Outgoing principal’s unique approach
Getting summoned to the principal’s office is not what it used to be.
These days, pupils at Murrays Bay Intermediate School on Auckland’s North Shore were keen meet with their outgoing principal and Mt Albert resident, Colin Dale, whom they described as ‘‘kind’’.
‘‘He’s really welcoming and happy to stop and help,’’ said school leader Ella Dorward, 12.
‘‘It’s really cool to have an approachable principal, it makes you feel a bit more confident.’’
Dale described this approach as an ‘‘invitational ideology’’. Despite a long list of achievements, after 15 years at the school, this was what Dale said he was most proud of.
‘‘When I first came here, there were queues for the deans. [Now] we don’t have any kids in trouble because they want to be here.’’
Pupils also said their principal had given them plenty of opportunities to do ‘‘cool things’’, such as studying everything from dance to leadership development.
Dale said such programmes were not just about being fun, they were about ensuring pupils would be employable in the future, in jobs that may not have been created yet.
‘‘I think I’m future-focused and determined to have pupils who are prepared for a world that’s very different to what it is today,’’ he said.
Dale had built Murrays Bay to be one of the largest and most progressive intermediate schools in the country, with the roll growing from 650 to 1050.
Attractions included a high- performance sports programme, an international department, digital learning, and subjects like sustainability and coding.
After leading four different schools, Dale felt it was time to step down as principal. His last day would be July 7 but it comes with a tinge of sadness.
‘‘It has been one of the best experiences of my life. It’s a stunning community and a most fantastic group of professionals … It’s hard to imagine where one would see so many good kids in one place.’’
Dale was the latest in a string of Shore principals who were leaving their roles, but he said there was nothing sinister in the changes.
At 65, Dale simply felt it was time to do part-time work and he had lots of offers.
The search for a replacement was continuing and pupils were planning a big send-off.