WHO IS GREGOR FOUNTAIN?
On 30 April, we welcomed new Principal, Gregor Fountain to Wellington College. We invited him to answer a few questions to tell us all a bit about himself.
You are an Old Boy of Wellington College, but which primary school did you attend?
Yes, I was a student here between 1986 and 1990 and then on the staff between 2003 and 2012. Before coming to Wellington College as a student, I attended Wilton School (now Otari School). My Mum and Dad still live in Wilton in the same house I lived in when I was a student at Otari School and Wellington College. My Dad volunteers at Otari-Wilton’s Bush. You’ll see him weeding, planting, picking up rubbish and guiding people around the beautiful reserve.
And beyond Wellington College, what further study did you do?
I love history. I am a graduate of the Victoria University of Wellington History Department. I completed my Diploma of Teaching through the Christchurch College of Education. I also have a Masters of Education, which I completed when I was teaching at Wellington College. I went back to Victoria University part-time to complete this study. The main focus of my Masters research was the impact of educational reform on the teaching of history.
Other than Wellington College, where else have you taught?
I started teaching history at Morrinsville College and then went to St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton and Rosehill College in Papakura. I then had ten years at Wellington College and for the past five years, I have had the privilege of being the Principal at Paraparaumu College.
What was your first job?
One of my first jobs was as a carer for young men with cerebral palsy. When I was a university student, I used to support these guys in their homes with their morning and afternoon routines. This was a fun and a really rewarding job
Favourite subject at Wellington College?
All the humanities: History, English and Classics. I particularly remember my Year 13 Classical Studies teacher, Mr Tattersall. I wasn’t a great student, but he has always been a fabulous teacher.
Favourite book you like to read to your boys?
I have three boys, who are 8, 6 & 6. My favourite books to read to them are ‘How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen’ by Russell Hoban and Roald Dahl’s ‘Danny the Champion of the World’
Favourite film of all time?
Gandhi. This movie kick-started my interest in India and Indian history.
Indian or Malaysian. I can’t wait to reconnect with the Roti Chenai from the restaurant by the same name on Victoria Street!
Favourite TV programme of all time?
West Wing. This is a big favourite in our family. My partner and I (and sometimes my mum) refer to scenes and quote dialogue from West Wing. Love it, no matter how often I watch it.
Favourite Band of all time?
What was the last book you finished reading?
This was a biography of former Australian Treasurer and Prime Minister, called ‘Paul Keating – a Big Picture Leader’, by Troy Bramston.
What’s a place that you would you like to visit?
My partner and I travelled for a while in India about 15 years ago and we would love to return there. Visiting Kolkata and Shimla will be key places on our next India itinerary. My Dad was born in India and recently returned there for his 80th birthday. I was pretty jealous and sad to miss this trip!
What is the best thing about being a teacher?
Seeing students use the skills and knowledge they gained at school and elsewhere, to make our community and planet better for all of us.
Do you have a favourite quote?
My experience in school leadership has made me realise that Gandhi was right when he said that “happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”. To me this underlines the importance of having a clear set of shared values in our schools and communities.
How does it feel returning to Wellington City?
It’s great to be back. We loved living in Kāpiti, but it is exciting to return to what Lauris Edmond called “the world headquarters of the verb”. There are so many interesting places for kids and their parents. It’s a city of conversation, debate and new ideas. It does feel like coming home.