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New beginnings . . . Oamaru Intermediate School's new deputy principal Kelsy Fletcher moved to Oamaru from Auckland to take up the role. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

The regions have always been where Kelsy Fletcher’s heart lies.

So when the deputy principal job at Oamaru Intermediate School was advertised, the Auckland-based teacher knew her chance to move south had arrived.

“I’ve always wanted to live in the provinces. I kept an eye on them for years, but I’ve been very picky and Oamaru just seemed like the right town because it’s got a bit of soul and culture to it, and I really like it.”

Oamaru Intermediate School reminded her of previous schools she had taught at – Onepoto Primary and Northcote Intermediate – with its vibrant and diverse community.

Mrs Fletcher grew up in Kaipara Flats, a farming community north of Warkworth, and moved to Auckland 12 years ago to study a bachelor of science.

Spending time as a psychologist in schools, she fell in love with the classroom atmosphere, and went on to complete a graduate diploma in teaching.

After seven years as a teacher, a deputy principal role was an “obvious move” and felt like a natural progression.

“It seems like a role where I can have a bit of positive influence. The roles that I’ve worked in for the past seven years in Northcote have been very much working towards development of teacher practice and working alongside kids to make their experience at school positive – that’s both my own and outside of my classroom.

“The neat thing about being in the South Island, that you wouldn’t get in Auckland, is I don’t have to do it sitting in an office. I can do it in a classroom.”

Being able to continue teaching was something she was “really excited about”.

Mrs Fletcher, and her husband, Eddie, had been in Oamaru for 19 days, and were taken by the kind nature of the community.

“I have been massively impressed by how kind and welcoming everyone is. That’s not just at the school but also in town. Everybody has been super, super lovely and I’ve been really grateful for that.”

The couple was into the outdoors and looking forward to tramping throughout Waitaki, and wildlife watching.