Ad Augusta Term 1 April 2016
Dear Students, Parents and Guardians
This is my last Principal’s address at Takapuna Grammar School. It comes after a twelve-and-a half year tenure as Principal at this school, a period of time of which I am very proud.
I wish to start by acknowledging and thanking the community for their ongoing support of the school. It is with this support that we have been able to progress Takapuna Grammar School to what it is today. I have made many friends, acquaintances and associations during my time as Principal and I value these connections.
There is something very special about the Takapuna and Devonport community. You have been tremendous ambassadors for Takapuna Grammar School and we wouldn’t have realised the demand on our current roll without your tangible and moral support for the various progressions over the past twelve years. For that, I thank you. The development of Takapuna Grammar School is defined by many changes, all of which will be familiar. Some are evident in the uniform, the introduction of a teaching and learning philosophy, the implementation of specialist programmes such as the Centre for Business and Enterprise, the Elite Sports Institute, the internationalisation of the programmes including the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the individual care paid by the recently implemented Manaaki Mentoring. Each has been an incremental improvement to the way the school serves its students.
In addition to student achievement, one of my responsibilities has been to improve the teaching and learning spaces. Since 2004 we have invested a $41 million commitment into the physical structures. The new buildings were completed some years ago now, replacing the village of prefabs that existed on site up to 2003. There also are more discussions alive right now in regards to future new building work at the school and I hope that these come to full fruition. I think though, the proudest building achievements will be evident in the main building work, which is due to start this month. To know that we have placed our iconic structure in the safest of states as well as modernising its internal design gives me great pride, a sense of legacy. We will celebrate this beginning in my last week as Principal of Takapuna Grammar School, almost 90 years to the day from when the Foundation Stone was laid at Takapuna Grammar School in 1926. At this event the successful contractor for the main building work will be announced. The Hon. Nikki Kaye and other contributors to the project will be present. I would be very keen to return to this building when all the work is finished, to see the completion of the plan.
I remember well my first day at Takapuna Grammar School. I was most impressed by the students, their welcoming nature and the grace by which they conducted themselves. This aspect of the school has never failed to impress me. Every day I am impressed by the students at this school. I have found them to be malleable, open to good advice and eager to impress. The community witness this characteristic at every public event, performance, game and occasion. The thrill of being Principal at this school is that I get to appreciate this feature every day. I have been very proud to lead the student body and I wish each and every pupil at Takapuna Grammar School all the very best for their future.
I have enjoyed leading the staff too. They have proved to remain a dedicated and enthusiastic team who are prepared to take a challenge, make an improvement and endorse a change. It is this ability to be courageous and passionate which has enabled many of the changes referred to above. Staff attrition is at about 4% annually and it has remained at this rate for many years. This solidity has enabled the deep entrenchment of the teaching and learning philosophy as well as a stability, which is characteristic of Takapuna Grammar School. I am also very proud to have been involved in the cross sector work that I have shared with the Peninsula Principals, including the developments through the IES innovations. It is this sense of community which inspires and it is this activity which is powerful for the future.
In every way, I wish the students, parents and staff of Takapuna Grammar School all the best in the next stage of the journey. As much as anyone, I wish the school to continue to be a successful and vibrant place to learn and teach.
I continue to read widely. A recent book described how Principals shape their schools and continued on to articulate how the school itself shapes its leader. So, like the students of Takapuna Grammar School, I close by paying tribute to a place which has had great influence on me. I will remember my time here with much favour and reminiscence.
All the very best.
Per Angusta Ad Augusta.
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