Papakaio School is a “special place” that deputy principal Damien Brown has mixed feelings about leaving when term two ends.
principal at Totara School, south of Oamaru, where he will take the reigns from July 22.
Originally from Warrington, England, Mr Brown has been living in New Zealand since 1994.
After finishing high school he attended Massey University in Auckland, graduating with a degree in copywriting and advertising.
However, that career path did not leave him feeling fulfilled and in 2003, Mr Brown completed a post-graduate diploma in teaching.
Looking back, he said it could not have been a better decision for one simple reason.
“I just like helping people. The best feeling I get is when I know that I have helped somebody achieve something.”
After stints at schools in central and South Auckland, he made the move south to Oamaru – first to teach at Oamaru Intermediate School, where he worked from 2009 to 2015, and then Papakaio from 2016.
Mr Brown said there was a lot to miss about Papakaio School.
“It really is a special place. The kids are amazing, the resources are amazing and the support you get from the staff and the principal is incredible.
“When I came here, I would never have dreamt that I would be in a headspace where I could be a principal. Thanks to everybody here and the board support, I feel like that’s now my next step. It’s down to the mentorship and support that I’ve had off (principal) Gary (Shirley). He’s put me into a position where I believe I am ready for it.”
Mr Brown was impressed with what he had seen and heard about Totara School.
“I really like the rich values system they have got going on over there. The community’s quite like Papakaio I believe . it’s a small school, so it’s a great place for me to start. It seems like a good fit really.
“In the short term I’ve got to get in there and see how everything works. I know Brandon (Payne), the previous principal, has done some great work over the last three years so I’m going to go in there and keep up the great things that are happening.”