Meet Our Founders
Solomon Family (Left to Right): Kiri Solomon, Frank Solomon, Judy Solomon, Jenny Solomon (CEO).
Frank and Judy met at Primary Teachers Training College and spent twenty five years in mainstream education, Frank becoming the Principal at Waiheke High School and Rotorua Lakes High School.
They became disillusioned by the large numbers of Maori and Pasifika students who failed in the traditional learning environment because their needs were not being met. So, in 2000 they set up a Private Training Establishment to provide a second chance for adults to succeed in a learning environment which was based on:
• A focus on meeting the needs of the individual. “Each individual has worth, dignity and is unique.”
• A welcoming, inclusive cultural environment based on Maori Kaupapa wherein all are part of the whanau. This focus on the importance of culture resonates with all cultural groups attending Solomon Group courses.
• Four rules provide the framework of operation which all staff and students alike, adhere to – Positivity, Respect (of self, others and property), No put-downs, Commitment.
• Teaching styles match with the learning styles of the students. There is a focus on practical, fun activities to encourage a love of learning. The holistic curriculum reflects and relates to the lives of our learners. Setting goals and expanding horizons for themselves and their whanau is valued.
• Recruitment of staff places a major focus on their demonstrated empathy and a willingness to embrace this kaupapa and environment. Skills can be taught, empathy is innate. New clients who have had negative experiences in education “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The organisation was enhanced by their daughters Jenny (2003), with a strong background in finance and learning and development and Kiri (2004), with a strong background in psychology and government contracting returning from working overseas.
Further information can be found in the text:
“Facing the Challenge – Foundation Learning for Adults in Aotearoa New Zealand.” (John Benseman and Alison Sutton, Dunmore Publishing Ltd, 2008)