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Angela Blank is the new tumuaki of Tirohia School, south of Paeroa. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Tirohia principal embraces new role

Tirohia School’s new principal has a plan: grow the roll, gain a classroom, increase its presence.
Already, with the arrival of a new school van – which will be signwritten – “the gem of Hauraki” is starting to make itself known.
“I think people don’t know we exist,” Angela Blank said.
“Because we don’t have a uniform, they don’t see us. But the best thing people can do is come and have a look and get the vibe. If our vibe doesn’t suit you, then it doesn’t suit you, but we are who we are.”
Tirohia School is conveniently placed along State Highway 26, but Angela said plenty of people have mistaken the school for the offices of the neighbouring quarry.
“Yet we’ve been here 100 years,” she told The Profile.
Angela has been the acting principal of Tirohia School since November, 2021, and was recently appointed tumuaki [principal].
She is better known by students and parents as Mrs B, and joined the Tirohia School whānau as the junior room teacher in 2021 having taught previously at Miller Avenue School in Paeroa.
Tirohia School’s presiding member Larn Wilkinson said Angela was quickly finding her feet in her new position and was already achieving strong growth in student achievement progress despite the challenges of Covid-19.
A feature she has introduced was the ‘Mad Mondays’ programme, which allows children to work using digital technology and robotics.
The school has its own 3D printer, which Angela said had become “the gift that keeps on giving”.
“A dinosaur takes eight hours to print, so I plod away all week printing the stuff for the kids, and all week I go down to the classroom and ask: ‘Whose is this?’ So, it’s become the gift that keeps giving,” she said.
“The last thing you want is a kid rolling over in the morning and thinking: ‘ugh, I have to go to school’. You instead want them to roll over and think: ‘I wonder what we’re doing today’.”
The Hauraki school south of Paeroa has a roll of 40 students and two teachers – including Angela – but the new principal’s goal is to have more young faces in the family.
“We want to grow the roll, that’s our big thing. We’d love to get to three classes. We’ve got the building, but we have to have 51 kids to get three classes,” she explained.
“Most of our kids come from town, and our van is $5 a week – people can call in tomorrow and fill out the [enrolment] form for next year.”
Angela said she was looking forward to working with the students, staff, and whānau of the unique school and invited potential pupils and their families to call in at Tirohia.