College boss eyes challenge

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By Mick Jensen

New Ashburton College principal Ross Preece is excited about taking the school to the next level.

Mr Preece takes up the reins on January 28 but spent a busy five days last week in 35 meetings.

As well as meeting a number of his 150 staff, he also met student alumni, other local principals and also enjoyed the Hakatere Cultural Festival, held in the college auditorium.

Mr Preece said he was excited about taking Ashburton College “to the next level” and the challenges of embracing new technologies and integrating the Year 9-10 curriculum portal.

He said his management style was “inclusive”, that he was a team builder and was not afraid to make decisions for the good of the school.

One of his first jobs next year would be to interview all staff and also to begin the important process of getting to know key figures in the wider school community.

He will be tasked with managing a school that has around 1100 pupils and runs an operating budget of close to $3m.

Christchurch raised and schooled, Mr Preece comes to Ashburton from 420 pupil Whangamata Area School, where he is the principal.

He has also taught at larger schools such as Cashmere High School and Waimea College, Nelson and has been a principal for 11 of his 33 years in education.

“I’ve worked at seven schools in 33 years, so I’m a bit of education gypsy. This latest appointment excites me professionally and brings me closer to family and friends in the Christchurch area,” said Mr Preece.

Ross Preece and his wife Paula have three adult children.

He enjoys watching rugby, plays social cricket and volleyball and will be swapping kingfish for salmon when he continues his hobby of fishing.