Thursday, December 29, 2016

When I look to the sky something tells me you're here with me, and you make everything alright (Train)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 7)


The local paper announces my arrival! Drum roll, please!

Three years at Stratford High School as Principal (2007 to 2009) can be summed up thus:

First year  


That first year was exciting and fun and a process of continual challenge and discovery. After commuting from New Plymouth for the first term (staying at father-in-law, Brian's place), we bought a great property just out of Stratford on Pembroke Road with 6 paddocks for the horses and sheep. 

The views of Mount Taranaki and across to Ruapehu etc in the far distance were amazing!

It was an old slightly run down cottage, surrounded by trees and gardens that we would steadily improve over three years. The property was very pretty underneath the surface - we are good at seeing potential in a place and chipping away at things. Great neighbours too - Barry Smith on one side and Eric and Jeanette Darrow in front.

Barry was huge for us in helping up with farming things, and Eric procured an old 1920's Massey-Ferguson tractor for me to use. He fixed it up, as in built it, for $600 and I still have it, ten years later.

I met some wonderful people at SHS, some of whom remain good friends, among them - fellow Principals Graeme McFadyen, Paul Ryan, Mark Bowden, my Board chairs Raewyn Rooney and Pete Theron, some students who have gone on to great things and my wonderful colleagues Diane Lithgow and Susie Terry.


WYSIWYG
As for the family: Keegan had moved to Auckland, Adam was at Waikato University; Samantha started her final year doing NCEA Level 3 at New Plymouth Girls' High School - busing in to Nu Plimf each day, as did Jade who was starting NCEA Level 1. 

Samantha lasted the year at NPGHS. Jade lasted two hours. 

She rang me at school, sobbing, very unhappy, being at an all girls' school was not for her. She wanted to come to my school. I was reluctant. The memory of Keegan's disastrous experience was very fresh. But so was the idea that I now needed to let the kids decide where they wanted to go to school. 

So she did, and it didn't go well.

Some of the staff, and some of the students resented her and, by the third year, made her life difficult. Being Principal in these circumstances was tricky. Suffice to say, there are many things I'd do differently - I should have fought her corner more, but hindsight isn't much help is it.

Second year 

Chalk this one up as the best of the three years!

The theme was all about making positive changes in the school. These involved planning for new buildings, a new paint scheme, new positive behaviour modification structures, new teacher appraisal scheme, new relationships with the Ministry of Education, new targets to improve achievement.

Now knowing a little more about myself and others was helpful in my second year. 

What had I learnt? Being Principal is a lonely job, some people hold deep grudges that affect their behaviour, and I certainly learnt who I could rely on and trust. I lent heavily on my fellow Principals.

Really, only other Principals know what it's like. It is a job with high rewards but there is a price to pay.

Over the first two years, I was doing the first time Principals' programme and had Mark Bowden as a mentor.  It was a rich time for learning. This and SPANZ conferences were great professional development for me. 

Samantha had moved down to Wellington at the start of the year to start studying at Victoria University. We drove her down and set her up in the hostel. 

How devastated I felt leaving her behind       completely blindsided me. Jacky had to drive us back to Taranaki - I was an emotional mess!


When I got back home I went into her empty room and felt that familiar ache in my stomach.

Third year 

Unfortunately, in my third year, my focus shifted for two reasons. 

Some of my Principal buddies started leaving Taranaki for jobs in the Middle East. After Lyall French-Wright left NPBHS, Angela Gattung left Inglewood, and Graeme McFadyen left Spotswood College; I started getting itchy feet. 

With my final bunch of prefects
Then in August the horrible happened. My sister-in-law rang me at school. I knew it was bad news, it remains the only time she's ever rung me at work. Ross couldn't talk to me, he was too upset. Our dad had had a severe stroke and was in North Shore Hospital.

From then onwards, my weekends were spent driving up to Auckland to see him and my focus shifted from school mode to family mode.


Selfie years began
When he passed away in September I knew I had to get away. Away from New Zealand and away from being Principal.

I accepted a contract from Cognition Education to go to Qatar to join an educational consultancy team delivering professional development to Qatari school leaders. 

When accepting the job late in November 2009 they asked me if I could get to Doha in a week!!

I said, erm, no. I couldn't. But I could be there in two!

So we packed up our belongings, put them into storage, said goodbye to Stratford High School at my third prizegiving, rented the house out, and flew to Doha, with Jade, who had finished her Level 3 NCEA and was waiting for University to start in February of the next year.

She wasn't very happy about that but we felt it was the right move at the time. Hindsight...did I mention hindsight? 

