One era ends at Twizel Area School as another starts
A new era for Twizel Area School is approaching as its principal of 19 years retires months before a $21 million rebuild.
Bill Feasey has retired after being involved with the South Canterbury school for close to 40 of its 50 years.
‘‘It’s a fantastic community to work in and the kids are great,’’ he said yesterday.
‘‘I’m going to miss the students. The kids are the reason a lot of people get into teaching.’’
While Feasey officially left about six weeks ago, he returned yesterday for an official farewell with students and staff.
Feasey said he was going at ‘‘quite an exciting time’’ for the school, with the Government announcing in July it had earmarked $21m for a complete rebuild.
‘‘It will be a good time for someone else to take over.’’
Feasey had worked at the school since 1982, save for two years teaching in South Asia’s Kingdom of Bhutan, and ‘‘rose through the ranks’’ to become principal about 19 years ago.
‘‘The area has a lot of the things I like doing – walking, climbing, skiing, going bush, biking. The outdoor education programme we’ve been able to build has been fantastic.’’
One of the highlights of his career was helping the school survive a declining roll at the end of the Upper Waitaki Hydro build, its relocatable classrooms and the rest of Twizel cobbled up with temporary materials to service the project in 1970.
‘‘It [roll numbers] started dropping in 1997, and got to a low point in 2004 with 140 students.
‘‘At the moment, it’s 232. Seeing it come back up again has been a highlight.’’
‘‘I’m going to miss the students. The kids are the reason a lot of people get into teaching.’’ Bill Feasey
Feasey said as the town ebbed and flowed, so did the school.
‘‘The school reflects how the town and the people in it have changed over the years,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve gone from decile four to six to eight. The learning has become more personalised, and we have a great record of taha Ma¯ori.’’
Feasey said he was looking forward to having more time for skiing in retirement, but was keeping a foot in the education sector as a NetNZ board member.
Bill Feasey, front centre, in the 2019 school staff photograph.