Mr O leaves af­ter three decades at school

Northern Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - KIM NUTBROWN

This week is one of the tough­est weeks for Jack Oldridge in a 44 year teach­ing ca­reer.

It’s his fi­nal week as deputy prin­ci­pal at Ka­iapoi North School, a school he has taught at for the past 32 years.

‘‘I just want this week to be over ac­tu­ally.

‘‘It was cer­tainly not an easy de­ci­sion, I will miss it so much.’’

In his 44 year ca­reer, Oldridge has never lost sight of why he got into teach­ing in the first place.

‘‘The chil­dren. It’s all about the chil­dren for me.

‘‘I re­mem­ber my first in­ter­view and be­ing asked why I wanted to be a teacher: the an­swer was meant to be about ed­u­ca­tion and sys­tems, but I said be­cause I re­ally like chil­dren.’’

Oldridge, in his role as deputy prin­ci­pal, is the school li­ai­son with par­ents, chil­dren and the com­mu­nity and it is those in­ter­ac­tions he loves and those he will miss the most.

He has had op­por­tu­ni­ties over the years to take prin­ci­pal jobs but it’s never been a job that ap­pealed to him.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely more the peo­ple stuff and not the Min­istry stuff that suits me.

‘‘I think a school works well when ev­ery­one works to­gether in their best suited roles and en­cour­ag­ing each other.’’

There is a rea­son Oldridge has been at Ka­iapoi North School for so long.

‘‘My col­leagues are the most pro­fes­sional, com­pas­sion­ate, sup­port­ive peo­ple I have ever worked with.’’

Oldridge started at teach­ers train­ing col­lege in 1974.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing he worked at Ka­iapoi Bor­ough School while also study­ing at univer­sity.

From there he worked at South­brook School for five years be­fore start­ing at Ka­iapoi North in 1986.

Oldridge and his wife Jenny have seven chil­dren be­tween them. He said she had been a tremen­dous sup­port over the years and the two have many things in com­mon, in­clud­ing a love of golf and the fact they are both teach­ers.

Al­though, they don’t com­pare notes at home.

‘‘I am a strong be­liever that school stays at school. I like to get ev­ery­thing sorted, tick all the boxes be­fore I leave for the day and then when I get home it’s about life out­side of school,’’ he said.

Ka­iapoi North prin­ci­pal Ja­son Miles said Oldridge will be missed by all at the school.

‘‘What­ever the cir­cum­stances or needs, Jack has al­ways en­sured that our chil­dren feel at home at our school, un­der­stood and fully sup­ported.

‘‘Fam­i­lies have ap­pre­ci­ated Jack’s will­ing­ness to work through is­sues to­gether.

‘‘He has a heart of gold. He will be greatly missed for his kind­ness and for his sense of fun - Jack is one of life’s true gentle­men.’’

SUPPLIED

Jack Oldridge is re­tir­ing af­ter 44 years of teach­ing, 32 of which were at Ka­iapoi North School.

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