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Way on down south London town (Dire Straits)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 6)


Jacky Purdy: hates the cold, loves the snow!

While we were living in Leigh-on-sea we moved (shock horror) from Victoria Road. Jacky found it hard to stay in the place - too many memories of Adam. Plus Keegan and his girlfriend were going to be staying with us for some months and Jacky thought we needed more room. Plus the rent was going up at Victoria Rd. Plus the drunken patrons at the Broadway's bars were becoming a pain with extended licensing hours.


Sister snow bunnies
So we moved.

We'd arrived with a suitcase each. Now I had to hire a van to ferry our belongings to the new semi detached house in Western Avenue. Still a great location in
Leigh - close to the train station, nice walk along Marine Parade to the shops, closer to the Hadleigh Castle park. But I missed Victoria Road!


Outside Victoria Road looking up to the Broadway

Sam discharges a snowball...

...but gets back some with interest!


Victoria Road, Jade eats a popsicle and takes
a selfie, while it snows!
Keegan and his girlfriend, Jemma, duly arrived. Together with them, we decided to take a big northern tour of England and Scotland. We'd taken Adam and the girls north before and had loved it so...We hired a van for the six of us and booked hotels and headed off on a road trip, from Leigh to Inverness and back! It was an interesting trip. Keegan and Jemma were not in the best space so there were some difficult, sultry moments.


On our holidays
Nonetheless, Jacky and I loved visiting Culloden in the misty dawn, travelling through the locks down to Glasgow, revisiting Edinburgh and seeing Christine and her family in Bury.

Keegan and Jemma returned to New Zealand and we tried to get back to normal, whatever that is!

In September 2006 Margaret Wilson asked me if I wanted to be seconded to a new academy to help with their leadership problems. I was game, even though it was a bit of a mission to get to Walthamstow from Leigh each day.



With Fran and Lew at Chrsitine's.

It was winter and I had to take the C2C to east London, then a Silver Link train to north London's Blackhorse Road station, then a bus to the school. Phew. All up it took close to 2 hours if the Silver Link was running on time (which it hardly ever was).

Life at the school was interesting - I had some tough jobs to do and I had to teach Geography! The students were mostly from Somalia, Pakistan, or the Caribbean. The Somalian students were pretty battle hardened, being recently in the badlands of Mogadishu. Once they figured out who I was there were no real problems and I enjoyed the experience on the whole. 


Up north with Adam
One of my duties was to oversee the lunch queues into the dining hall. After a few titchy moments of being overrun by them, I learnt some names and made some 'friends' of the tougher kids. Then it went fine. Every day I chatted to the troops, let them in by year groups to the dining room and then, at the end, had my own lunch. By that time it was always some variety of cake drowning in warm custard. YUM. Seriously - it tasted great! After a week the dinner ladies caught on and kept me two portions to enjoy!

Unfortunately, we were a long way from Adam and things back in NZ weren't going well for Keegan so we made the decision to return. Jacky was keen for us to go back to Taranaki, so I applied for the Principal job at Hawera High School (which went to my friend Paul Ryan) and then to Stratford High School via the same recruiting organisation. 

I was shortlisted; got leave for a week from Walthamstow and flew back for the interview.


With Christine in Bury, wearing Tom's jersey
The journey turned into an epic both ways - Heathrow to Auckland/ Auckland to Wanganui (the plane tried twice to land in New Plymouth but couldn't)/ Wanganui to New Plymouth by bus!

Next day I did the interview; got the job; got back on the plane - New Plymouth to Auckland/ Auckland to Heathrow/ train back to Leigh-on-sea/ had a shower/ C2C etc back to Walthamstow.

I was a complete zombie for that week at school but we were buzzing! We (Jade, Samantha, Jacky, Finn and me) were going back to Taranaki for a January 25 2007 start as Principal at Stratford High School.

Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Up in the morning and out to school (Chuck Berry)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 5)


Adam (and Jacky) homeward bound via Kuala Lumpur

Across the road from The Grand was a letting agency. They had a three bed flat about to come on the market in Victoria Road - just off the Broadway.

As soon as I walked into the nearly refurbished semi detached I fell in love with the place. It was wonderful and saved my bacon.

Three bedrooms meant Samantha and Jade shared a room, Adam was next to us. We headed off in our newly bought car (from a local dodgy dealer) to buy some furniture and settled in to our new life.

Fanfa, aka 'cheeky face', at KJS, tie askew
Adam had a job at the pet shop but was still missing home and friends. Jade Samantha and I started at King John School.

