Andrew Leverton has spent this week settling into the hot seat at Allenton School.
He has taken up the role of principal following the departure of Bruce Tilby, late last year, and is looking forward to a new challenge.
‘‘I’m looking forward to the fresh challenge, new experience, but taking a lot of pride and enjoyment out of what the staff were able to achieve at Geraldine (Primary School) as well.’’
Mr Leverton, originally from the Eastern Bay of Plenty but living in Mid Canterbury, had spent nine years as principal at Geraldine Primary. He enjoyed commuting from his home in Ashburton.
‘‘It was nine really, really enjoyable years. It was a great team of people to work with there, wonderful community, the kids were amazing, but I’ve lived up this way since 2014.’’
‘‘I didn’t mind the commute it was a nice down time to get yourself ready for the day, and get yourself unwound at the end of the day as well.
‘‘But this opportunity (at Allenton) came up in Term 4 last year and I thought I’ll give it a go and see what happens. I’m very fortunate and humble to be accepted.’’
Mr Leverton has been a principal for the past 16 years, including five years at Netherby School.
His first principalship was in the Marlborough Sounds in 2007.
‘‘I learned a lot about rural schools and being a principal; 16 years later and we’re here at Allenton School.’’
A powhiri to welcome him to the school community will be held early Wednesday afternoon and be attended by his wife Gaye, a special needs team co-ordinator at Allenton School, their two children, other family, as well as staff and children from Geraldine Primary School, and some principals from around the district.
Mr Leverton starts the school term off next week with a planned staff development day on Monday covering positive behaviour for learning, before the return of school pupils on Wednesday. Tuesday is Anzac Day.
He was looking forward to meeting all the staff and getting to know them.
‘‘Getting to know the staff, the students, school whanau is the top priority,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a real privilege to be a part of the journey at Geraldine, and I’m looking forward to doing it at Allenton School now.’’
Mr Leverton said Allenton has an extra 120 students compared to his former school, and more diversity.
‘‘I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I’m really proud of the work we did in Geraldine, proud of the staff and the school as a whole.
‘‘But just really for me the strength of any organisation is around its people, and that’s the key aspect for me.
‘‘At the start it’s just getting to know them, getting to know the school, how the school works, what makes it tick. Just observing, questioning, building my knowledge of Allenton School.’’
He said since the completion of the middle school new build, there were still a few property projects going on around the grounds including weather tightening two school blocks, and refurbishments in the senior classrooms.
There were also some hard court areas in the planning stages, he said.
‘‘People and property seem to be the big things, and the curriculum work will carry on.’’
Hopefully without any further disruption, and with education employment negotiations sorted.
He said the primary principals collective bargaining (PPCB) union had settled their employment agreements. But teachers and other principals with the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) were still ongoing.
‘‘The main thing is to get agreement,’’ he said.
‘‘All people in schools whether teachers, admin staff, property staff, they’re all working hard doing what they do for children to make the school experience, the learning experience as good as they can. And all teachers are united in that.’’