Chit Chat with Jo McKay

Carla Chit Chats with Principal Jo McKay. They discuss the transition to Structured Literacy (the highs and lows and everything in between), what school Principals need to know, and how Structured Literacy has enabled consistent practice, increased knowledge and improved student outcomes for all learners including neurodiverse.


Holy Family Catholic School, Wanaka have run numerous open days which have been well attended. These days set out to share their journey, best practice and provide and insight into Structured literacy at a whole school level. These give an insight into the day-to-day implementation and enable teachers and leaders to hear about an authentic perspective.

Jo McKay has been in leadership in education in the primary school setting for over 20 years. In 2008, as a Deputy Principal Jo was awarded the Linking Minds scholarship; a prestigious international award sponsored by the British Council, the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Teachers Council and the NZ-UK Link Foundation. The aim of the scholarship was to recognise and promote effective teaching by providing international experience for teachers early in their careers. Jo is currently the Principal at Holy Family Catholic School in Wanaka where she has been for the past 8 years. She is the president of OSCPPA, and an executive member of NZCPPA and a beginning principal mentor.

In 2018, after 20 plus years working in schools as a teacher, school leader and mentor, she began the journey of whole school implementation of evidenced based Structured Literacy at Holy Family Catholic School. She is a passionate advocate for ensuring learning success for ALL learners and goes about this by leading bold and courageous changes in practice to ensure this happens.


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