Gavin Morgan’s a man ensconced in a world of women

In a year where much has been heard about the journeys of women in the domain of men, Gavin Morgan’s a man ensconced in a world of women.

In a year where much has been heard about the journeys of women in the domain of men, Gavin Morgan’s a man ensconced in a world of women. And he’s celebrating every moment of it.

Morgan works with women, answers to women and teaches young women who he hopes will be among New Zealand’s next leaders.

He’s also the first man in the 130 year history of one of the country’s oldest girls’ schools to make it all the way up the ladder to Deputy Principal. Gavin Morgan is the man behind the women at Auckland Girls Grammar School.

The recently appointed Deputy Principal didn’t realise he was breaking a glass ceiling when he was named in his new role. But he’ll happily take the milestone.

Says Morgan: “I had no idea there was even a glass ceiling to break! And it is ironic because normally it’s the inverse. Normally it’s the woman trying to challenge assumptions about leadership and ways of organising society.

“Where I work, women are in the leadership roles, taking risks. Women who’re in charge of their own lives and their own learning and I get to stand behind them and watch them flourish.”

Morgan joined AGGS in 2007 as a long term reliever. He calls himself a bit of an over-stayer because he’s been there ever since, climbing his way through the ranks.

His appointment as Deputy Principal comes as the school gets ready to shake up its approach to the future.

“Eighteen months ago Ngaire Ashmore took over as Principal,” explains Morgan. “And in that time there’s been a real shift in owning the fact that every girl at this school has the opportunity to be who she wants to be.”

“We have this unapologetic commitment to realising the potential of our girls, whether it’s academic, on the sports field or culturally.”

And the new regime’s not just talking-the-talk.

Says Morgan: “We’ve seen an unbelievable move in achievement since Ngaire’s taken over. Our level one pass rates have gone from 78 percent to 90, our level two from 84 to 94 percent and our level three went from 68 to 80 percent. Our girls are now performing at the highest level of academic achievement.”

Management now hope these results will help bring local girls back to AGGS. Or at least encourage local parents to check them out.

“I think people locally have no idea of the hidden gem that’s sitting at the bottom of Ponsonby. They see a lot of girls coming from out of the area but if you are in Ponsonby I really urge you to think about coming to our school because not only is your daughter going to capitalise academically, she’ll have a number of sporting and cultural opportunities.

“But I’d suggest the one point of difference we really offer is an absolute commitment to recognising the untapped potential of our girls.”

Morgan, who’s originally from Hamilton, is now a true Auckland convert and he’s massively excited about what lies ahead in his new management role.

“I’ve worked in single sex boys schools and co-ed schools and now I find myself working at a school where shattering the glass ceiling is essentially who we are. We are unashamed that we are overtly feminist. We are challenging normative assumptions that silence our girls in co-ed classrooms and then sadly in society.”

Morgan concludes: “Katherine Mansfield once said that she wanted to be all she was capable of being and at AGGS that sentiment is who we now are. It’s immensely satisfying to be a teacher and now a leader of a school that is committed to making sure you’re the very best version of yourself.”