Farewell from me
Twenty years will seem a lifetime to our students, but to me, it’s gone so fast! It has been such an exciting time watching the school develop and being a part of that. I am hugely proud of what we have achieved here at Poukawa, and it’s been my privilege to work with really strong motivated teams over the years, teachers, staff, BOTs and FOS committees, and of course all of you parents – so many people who have willingly given their time because they believe in supporting our students’ education.
I have been fortunate that all of the BOTs I have worked with have done so harmoniously. None of the conflict that you hear about at some schools. Every BOT I have worked with has been mindful of the difference between governance and management and has left me to get on with managing the school.
The staff are an awesome bunch to work with - lots of fun, lots of energy, lots of willingness to try my ideas, and many of their own, all the while, aiming to improve the standard of teaching and learning, the education we offer here. They squawk now and then, but they’re pretty good most of the time!!! Patsy is truly our office angel. She’s “had my back” when I have been immersed in a classroom, waving documents that absolutely have to have my attention under my nose; she’s also wholeheartedly supported working bees, fundraising events, catered for restaurant theatres, driven our bus, mowed lawns, done a myriad of jobs all at once, with constant interruptions from phones, parents, staff and children. She is truly worth her weight in gold. Our support staff, in particular Jenny, have fulfilled an important role over the years, helping out with particular children and in our classes. They have been wonderful to have on board.
Ours is an awesome environment to teach and learn in. How many schools are lucky enough to have tui sipping from the flax flowers or singing from the tops of the kowhai trees, manuka in full flower, and space for our students to run and play? Having a landscape architect on board helps of course, and my husband Alan has willingly given his time and energy into improving our grounds. It’s only at Poukawa School that he digs holes and plants trees! It’s my hope that future BOTs will retain the integrity of his design and replant, when necessary, using true native species (no purple, variegated or bronze cultivars thanks!!) so that it can continue to look like a natural bush and not some horticultural park.
Lastly our students, your sons and daughters, full of fun and curiosity, working with us in groups or individually and aiming to improve and do well in their schooling. For a very long time now we have had a strong ethic of “this is how we do things at Poukawa” and children entering our school just slot into place and get on with getting on. Parents and visitors coming into the school comment on the friendly feeling in the school, and it makes me burst with pride to hear it. They put together a lovely and fun farewell for me on Friday. I know how much effort will have gone into it, and I appreciated it very much.
So thank you for the opportunity to flex my principal “muscles”, to implement ideas, try things out. Doing two jobs (principal and teacher) has, at times, been challenging. Mainly, it’s been a very exciting 20 years and I will always remember my time here with fondness and joy. All the best for the future. I’m sure that Poukawa School will continue to thrive under “new management” and that Alan Dustow will enjoy the same level of support that I have.