He’s just 10 weeks in to his new role and Chris Herlihy has been on a steep learning curve.
From figuring out how to operate a boiler to putting together a 10-year property plan, being a school principal comes with big responsibilities.
‘‘Every day I’ve learnt something new. It’s quite a big jump from the deputy principal role,’’ he says.
It’s not like Herlihy wasn’t prepared for it. He spent five years at Fruitvale School in New Lynn, two years teaching in the United Kingdom, seven years as the deputy principal of Kelston Primary and was part of the National Aspiring Principals Programme.
Before helping mould the minds of the next generation, Herlihy used his lightning-fast reactions to play table tennis at international level.
‘‘I represented New Zealand at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in 1998. Throughout my misspent youth and university days that was a big part of my life.’’
A highlight was playing in the qualifiers for the Sydney 2000 Olympics – but that dream was not to be. ‘‘Golf’s the new passion now.’’
He’s excited about the possibilities of his new leadership role.
‘‘My heart’s around the lower decile schools, multicultural schools. Glen Taylor came up so I thought I’d give it a crack.’’
The decile 1 school has seen a drop in its roll, which is now sitting at about 250 children.
However with the Tamaki Redevelopment Project well under way, Herlihy sees an opportunity to revitalise the school.
‘‘We’re going back and we’re going to be working with the staff around developing the vision of the school.
‘‘It seemed to me that there was a lot of passionate staff members here to raise student achievement.
‘‘There’s a lot of potential to make a real difference in the school.’’
A new principal has a whirlwind of things to do, people to see and plans to organise. It is this variety that makes rolling out of bed in the early hours of the morning easy for Herlihy.
‘‘The base to build from here is really solid,’’ he says. ‘‘The thing that’s made it the easiest is the kids, they’re just awesome. Every day it amazes me that they’re so happy and keen to learn. Hopefully I can take it to the next level.’’