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SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Nicola is a passionate educator who spent six years at Auckland’s Pakuranga College before taking up the position of Principal at Mount Aspiring College in 2021. Before her appointment to Pakuranga College, Nicola held senior positions at Botany Downs Secondary College. She is a graduate of the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch College of Education and completed a Master’s degree from the University of Auckland in 2019.

Nicola sees education as being about preparing young people for their lives now and in the future and she understands the importance of strong community connections in helping young people succeed at school. Nicola is proud to lead a school which serves the whole community and her educational philosophy is centred on the whakatauki:

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. 

As well as a passion for education in the classroom, Nicola is also passionate about education beyond the classroom. As a keen mountain biker, she appreciates how special Wānaka is in providing opportunities for young people to engage in the outdoors.

Nicola Jacobsen

Principal

Nicola Jacobsen

Principal

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (English and Classical Studies), Master of Professional Studies in Education

Sally Hart

Deputy Principal

Sally Hart

Deputy Principal

Bachelor of Education
Masters in Education (first class honours)

An experienced educator of almost three decades, Sally brings a wealth of expertise to her role, leading the portfolios of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy at MAC. 

Sally holds a Masters in Education (first class honours) on the alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy in NCEA Physical Education, and before joining MAC, was Deputy Principal at Hobsonville Point Secondary School and formerly at Rototuna Senior High School.

Sally has been both a pastoral and curriculum leader, and has held policy and curriculum leadership roles outside of schools as a scholarship examiner, a scholarship panel leader, and as a national moderator for NZQA. Sally has also been on the Subject Expert Group (SEG) for the new NCEA, and has taught health and physical education, outdoor education, and mathematics and science. She has coached a variety of sports, including water polo, basketball, netball, rugby, touch rugby, volleyball and ski teams, and provided staff support for kapa haka for eight years.

Passionate about the difference education can make in the lives of rangatahi, Sally enjoys being part of collaborative teams that have a moral purpose to make learning relevant, authentic and meaningful to students. She believes that through education, we can help build young people’s resilience, initiative and appetite for adventure, along with their skills in collaboration, questioning and self-questioning, making connections, analysing and evaluating.

Outside of work, Sally loves spending time with her whānau and in the outdoors, including skiing, tramping and kayaking.

Hamish joined MAC in 2002, gaining extensive experience in pastoral care as Dean for Years 9, 10 and 13 before becoming the school’s Deputy Principal and Head of pastoral care. While on leave from MAC to travel overseas, Hamish worked as a teacher at a secondary school in London, where he established a dedicated unit for students who were struggling to engage at school and had been suspended or expelled. This experience gave Hamish valuable insights and a practical understanding of students from diverse cultures and challenging backgrounds, and he is able to bring this experience to his role here at MAC. 

Hamish is passionate about helping young people reach their potential and believes that all students can be successful when they are able to learn in a positive and supportive environment. Hamish focuses on delivering high-quality teaching and on nurturing positive and respectful relationships with students to achieve strong educational outcomes.

Hamish’s leadership experience extends to his local community where he has coached a variety of sports teams including age-grade representative teams and senior men’s teams. He currently coaches the MAC 1st XV rugby team.

Hamish Crosbie

Deputy Principal and Head of Pastoral Care

Hamish Crosbie

Deputy Principal and Head of Pastoral Care

Bachelor of Education

Helen Figueira

Deputy Principal and Principal's Nominee

Helen Figueira

Deputy Principal

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Natural Sciences)

Helen joined our team in 2022 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, having worked as a Senior Leader and Assistant Head of Science at St Patrick’s College in Wellington, as Head of Biology at St Julian’s School in Portugal, and at various schools in the UK. Before embarking on her career in education, Helen was a strategy consultant and also spent a short time in the British Army. 

For Helen, watching students develop personal skills and competencies which will be invaluable in their later lives is what makes being an educator so fulfilling. Over the course of her career in the education field, she has enjoyed being a part of a process that enables students to discover where their passions lie, and which pathways they wish to pursue. Helen believes that these passions and skills are sometimes discovered or developed when students are supported to be pushed slightly outside of their comfort zone and into completely new situations.  

Outside of work, Helen enjoys tramping, mountain biking, running and paddle-boarding, and skiing with her family.

Dean has been an educator for more than 24 years, as a teacher of science, agriculture, horticultural science and economics at Wellington High, and for the past nine years, as a deputy principal at Mount Aspiring College. 

Over his ten years as a dean at Wellington High, Dean observed the value of developing strong and positive relationships alongside students. He believes that every young person, regardless of their personal circumstances, deserves a chance to succeed. Dean’s work as both a teacher and a dean has given him first-hand insights into the benefit of offering tailored learning pathways designed to meet students’ individual needs. 

Dean believes his role is about ‘opening doors’ and creating opportunities for students, while supporting their whānau and the staff of our school, to create an environment in which every student at MAC feels like they belong and is supported to succeed. 

Having grown up on the South Island, and as a former forester, Dean feels right at home in our alpine environment and in the remote backcountry of the Nevis Valley. Access to such incredible landscapes gives Dean many opportunities to indulge his love of hunting and enjoy outdoor activities with his family. 

Dean Sheppard

Deputy Principal

Dean Sheppard

Deputy Principal

Bachelor of Forestry Science GradDip Teaching