St Paul’s College farewells principal
After 30 years at St Paul’s College, principal Denys Marra is stepping down.
He was officially farewelled at a service last week and although he’s looking forward to having time to play touch rugby with his 12 grandchildren, he says he’ll miss the students.
“Multicultural teenage boys – they’re so challenging, inspiring, enthusiastic and trusting.”
After stints in farming, retail management, military training and Marist training with the Catholic church, the 67-year-old was principal of the Ponsonby school for 18 years.
“I came to St Paul’s as deputy principal in my fourth year of teaching. From that point I didn’t need to make any more career changes.
“Instead, Ponsonby and the school’s hugely vibrant community changed every two years around me.”
Mr Marra says his successor Mark Rice has the right feeling for the school and was an obvious choice for the highly sought-after position.
“He’s creative and has a very supportive family. I wish him every success.”
Mr Rice has taught at the school and managed its successful sports teams for 15 years and is the first “old boy” to become the school’s principal.
“I was looking for a new challenge. Now I’ve got many hats to wear and balls to juggle.
“We’re moving forward quickly and connecting the school more to the local community and the surrounding feeder schools,” he says.
Board of trustees chairman Paul Pa’u says he was pleased to see at least 20 school principals at Mr Marra’s service.
“The thanksgiving mass was phenomenal. We were privileged to have Bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn as the celebrant, as well as the mayor of Auckland.
“John Banks gave a really inspiring speech to the boys about his personal history of hardship and the importance of faith.”
Mr Pa’u says challenges facing the school, including a falling roll and a perception that it is solely a sporting school, mean huge changes must happen.
“We want to make St Paul’s a school of first choice in the area and a top Roman Catholic school in New Zealand and we’re looking forward to a really bright future for the school under Mark Rice.”
New challenges: New principal Mark Rice steps up to lead St Paul’s College through its planned changes and developments.