Senior Leadership Team
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David Ferguson - Headmaster

Kia ora. I was born and brought up in the North East of England and New Zealand has been home for 20 years now (as has Westlake Boys High School). I am from a family of education leaders and the values instilled in me during my formative years still stand me in good stead – working hard, being nice to people and contributing positively to a community.

I always wanted to be a teacher and I started teaching PE in a boys’ school in the UK in the early nineties. I think teaching is the best job in the world.

I have been lucky enough to have served as the Headmaster of Westlake since 2010 and I enjoy it more every year. Westlake is the school I wish I had been able to go when I was a teenage boy. I see my role as doing what I can to make sure everyone here can feel good about being here every day, whoever they are. We are a large, diverse and high achieving organisation that is a microcosm of Auckland society in 2022.

I’m really excited about our future and hope that we can continue to be a successful school where teenage boys want to come and achieve great things and where adults want to work, grow and contribute to our culture. 

Paul Fordham - Associate Principal

Westlake Boys High School is my alma mater. Following my graduation from school I studied a Bachelor of Physical Education at the University of Auckland and continued with Post Graduate study in Social Theory with particular interest in Masculinity. I have spent the past 13 years teaching in single-sex boys’ secondary education on Auckland’s North Shore in both the state sector and Catholic sector. During this time, I also spent a year teaching at Surbiton Girls High School in the United Kingdom. I am passionate about Physical Education and the role it can play in fostering positive behaviours for maintaining wellness. 

I have been fortunate to have held various areas of responsibility throughout my time in education including leading a physical education department, being a senior dean, managing school-wide property, coordinating and maintaining school-wide health and safety procedures, being the director of sport, music and performing arts, a Deputy Principal and now Associate Principal. My main area of responsibility is pastoral care and ensuring Westlake is a safe and healthy place of learning for our student body. 

My leadership approach is to hold students at the heart of decision-making. We know that young men benefit from relational education where trust and high expectations are a priority. I therefore value fairness and consistency, effective communication, ensuring I am visible and approachable and role modelling what we expect of our young men. We have a responsibility for our practice to be adaptive and reflect the needs of the students we serve, and in this respect, developing the professional capacity of staff is a priority. 

At Westlake Boys High School, we aspire to be the best, and this vision is reflected in the quality of what is on offer. It is an honour to be able to enact change and drive initiatives which help our student body succeed. 

Becky O'Gram - Associate Principal

Originally from Reading, England, I trained as a teacher at the University of Leeds after completing a degree in Mathematics with Computer Science. I have always been passionate about Mathematics and knew I wanted to teach it from the age of 14. After a few years of teaching in England, we took the chance to make a  permanent move to Auckland and I’ve been at Westlake since 2012.

I have been fortunate to have plenty of experiences to grow and take on leadership positions whilst staying at a school I love being part of. This has included Head of Mathematics, Deputy Principal, and now Associate Principal from 2022. My main responsibilities are focused on curriculum and ensuring the high-class delivery of teaching and learning that Westlake Boys is known for.

My passion for education is centred on high expectations and supporting all students to achieve their very best. I believe excellent teachers build positive relationships, provide options that cater to a variety of needs, and celebrate successes. I am invested in developing great teachers, ensuring the strength of our profession for generations to come. I love working at Westlake Boys; our students are engaging, insightful, fun, entertaining and a pleasure to work with. I feel it a privilege to witness their growth into fine young men. 

Matthew Russell - Deputy Principal

Born and bred in Tāmaki Makaurau, I have not moved far from home. In fact, my grandfather grew up in old Northcote in the 1920s, and I remember him telling me stories of how he roamed the shore through the farms and orchards and swam and fished at Sulphur Beach, a little different from the Shore now.

After I left school, I studied a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Chemistry at the University of Auckland and commenced my career in education at Westlake in 2008. While teaching Chemistry, and since 2017 Earth and Space Science, I have enjoyed the continuous journey of learning. Sharing a passion for lifelong learning with many talented young men over my time here is a real highlight for me.

I joined the senior leadership team in 2022 and my responsibilities as a Deputy Principal are leading NCEA and assessment as the Principal’s Nominee. Before joining the senior leadership team, I was the Head of Faculty - Science for almost ten years, a role that I greatly enjoyed, made even better by the dedicated and hard-working teachers in the faculty.

The shore is a fantastic place to grow up as a young man and Westlake is, in my opinion, the jewel in the crown of that experience. The opportunities offered are first class, and I enjoy the moments when I help with the co-curricular music programme, in particular the Westlake Concert Band, seeing the amazing work our music teachers do with our ākonga.

Tracy Houzet - Deputy Principal

Kia Ora. I am originally from South Africa and am an Arts graduate from the University of Cape Town and have a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from the Harvard Business School and Graduate School of Education. I started working at Westlake as a relief teacher in 2002 which suited the flexibility we needed to raise a young family in a new country. I later became a full-time teacher in the Mathematics department and was instrumental in developing the Gateway programme at Westlake. After a number of years being a Dean I joined the Senior Leadership Team in 2017 as an Assistant Principal then Deputy Principal.  