We bought their uniform and worried for them, particularly Jade. She had been at a very small rural primary school in Cambridge. Now she was in a brand new uniform at a thousand plus pupil English comprehensive! She was also still sick. Somehow, she survived!

The girls first day at King John School was memorable. Very quickly they saw that their proper use of uniform and Nu Zild accents made them stand out like flashing neon!! They had to adjust quickly to avoid more bullying, uniform became skanked up, Essex girl makeup became a thing for Samantha, classes were very different, lunch was had in a dining hall, and....they thrived, making some tight friends along the way.



The O'Neills with Lewis, SWMBO and Adam
It wasn't long before the girls felt like me - it was a school, a home and a life which we could embrace and love.

For Jacky it was still a struggle and it would never feel right. It took a long time before work in London Hospitals as an agency nurse for Pulse would start. We were a long way from Keegan and her family. She wasn't happy. For Adam it was even worse. He couldn't stay, that became very clear. Jacky would take Adam back to NZ, buy him a car, find somewhere for him to live, and start him at Waikato University. That was all hard for her to do on her own. Somehow she did it all!


O'Neills, SWMBO and Adam at Nana Pat's place in Nu Plimf
The day they left was traumatic for the girls and me. We left them at Heathrow's departure lounge and headed home along the M25. I had that horrible empty feeling in my stomach the whole way and Jade cried non stop for hours. When we got home she ran to Adam's bedroom, fell on his bed and continued to cry!

While Jacky got Adam settled we did our best to survive (we had to ring Jacky in NZ to help us cook a roast chicken which turned out spectacularly badly!).


Finn
When Jacky returned to the UK we had, for us, a long period of normalcy from 2005 to 2006 . The girls and I went to a school we loved, Jacky picked up work in St Thomas', St Marys' and a number of other London hospitals, Jade had Charlie - a hamster, we got Finn, a little Irish terrior. I did my NPQH which is a qualification for headship in the UK and eyed up possible jobs in Scotland and England. But we were now a long way from Keegan, Jacky's family AND Adam.

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Take you down t’ the foamin’ brine ‘n water (Captain Beefheart)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 4)


Purdy kids before heading to the UK

As we prepared for our departure in Auguest 2004: Adam was about to finish his final year at Cambridge High School; Keegan was flatting while at Waikato University doing his BA; Samantha was in Year 10; and Jade was at Hautapu Primary.

It was messy, but Adam, Samantha and Jade were about to transition to the next stage of their education - Adam to University, Samantha to senior school with NCEA Level 1 and Jade to High School.

It's never easy moving schools and starting at new places but to our way of thinking this was the best messy change possible.


Adam at Abbey Road
Still, moving the five of us to the UK was disruptive in the extreme. Adam was unhappy - he gained Level 3 NCEA but couldn't sit any externals and was leaving his friends before he had to, Samantha and Jade also had their schooling disrupted. Not only because of the different September to July UK school year, but also the vastly different culture and educational system.

Before leaving, we had to sell a lot of our stuff, and put important stuff into storage. We had to resign jobs and find homes for the animals: Lewis went to live with Michelle and Gavin, Persia to Jenny Going and Sallie offered to look after Bazil for us.

This was all traumatic in all sorts of ways. But we did it, some of us with gritted teeth, because it was an adventure and we were all up for an adventure. Well, maybe not all. I was defintely driving the adventure but we had a family group conference and everyone had indicated they were open to the concept.

Stupid me! I should have realised a few important details but didn't. Jacky would follow me to whatever crazy location I picked, the girls were very young and had no concept of the life awaiting them in the UK and Adam was at best reluctant.

Sigh.

So, we headed off to live in Essex with a suitcase each and a carry on bag each. 

Singapore Airlines meant a stop over in Singapore. We did all the touristy things and had a great time at the bird park, Sentosa, swimming at the hotel, shopping, and adjusting to a new life. 

Unfortunately, for some reason Jade was really sick before we left Singapore and had a miserable start to the actual UK adventure.


The Grand, then...
We had booked a hotel in Leigh-on-sea, The Grand, from Nu Zild via the internet. Hey, it looked impressive in the advertising!

It turned out The Grand was a nearly derelict old Hotel that was being run by a Basil Fawlty clone. We moved into the top floor to find pigeons were using our bathroom as their own private hotel. Basil reluctantly came up all the stairs with his rubber gloves and detergent to clean the dirty toilet and get rid of the pigeons. 
...and now, all boarded up!

Adam had his own room but the four of us dossed down together. It was grim.

