20 Questions April Tile

20 Questions with Russell Brooke, Principal of ACG Parnell College

With ACG Parnell College launching their new campus in Newmarket at the beginning of 2019, we caught up with Principal Russell Brooke to find out more…

N. Why do you love working in Newmarket?

The positive energy and vibrancy, being able to walk through the Domain, access to trains and buses, and great shops. It is a completely different environment from working in a “traditional” school. I love it

N. What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who was looking at starting out in your industry?

Seek wisdom about life and people. Being a principal is all about working in the grey areas of life and I have always found a safe anchorage with wise people. Usually my elders.

N. What would you do if you weren’t in your current role?

I would have enjoyed being a conductor of shows and commercial music.

N. Name 3 people that you would invite to a dinner party (living or dead).

My dad and my two grandfathers. I have so much to ask them!

N. What was your first job?

Head of Music at Westlake Boys High School as a full time job.

N. What motivates you?

I love life. My family, our adventures, our laughter is powerful. Music also does so much for me. ACG Parnell College is awesome, the students and staff motivate me with their energy, desire to succeed, and care for each other.

N. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Ten years ago I wouldn’t have said this, but now it is definitely Auckland. I have been fortunate to have travelled a great deal and love places all around the world. But here we have fabulous food, wine, beers, entertainment, culture, weather, and the Hauraki Gulf, which has been a second home for me. Within a short time of leaving home I can be anchored in a still bay enjoying a cold Pinot Gris and watching the sun set. We are blessed in this country.

N. Where is your favourite place to get coffee or a drink in Newmarket?

I am enjoying Gilli Café at the moment. Opposite our Senior Campus, usually quiet and peaceful with plenty of room to spread out work, or a comfy chair to chat with a colleague and they have such a friendly team.

N. Describe Newmarket in 3 words:

Accessible, safe, energetic.

N. What do you wish you’d known before you started your career?

I would have liked to have known what I know now about the teenage brain, and that nothing is ever what it seems.

N.How do you start each morning?

The 5.45am alarm is my trigger to get moving. If I am using the bus and train then I start clearing emails, reading the news headlines, and chatting with the family on WhatsApp group chat. Pick up a coffee in the Newmarket train station then walk to ACG Parnell.

N. What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve received?

Some things need to be instinctive. In other words, practice until you can do things quickly and they feel instinctive. This frees the mind to tackle more complexities.

N. What is your favourite holiday destination?

The Bay of Islands in late February.

N. What is Newmarket’s best kept secret?

ACG Parnell College – we are awesome!

N. What would you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My children.

N. Name one item that you can’t live without.

Michele – my wife. Not that I consider her an “item”. If I have to choose an inanimate object then it would be something that plays music.

N. It’s 10am on a Sunday morning. Where would we find you and what are you doing?

Pottering on my vintage cars, out on one of my classic boats, or gardening in my native bush.

N. Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?

In many ways this is the hardest question as there are a number of people, starting with mum and dad. I would say my wife Michele.

N. What is your greatest fear?

Death. Life is too good.

N. What do you love most about your job?

It is just awesome. It is very humbling… I am lucky to do what I do. Very few people know or understand what a New Zealand principal does. I was told by an experienced principal that you never know until you sit in the chair, and then it is all revealed. How right he was.

parnellcollege.acgedu.com | 9 Davis Crescent


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