School stalwart says goodbye
When Carolynne Gaerty began working at Plimmerton School, a large box-shaped computer was bolted to the floor because it was so valuable.
Now, 24 years on, every class has an iPad and at least four PCs, as well as access to a computer suite and library computers.
Scottish-born Gaerty, who is retiring as executive officer on May 23, said it had been amazing how school resources and her role had developed.
School deputy principal Rosemary Oxnam said Gaerty had been amazingly innovative in her position.
But Gaerty said it was all just interesting to her.
‘‘It has been an exciting time to be in my position,’’ she said. ‘‘The systems weren’t there, so they had to be built up.’’
Gaerty used the freedom David Lange’s Tomorrow’s Schools reform gave to develop administrative and financial systems with her recently retired husband Larry.
‘‘ I’ve always been keen on admin systems and I like developing programmes… plus I’m really interested in organisation and management, so it’s been a fascinating job for me.’’
Gaerty started at Plimmerton School after she enrolled her youngest daughter there in 1990.
She had worked previously in similar roles in Britain.
In her time at Plimmerton, Gaerty has seen the school roll grow from about 350 pupils in 1990 to about 500 pupils now.
Increased pupil numbers have been accompanied by a larger teaching staff, the building of new classrooms, the development of the school library and upgrading of the school pool.
Gaerty said she would always remember the painting of the school’s mural in 2003 and the celebration of the school’s centennial in 2004.
‘‘I will miss the children and teachers and the challenges with the programmes, but it will be good to spend more time with my children and grandchildren.’’
Fond farewell: Carolynne Gaerty, who is leaving Plimmerton School after 24 years.