Out­go­ing prin­ci­pal’s unique ap­proach

Central Leader - - SCHOOL’S OUT - DENISE PIPER

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.

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