From cricket to the classroom, Craig Smith has always followed his passions.
The St Kevin’s College head of sport and physical education was last week appointed as the school’s new deputy principal, taking over from Kerry Ryan.
Mr Ryan resigned last month to take up a role at the Ministry of Education in Dunedin.
Mr Smith, a former Otago Volts cricketer, spent the past two terms as acting deputy principal and said he was thrilled to be permanently appointed and join the school’s new leadership team.
Assistant principal Jo Walshe has recently been appointed principal, and will take over from Paul Olsen next year.
“I’m just excited and looking forward to it, and working with Jo and the new senior leadership,” Mr Smith said.
“The positive is that we’ve got a continuity. Both myself and Jo have been part of the school for a number of years so we know what the special character of the school is about, we know what the values are about and we know the community as well.”
He looked forward to continuing the “fantastic” work the school had already achieved, under Mr Olsen’s leadership.
Spending time in the acting deputy principal role gave him insight into the job, and he had a close relationship with Mr Ryan, through his time as the principal’s nominee for NZQA.
“[Mr Ryan] was the head of curriculum so I had worked with him a fair bit over the last couple of years and he was always great for me as a sounding board and still with the phone calls.”
Mr Smith, who was educated at St Kevin’s, said he was “truly passionate” about the school and its values of family, integrity, respect and excellence.
“I suppose, for me, that’s something that I truly do buy into, and it’s something I like to live my life by as well. It’s just the passion for the school and seeing the kids do well.”
Mr Smith completed a bachelor of physical education degree at the University of Otago before playing professional cricket for the Otago Volts.
During an injury break, Mr Smith helped as a teacher aide at Dunedin’s Kavanagh College, which led him to complete a postgraduate diploma in teaching. His first teaching job was at Southland Boys’ High School in 2010.
He spent six years as a physical education teacher in Invercargill and also spent time as Year 9 dean and as assistant head of the physical education department in his final year.
In 2016, Mr Smith and his wife Melissa, who is also a former St Kevin’s pupil, moved back to Oamaru. He took up a job as St Kevin’s head of sport and physical education. Mrs Smith also works at the school in communications and events.
Because of his passion for sport, Mr Smith created high performance sports programmes, extension classes, and outdoor education camps at St Kevin’s.
“The outdoors is something I’m really passionate about. I’m lucky to have been able to have that support from Paul [Olsen], it’s one of his passions too.”
He also had a “fair bit of input” into upgrading St Kevin’s multipurpose turf and the weight rooms development, and said he enjoyed “tinkering” with the physical education curriculum.
“There’s been some good developments there in the past few years.”
And he was still very involved in cricket, as a player-coach for St Kevin’s first XI and playing a major role in developing players’ skills.