Prin­ci­pal moves to big­ger school

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By BAR­BARA WITHING­TON

When Chris Smith be­gins the 2013 school year he will find him­self with al­most 300 chil­dren in his care and a staff of 35, a far cry from the 32 pupils and eight staff he leaves be­hind at Millers Flat. ‘‘I really wanted to do an­other year here’’ Mr Smith said, sur­rounded by boxes as the pack­ing con­tin­ued, ‘‘but it was too good an op­por­tu­nity not to go for the va­cancy for Wakari prin­ci­pal.’’ It is a lit­tle bit like teacher ex­change, as Chris’ wife, Anna, was teach­ing there four years ago, and the new prin­ci­pal of Millers Flat, Kim Black­wood, has been teach­ing there. ‘‘I will miss the close in­ter­ac­tion you have with the kids when you are a teach­ing prin­ci­pal, but there will be other chal­lenges to meet, in­clud­ing Wakari be­ing a school which has set up main­stream­ing for chil­dren with spe­cial needs,’’ Mr Smith said. The cou­ple will also miss the great com­mu­nity spirit they have found in Millers Flat, the will­ing­ness from ev­ery­one to be part of the school life. ‘‘We have also learnt a lot about what it means to be a fam­ily . . . We want our chil­dren – Noah, 3, Olive 2, and So­phie, 8 months – to get to know their cousins in the same way, and that was an­other rea­son for re­turn­ing to Dunedin.’’ One thing that might not be lost is the ex­pe­ri­ence he gained while on a Ri­coh Pres­ti­gious Award in Scot­land dur­ing the last term of 2012. ‘‘Millers Flat use a learn­ing man­age­ment tool known as Knowl­edgeNet, and Scot­land used a sim­i­lar sys­tem known as Glow, so it was a chance to look at their sys­tem, both the good and the bad.’’ When asked about the Novo­pay proplems, he said Millers Flat and Wakari were hav­ing is­sues, and he had warned his re­place­ment to keep some money in her ac­count, but he sees a strong fu­ture for the Millers Flat School.

Photo: CHE BAKER 627483647

Tu­atara tour: South­land Mu­seum and Art Gallery tu­atara cu­ra­tor Lindsay Ha­z­ley, of In­ver­cargill, holds 23-year-old tu­atara Gun­ther at the Cen­tral Sto­ries Mu­seum and Art Gallery as he is pat­ted by chil­dren who at­tended a rep­tile open day at the mu­seum.

Photo: BAR­BARA WITHING­TON 627487078

Pack­ing up: Chris Smith and his wife, Anna.

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