Mr Maurice Wenn was Principal of New Town High for two years: 1989 and 1990. He was able, combining a well considered contemporary outlook with excellent interpersonal skills. He developed the existing work in Peer Support and moved towards a better balanced school environment in terms of male – female roles and relationships as then emerging in society at large. The obvious benefits of closer relationships with Ogilvie High were pursued, parents, especially mothers, were encouraged to participate in school decision making and an improved male – female balance on the staff was sought, particularly through securing female teachers who would be good role models.
Mr Wenn led concerted efforts to encourage the local community to understand the school and its role by opening it to visitors, involving boys in local primary schools’ programmes and events and, through Health Education initiatives, arranging for community placings for senior boys in caring for very young children and the elderly. The broadening influence of these moves was complemented by an increased variety of offerings in sports and curriculum options, particularly Foreign Languages, Speech and Drama and Creative Arts.
This liberality, combined with the continued emphasis on tolerance and acceptance of personal differences which had been central to Mr. Dilger’s leadership, made for a propitious environment for expansion of specialized classes for refugee non-English speaking students. The school remains famous for its practical and sympathetic acceptance of these young people.
When, in 1990, the Government’s rationalization programme sought to close New Town High School, Mr Wenn led the school community in a vigorous campaign which ensured the school’s future. The dramatic and effective response to this challenge to the school’s existence spoke volumes for the esteem in which it was so widely held as well as for Mr Wenn’s highly professional leadership in the most difficult circumstances.
When Maurice Wenn left to to become Principal of Hobart College, the school had moved even more decisively along the path set for it twenty eight years earlier by Mr Jacobs: towards a broad, relevant educational experience while maintaining quality and depth.