When Tony McBride was announced as the new principal for Whanganui’s Cullinane College at Sunday Eucharist in St Mary’s Church last month, the congregation applauded with their congratulations.
Currently Year 12 Dean at Cullinane College, Tony will become the college’s fourth principal, replacing Justin Harper who resigned at the end of term 2 to become principal at John Paul College in Rotorua. Tony takes up his new appointment on 1 January 2023. Lida Penn will continue as acting principal until then.
Born in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, Tony’s young, widowed mother returned to her homeland in Scotland when he was 16, to raise the family after his father tragically died.
‘The trauma and hardship taught me you need to be resilient – do the mahi and leave the rest to God,’ Tony said.
Graduating from Edinburgh University with a Bachelor of Education and Physical Education honours, his teaching career started at St David’s Catholic High School in Dalkeith coaching basketball and rugby. His qualifications meant he could transfer from country to country.
‘When I came to New Zealand to play rugby, I had teaching to back me up. Over time I realised I loved leading others, through being a department head, dean, and then later deputy principal,’ he said.
Tony is not new to Whanganui. Twenty years ago he was the physical education teacher and dean for five years at Whanganui High School.
Before joining Cullinane in 2021, he taught at Hastings Boys’ High School, Westlake Boys High School in Auckland, and St John’s College in Hastings where he was deputy principal.
Tony is excited about his first principalship. As a Catholic educator and leader, he says taking part in Marist Young leaders’ courses in Wellington and the Josephite colloquium in Auckland have reinstalled the importance of constantly thinking about how to keep the Catholic faith relevant for today’s youth.
Cullinane College is founded on the charisms of the Josephite Sisters and the Society of Mary.
‘I will aspire to develop young people who are loyal partners, loving parents and be positive influences in society. Strengthening the Catholic and college communities is also critical,’ he says.
Tony is a selector for the U18 Hurricane team. He is married to Margaret and they have four children – Logan 11, Hayley 9, Grace 6 and Callum 4.
Tony will be officially welcomed with a pōwhiri at the start of the first term next year.