personally. His values and experience complement St Leonard’s educational innovation and excellence. He is an outstanding communicator and an engaging speaker.

Peter is currently Headmaster of Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire, England, a role he has held for the past seven years. Bromsgrove School is a large, co-educational day and boarding independent school in the West Midlands with 1,980 students and overseas campuses in Shenzhen and Bangkok. At Bromsgrove, Peter’s leadership has actively reflected a philosophy that is aligned with our College – respecting the need to educate the whole child, offering a broad and diverse co-curricular program, nurturing a culture where service to others is expected and student voice is encouraged in the pursuit of scholastic endeavour.

Prior to this, Peter was Executive Principal of Kristin School in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest co-educational independent school. Similar to St Leonard’s in structure and aspiration, Kristin School has 1,650 students from Kindergarten – Year 13. Under his leadership, Kristin established an international reputation for innovation in education, setting national benchmarks for excellence in the performing arts, outdoor education, and the use of digital technologies, all of which reflect Peter’s professional passions.

Both Bromsgrove and Kristin are progressive schools with a similar ethos to St Leonard’s College, offering parallel tertiary pathways of the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the local qualification.

In addition to his Principalships, Peter’s career accomplishments include being a Member of the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference Communications Committee, President of the Associated Heads of Independent Schools NZ, Founder and Chair of NZ Heads of IB Schools Caucus, and Asia Pacific Representative for the World Heads Council of the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

Born and raised in New Zealand, Peter has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland and an MBA (Distinction) from Massey University, Auckland. When not absorbed by work or family, he endeavours to bring a little balance to his life by pursuing his passions as an amateur wood turner, occasional poet, and enthusiastic explorer of the great outdoors.

In selecting Peter to lead our College, the College Council undertook a rigorous search in partnership with Odgers Berndtson. Peter was selected from a highly qualified and experienced group of candidates from across the country and overseas.

The Council has identified that Peter is an outstanding leader who is committed to educational excellence and shares our long-standing commitment to providing an environment in which every child is known, nurtured and loved. For Peter, St Leonard’s represents opportunities that resonate with his educational philosophy and he is excited to further broaden that opportunity and shape the future of the College. Peter says:

“St Leonard’s reputation for progressive educational thought precedes it, but how encouraging it has been to see those values in action, as I have followed the College’s fortunes and engaged with the Council over recent months. Even in lockdown, a spirit of unity and positive purpose shines through. Accordingly, I was delighted to be invited to take up the post of Principal next year and appreciate the good fortune of being able to build on the superb leadership of Stuart Davis.

Wherever we are in the world, the pandemic has offered us lessons. Tapping a well-spring of resilience, finding the courage to innovate, harnessing the power of a community united.  From all that I have seen, St Leonard’s College learned those lessons quickly and well. I relish the prospect of drawing upon those same strengths as we navigate the post-COVID world together.

My wife, Sarndra, and I look forward to the move to Melbourne and immersing ourselves in the vibrant culture of the College community. The chance to play a role in maintaining St Leonard’s proud heritage excites me greatly. When borders open and restrictions lift as they eventually must, I shall relish the privilege of serving a school of such proud repute.”

Peter will deliver on his current employment contract to August 2022 and join us in Melbourne on 29 August 2022.

As Stuart Davis embarks on his retirement from 3 January 2022, there will be a period of eight months before Peter commences with the College. Council has consulted with Deputy Principal, Mrs Lisa Slingsby on the best approach that will ensure stability across the College during this time. Lisa has conveyed her desire to maintain her role as Deputy Principal, and to provide stability and support to an Acting Principal. Council is delighted to share with you that Mr Pat Kenny, Head of Middle School, will lead the College as Acting Principal from the commencement of the 2022 school year until Peter’s commencement. As Head of Middle School and previously the Head of Junior School, Pat is well known across our College community and is honoured to steer the College as the Acting Principal.

The new year of 2022 is an exciting one for our College. Stuart Davis has made an indelible mark on St Leonard’s College, and we’re excited that he will pass the baton of leadership to an equally impressive leader in Peter.  I would like to thank Stuart and acknowledge his incredible contribution to the College, our students, staff and families over the last twelve years as our Principal.

We warmly welcome Peter and Sarndra to the St Leonard’s College community, and we congratulate Peter on his appointment.

Jen Neate
Chair of St Leonard’s College Council