Ally Patterson appointed as new Assistant Principal – Boarding at Dilworth
Ally Patterson has accepted the newly created role of ‘Assistant Principal – Boarding’, which he commenced at the beginning of Term 3.
Having spent the last 20 years working at Dilworth, Patterson is a passionate believer in the immense benefits that boarding school provides for young men, making him the ideal candidate to help enhance the boarding experience across Dilworth’s three campuses.
After completing his schooling at ‘Royal School Dungannon’ in Northern Ireland (the alma mater of Dilworth’s founder, James Dilworth), Patterson had applied for a position as a tutor at Dilworth but was unfortunately not selected. This led to a decision to commence a degree at a university in England which once completed, led to an application for a position of overseas tutor at Dilworth for one year. After returning home to Northern Ireland, he made the decision to return to New Zealand and become a New Zealand-based tutor at Dilworth. He later worked his way up to Assistant Housemaster for Tyrone House whilst working as a P.E Teacher at Auckland Grammar School. In 2013 he became Housemaster of Donegal House and started teaching P.E at Dilworth.
What first motivated Patterson to work in education was a work placement at a school that he completed as part of his university degree. This was further enhanced by his experience at Dilworth. “It wasn’t until I got to Dilworth and became completely involved in classes, sports and boarding that I started taking the possibility of a career in education seriously. Being able to have a positive impact on the lives of young people is such a rewarding feeling that I really wanted it to be a part of my career and life,” said Patterson.
As much as he loves teaching and education however, Patterson’s real passion lies in boarding.
“Boarding is where you really get to know the students and where I believe you can make the most difference,” said Patterson.
He believes there are immense benefits to boarding, especially when it comes to young men.
“Being able to live alongside 60 other students is not an easy task, however, it can be very rewarding, and the connections and friendships formed in the boarding environment lead to life-long friendships.”
With over 20 years of boarding experience, Patterson is looking forward to this new challenge and being able to pass on his knowledge and experience to others. He has huge ambitions that he hopes to achieve in his new role including setting Dilworth up to be an example of best practice in boarding.
“I am really hoping to make Dilworth one of the best boarding schools in the country. We are the biggest boarding school in New Zealand, and I believe that it is important to not just be the biggest but to also be the best. Upskilling staff through professional development and ensuring the safest possible practice is adhered to within the boarding environment at all three campuses are paramount to achieving this,” Patterson explains.
In order for the young men at Dilworth to get the most out of their boarding experience, Patterson believes this involves staff, parents and the boys all working together and embodying the school values.
“We need all students and staff to incorporate our school values of Respect, Excellent, Compassion, Integrity and Service. If we live these values on a daily basis there will be no doubt about the positive and life changing opportunities that boarding can offer our young people” he said.
Although boarding can be an adjustment for families and they can often initially feel concerned by the idea of not seeing their boy every day, Patterson has a few tips for ensuring that parents and caregivers are still very involved in the boy’s day to day life.
“I believe it is important for parents or caregivers to know what is going on in their boy’s life. Knowing which sports they play and coming along to support their games, listening to them play in the concert band or sing in the choir, coming along to school wide events and asking them to share their own academic milestones and challenges. These are all good ways to walk alongside your boy and feel that you are also an important part of the journey through showing interest and support. Making the most of the time you have on weekends and during the holidays is vital in staying connected with your son.”
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