Prin­ci­pal hands over to deputy

Bay of Plenty Times - - Local News -

Af­ter more than a decade as prin­ci­pal of O¯tu¯moetai Pri­mary School, Ge­off Opie signed off for the last time yes­ter­day.

“I’ve been in the field for 46 years and it’s time to take a break,” he said.

With 16 years as the prin­ci­pal un­der his belt, the time has come for the 67-year-old to pass the ba­ton to deputy prin­ci­pal Zara McIn­doe.

Opie held his fi­nal school as­sem­bly yes­ter­day and the stu­dents had pre­pared a not-so-se­cret per­for­mance for the mile­stone event.

“They’d been practising in se­cret, but lit­tle kids can’t keep se­crets,” he said, laugh­ing.

While there had been chal­lenges, ev­ery day at the job was a gift and he found the work “very ful­fill­ing”.

“It’s been very re­ward­ing, and those re­wards are not ma­te­rial.” Ge­off Opie

■ 16 years as Otu¯moetai ¯ Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal

■ 46-year ca­reer as a teacher and prin­ci­pal

It was the small things, like see­ing a stu­dent smil­ing or make progress, that made the job spe­cial.

“It’s those in­trin­sic re­wards that make the whole jour­ney so worth­while,” Opie said.

He said he ap­proached each day as a fresh op­por­tu­nity to serve the school. His mantra was that as long as pos­i­tive change was made to the lives of chil­dren, the staff were do­ing the right thing.

“It’s been both a joy and a priv­i­lege to have the po­si­tion here, to work with the com­mu­nity.”

Opie fin­ishes his du­ties in late Jan­uary and has no ma­jor plans for the im­me­di­ate fu­ture — apart from a well-earned break.

He has ap­proached Univer­sity of Waikato and BTI with an of­fer to work with teach­ers-in-train­ing on prac­ti­cal work next year so he can stay in­volved in the in­dus­try and keep his mind ac­tive.

With McIn­doe tak­ing the top role and the ma­jor­ity of se­nior staff stay­ing, the lead­er­ship tran­si­tion had been smooth, he said.

“The school’s val­ues will stay the same but there will be a new en­ergy be­hind them,” he said.

The life­style and sched­ule of the role meant it was well suited to bring­ing up chil­dren as they of­ten had the same school hol­i­days off.

While the hol­i­days were busy with prepa­ra­tion for the next term, they did of­fer time to spend with his chil­dren.

PHOTO / JEAN BELL

O¯ tu¯moetai Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Ge­off Opie is pass­ing the ba­ton af­ter 16 years at the school.

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