Kadimah School

Principal Sue Meltzer
Principal Sue Meltzer

Situated in central Auckland, Kadimah School operates from a building that is shared with the Auckland Jewish Congregation.  Facilities include a synagogue, the congregation administration centre, a preschool, the primary school’s learning spaces plus some outdoor areas.  With the school spread throughout the multi storied complex, principal Sue Meltzer has to be understanding and sympathetic of the needs of the various groups and people that use the facility. 

A sense of community is very important for the Jewish community and when learning at school was unable to take place the school focused on establishing and maintaining good connections with families.  Every family was contacted at least 3-4 times by Sue “to ensure they were alright”, as well as teachers making direct contact with families to ensure students remained connected with their online learning and to receive any support that was needed.   

Students and their families have now largely returned to school, with only a few families “coming and going”, and a small number that are primarily learning from home. Sue says that it was important to get students back to school for their continued learning, which involved negotiating with some families as well as having strong conversations that questioned whether their child would remain enrolled. 

Upon returning to school, older students were buddied with younger students, to assist in the process of transitioning back, reconnecting with each other, and providing mutual support and well-being. This had a calming effect across the school and assisted students to re-establish themselves with the routines of school life.

While the pandemic has been disruptive, there has been a commitment to continue to reinforce the Judaic beliefs and values that underpin learning at Kadimah School. The concept of Tikkun olam, meaning ‘to repair or mend the world’, was fostered with students reaching out to the increasing number of homeless people on the streets surrounding the school, that they became aware of as a result of the pandemic.  Students organised themselves through their Food Technology learning programme to grow and prepare food, and then distributed it to those in need.  Money was also raised for their charity of choice - The Auckland City Mission. 

Dealing with the constant changes and uncertainty has been challenging.  Sue has accepted the need to “pivot from one situation to another and that the new change could be a good thing and being open to fresh ideas”. Listening to staff and families has also been very important, “being more astute and being more aware of where they are coming from and their situation, and listening to their ideas and running with them.”

She holds the view that as a leader you prioritise the needs of your people first, do what you can with what can be controlled, and accept that there will be much that you cannot control.

For her own wellbeing, Sue has made a deliberate choice to make downtime away from the pressures of leadership a real priority, with personal time during her weekends being sacrosanct. As an ultra-marathon runner Sue heads to the trails where she can contemplate on the past week and refresh herself for the week coming up.


About the school

Kadimah School


Auckland CBD

School type

Y0-8 Co-educational Jewish State-Integrated

Approximate roll



Sue Meltzer 

School website

Kadimah School

Contact details