Principal says farewell
When Walton School kids race down the hill and onto the field to play sport next year, something will be missing – their principal.
After 25 years of lunchtimes spent coaching and refereeing games, Bob Marlow is hanging up the whistle, and handing over the top job.
December 18 will be the last day for Mr Marlow, as well as his youngest grandson Jordan, who starts intermediate next year.
‘‘I’ve had three grandsons come through the school and I thought when the last one finishes it would be a good time for me to finish too.’’
Mr Marlow – or Mr M to the children – said Walton was a terrific school and he was proud of his time as principal.
‘‘It’s been fantastic but it’s time to move on.’’
You wouldn’t find ‘‘ much more of a lovely man’’ than Mr Marlow according to Board of Trustees chairman Bevan Pratt.
‘‘He’s very good at what he does – he’s a bit of an inspiration for a lot of people really,’’ Mr Pratt said.
‘‘ Kids that have gone to Walton School and are now 18 or 20 years old still have a lot of respect for Bob as a principal and as a person.
‘‘He’s just a genuinely nice guy.’’
Mr Marlow started at Walton in 1988 after acting as principal at Te Puninga School and teaching new entrants at Tauhei.
At the time there were 62 students at the school. Today there are 116, with children from all over the district enrolled.
‘‘I have worked really hard and I have a very dedicated staff, and we have built the school right up,’’ Mr Marlow said.
‘‘The success here is not just me, it’s my team.’’
Mr Marlow’s philosophy was to create a family atmosphere at Walton, which he hoped had played a part in the school’s success.
‘‘The staff and I are committed to the whole education of the children . . . the social, emotional and physical education.’’
For Mr Marlow, this meant going above and beyond to get to know his students outside school. During weekends, for example, he spent hours visiting the children at home so they could show him their home gardens.
‘‘Every year I come along and have a look at them, give them some seeds and talk to them about how they grew things.
‘‘It takes me all weekend, I drive for miles all over the district. ‘‘But the kids love it.’’ Walton also had an extremely supportive Parent Teacher Association and Board of Trustees, he said.
Over the years, Mr Marlow has seen major changes at the school.
These included the addition of a fifth classroom, a new library, an adventure playground and tennis courts.
There is also a brand new multi- purpose room, which the board decided to name The Marlow Room.
Last year, a year 6 student nominated Mr Marlow to appear on the TV One News segment Good Sorts.
‘‘ So that was embarrassing,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t like to be the centre of attention, I prefer to focus on the kids.’’
In the classroom, he used humour as a way to keep the kids engaged and help them learn.
‘‘I truly believe that learning should be fun,’’ he said.
And after 25 years, what will he miss the most?
‘‘ Definitely the kids,’’ said. ‘‘Not the paperwork. ‘‘I’m proud of what I’ve done here and I have got absolutely no regrets.’’
Goodbye Mr M: Departing Walton School principal Bob Marlow said he will miss the kids the most.