Principal moves to bigger school
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.
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.
Packing up: Chris Smith and his wife, Anna.