`Really excited’ to return

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Newly appointed WBHS rector is a former pupil

Waitaki Boys’ High School’s new rector, Darryl Paterson, believes it is fitting he will lead the school he once attended. After a third attempt to fill the role, at present held by temporary rector Clive Rennie, school commissioner Nicola Hornsey announced Paterson’s appointment last Thursday. Two previous attempts to recruit a permanent rector, in December 2015 and March this year, failed to find a replacement for former rector Paul Jackson, who stood down at the end of the 2015 school year after four years in the role. Mr Paterson, who will transfer from King’s High School where he is deputy rector, had fond memories of his time at Waitaki Boys’, particularly of the teachers. He said he was keen to pick up where Mr Rennie left off. “I’m really excited. It’s always been an aspiration of mine to head a school, and the fact that turned out to be my old school is all the more special. “When the job became available, I felt it was the job I wanted and that I was the right person for the job _ it was just a matter of convincing the selection panel that I was the best.” Mr Paterson looked forward to meeting the school’s staff and pupils, and said he had a good idea of what he wanted to achieve, by making sure the “right systems” were in place. “I think it’s all about having a clear vision of what we want the school to be, how we see the school looking to the future and getting everybody on board with the same vision. “I’m going to go in there with a really open mind. I want structures to be in place that give them [pupils] opportunities to be the best they can be. It might be that they’re in place now, or some need to be tweaked, need to be changed, or need to be introduced.” He had closely followed the issues that had affected the school’s reputation over the past couple of years, but believed positive progress had been made by Mr Rennie and Ms Hornsey, who was appointed in October 2014 after the board of trustees stood down in face of three independent reports that identified serious issues at the school. They included a predicted 12.5% drop in enrolments, which resulted in cuts to funding and three teachers volunteering to have their jobs disestablished. “It’s fair to say the school’s reputation has been at a low ebb. But, from the information I’m getting, even this year things have gone on an upward spring.” Last week, the Otago Daily Times reported Ms Hornsey, in a letter sent to the school community, said Mr Paterson would begin at the school on January 28, but would visit regularly before that to meet staff and liaise with Mr Rennie in preparation for the 2017 school year. She encouraged the school community to support and encourage him “as the revitalisation of the school continues”. Ms Hornsey also thanked Mr Rennie for his “outstanding contribution” to the school.