Principal bids farewell after 22 years
You need lots of ingredients for a successful school, but you start with competent and talented staff.
These are the words of Pukekohe Hill School principal Graeme Rix, who is retiring after 22 years at the school.
Rix said it had been an absolute pleasure to be principal of the school that he had seen grow from under 300 pupils to today’s roll of around 660 children.
‘‘It’s been a wonderful time. I’ve seen the school grow, obviously physically, but there’s been so many positive changes within the community itself.’’
Rix trained in the 1970s and started teaching in 1976 in West Auckland. His first principal job was in the King Country, then Taranaki, followed by time in Warkworth, before he was appointed to the job at Pukekohe Hill School in 1995.
‘‘I’m now enrolling children whose parents were students here,’’ Rix said.
‘‘One of our trustees reminds me frequently that she was a five year old when I first came here. Those things are quite lovely.’’
Rix will retire on September 29, after which he will be replaced by Simon Williams, who is currently at Waiau Pa School.
‘‘I’ve known him for 12 years and I think he will be excellent,’’ Rix said.
Rix said he would miss so many aspects of Pukekohe Hill School - the friendliness of the children, the community, the Board of Trustees and the PTA.
‘‘ That collegiality between the staff, the board and the PTA is so important for the success of the school,’’ he said.
‘‘ We have very supportive and talented staff; and the students have a reputation for being really friendly. I get ‘Hello Mr Rix’ dozens of times in a walk and that doesn’t happen at every school. It’s part of the culture here.’’
Rix said a highlight of his time at the school was seeing his pupils achieve.
‘‘One of the things I talk about quite a lot is that we believe in a broad and rich curriculum, as opposed to that very narrow focus of national standards, and I think we’ve achieved that.’’
Rix said his retirement would include time with his grandchildren, ‘‘the obligatory trip overseas’’ and some sailing. And after 22 years at Pukekohe Hill School, he still holds onto his original motive for getting into teaching.
‘‘It’s in our school vision statement, which is about achieving our best and making a difference. That was an altruistic aim and I like to think I’ve kept that over the years. I think as a teacher, or principal, you really can make a difference for children.’’
Graeme Rix is retiring after 22 years as the principal of Pukekohe Hill School.