Prin­ci­pal bids farewell af­ter 22 years

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - NATALIE POL­LEY

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.

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