My main responsibilities include Community, Pasifika, Prefects, Parent Evenings and Buses amongst others.  I am passionate about boys’ education and having raised two sons feel equipped to understand some of the challenges that parents (especially Mums) face in their journey with their sons through the teenage years.

My goal is two-fold –for all our boys to embrace the opportunities they have at Westlake; and for all students to be accepting of one another no matter their race, religion, sexual preference or culture. I love working at Westlake, it is a great school, with passionate and committed staff who want the best for the students they interact with and teach every day.

Shane Young - Deputy Principal

Originally from South Africa, Westlake is the only school I have taught at in New Zealand. Both my sons have attended the School and my wife has spent a few years teaching at Westlake Boys too. In my twenty years at Westlake I have mainly taught Commerce, Accounting and Economics but started as a Mathematics teacher and taught the subject for a number of years. 

I coached cricket for around 10 years but my passion outside the classroom is rugby. Barring two years, I have been manager of the 1st XV my entire time at Westlake. My responsibilities as a Deputy Principal, currently lie with operations including day relief, duties, managing the calendar, Health and Safety and EOTC.

Being part of and contributing to a team is very important to me. Leading by example would be my modus operandi and striving to make a difference. Upon reflection, I would like to have made an improvement in whatever way. There are so many opportunities for our young men at Westlake and every day presents a new challenge, there is very little chance of being stuck in a rut. Our students and past students excel in all spheres of life and star on many stages, locally and globally. It is indeed a privilege to be a part of this School.

Joe Cachopa - Deputy Principal

A keen jogger, avid reader, and eager traveller, I have been at Westlake for approximately twenty years. I am a Social Science teacher, having taught Senior History and Junior Social Studies for numerous years. 

My responsibilities include looking after our School Induction programme, our Student Teacher programme, First- and Second-year teachers programme as well as co-ordinating the Auckland Secondary Schools Teacher Trainee programme. This consists of working with a team of experienced Westlake teachers and lecturers at Waikato University. I also work together with the International department and the ESOL department staff to ensure that our international students have the best chance to succeed in their Academics. 

It is a great privilege working alongside our novice teachers as they begin their educational journey at Westlake. It is a privilege to share my teaching experiences with so many enthusiastic, energetic, and dedicated teachers who want to be the best versions of themselves in our classrooms. I love watching them grow as people and develop into some of our finest teachers who continue to make a positive difference to the lives of our students. It’s an honour that I do not take for granted.

Helen Jorgensen - Assistant Principal

As Assistant Principal my role is to monitor, mentor and support students through their NCEA qualifications, and work with teachers, deans, and students to ensure that all our young men leave school with the qualifications they need to be successful. I am passionate about helping our young men find success, both in the classroom and beyond.

I have been teaching at Westlake Boys since 2009 and during this time I have taught Social Studies, Hauora, and English. Prior to my role as Assistant Principal, I was head of the Level 1 NCEA English course for 9 years, and I also completed 6 years as a dean. Outside the classroom, I have been heavily involved in the distance running programme for ten years.

When I am not at Westlake Boys I enjoy spending time with family and friends, travelling and playing sport, especially netball. I am fond of skiing in winter, and tennis and touch rugby in the summer. However, my true passion is supporting our students to be the best that they can be. I am very proud to be part of a school that offers incredible opportunities, dedication, and support for our young men.

Conor Pearson - Assistant Principal

Kia ora koutou. I’ve been lucky enough to work at Westlake for the last five years and have loved every moment. In my role as an Assistant Principal, my primary concern is the welfare and well-being of our students. My particular focus is guiding the Year 9 cohort through their transition process and ensuring they feel enthusiastic and energised about coming to school every day. Making Westlake a safe and inclusive environment for all students is my priority. 

As educators, we have a responsibility to ensure we best equip our boys with the skills they need to become conscientious young men. As such, focusing on the character education of our students is a specific passion of mine. As well as this, I am also an English teacher. I am delighted to share my love of literature with our students every day. 

Outside of the classroom, my passion lies in the sporting arena; I’ve helped manage the Westlake Football Programme for a few years and currently coach our Year 9 A1 team. When I’m not working I enjoy playing sport, reading, running, and spending time with my wife and dog.

Matua Johnny Waititi - Te Kaihautū o Te Puna

Tēnā koutou. He uri ahau no Te Uri o Hau, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Te Tārawa, Ngāpuhi me Te Whānau a Apanui, ko Johnny Waititi ahau.

I came to Westlake Boys High School in 2016, after being Deputy Principal at my old school where I attended and where my father taught me, Northland College in Kaikohe.

I oversee Te Ao Māori at Westlake Boys High School supported by an awesome team of kaiako who are passionate about kaupapa Māori. I have passion for kaupapa Māori and supporting kaiako in their Te Ao Māori journey.

He ngākaunui nōku ki te kura nei, ki ngā ākonga me ngā kaiako hoki.  I love the way that Westlake can help you to be the best that you can be, so being a kaiako here is the best thing ever!