When I'd taken the train to Leigh it had wound through rural countryside. This had given me a false impression. My descriptions to Jacky and the kids were all of a bucolic sea side village with olde worlde charm, because that's what I saw.
Leigh-on-sea
When we landed at Heathrow we hired a car to take us to Leigh. We quickly found out, as we drove along the A12, that we were in solid built up housing for miles. Jacky was peeved and it took about an hour of living in The Grand for her to start saying, I want to go home. Jade and Samantha were both sick and tired from the flight. Adam was tired and grumpy.

I needed some air, so I calmly went downstairs. Actually, Jacky's description of my 'storming off' is the more accurate of the two. My heart sunk as I headed out to buy us some dinner (pizzas) from the broadway. This adventure lark was gonna be a tougher sell than I'd expected!

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, December 12, 2016

Love comes shinin' over the mountains, love comes shinin' over the sea (Jimi Hendrix)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 3)


Happy days at Cambridge High School 2003

When Jacky dropped me off at Auckland Airport before my three week trip to London early in 2004, I promised I would come back with a job!!

Naively (you must have sensed a theme by now), I backed myself to travel to the opposite side of the globe for three weeks and find a job.


Acting Principal Purdy at CHS
BTW - I'm a much better traveller on my own, I worry when I fly with Jacky that if something happened, the kids would lose us both, but on my own I'm much more relaxed. Go figure.

I arrived in London and our friend Tina took me back to her place in Balham. At the time she was with a young kiwi guy - Paul. They were fun and extremely helpful. Their flat was a one bed so I dossed down on the lounge floor each night.

Before leaving Nu Zild I'd arranged appointments with three recruiting agencies. I was after a management position and so I also started ringing schools that had vacancies to arrange a visit to see the Headteacher. No luck - they each told me, it didn't work that way. If I was shortlisted, then I could visit - no good for me on my limited three week deadline!

Instead I went to the agencies. One was called Axcis and their office was in Regent Street. I found it and started chatting to a girl who was clearly a fellow Kiwi. We did the usual 'where are you from' routine. She said Hawke's Bay. I said - oh - my wife has links there - to Waipukurau. She said - that's where my family is. Wow, I said. We kept chatting and it turned out I'd sat next to her grandma during a 90th birthday party for Biddy Moore. Freak-eeeee!!

Like the other agencies, she said she had no jobs for me, but would send out my CV and see what happened.


For the next two weeks I did the London haunts (read record shops) and visited my lovely cousin, Christine, in Bury.  Tina, Paul and I took the train up to Manchester to see Rooney dive (we lost our streak). 

At night, back in Balham, I'd roll out my bedding on the lounge floor at Paul and Tina's. In the mornings, Jacky would text me and I'd report how things were going. I probably put a positive spin on things! 

Axcis got in touch. A Headteacher in Essex was willing to meet me. Wahoo!!! Finally, I'd get into a school to turn on my charm I thought (to myself).

Margaret Wilson is the inspirational human dynamo who leads The King John School in Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex. I took the C2C train out to Benfleet. After a lot of lovely scenic trip, with rural views (that included Hadleigh Castle), I walked to the school in Thundersley up a massive hill.

Margaret turned out to be a) a Glaswegian, b) very friendly and c) a fellow attendee at the previous year's Principal conference in Edinburgh. What a fluke. She had decided to meet me based on that coincidence and, while she told me there was no job yet, she would keep me in mind! 

She also said that she lived in Leigh-on-sea, that it was a lovely old fishing village, and I should go there and take a look.


Balham station
So I did. Back on the C2C train to the next station - Leigh-on-sea. After another walk up another big hill I emerged on the Broadway at Leigh and fell in love. It had a great feel and a great record shop - Fives. A great omen.

Feeling very positive, I got back on the train to London and subsequently, returned to New Zealand. 

I'd been home a week when Margaret rang from King John and offered me an Assistant Headteacher job. I said yes please and we started preparations for our huge move to Leigh-on-sea, Essex.

My faith had been rewarded; the next part of our ramblin' adventure was falling into place. 

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

There's no discouragement shall make us once relent (School hymn, Woodford House)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 2)


The Purdettes at Alpha Street

Elsewhere. Further out. Forward.

Recently, one of my students asked me if I'd ever moved to a school and regretted it.


My immediate answer was, "Nope". Then I corrected myself a bit - the first term or so at Waimea College was a tough adjustment, but then I loved it. The first half year at Woodford House was another instance of that.


So, no, I have never regretted a move forward, but I have regretted any collateral damage that happened to the family along the way.


Cambridge High School posed a whole new series of challenges which I also loved. This was where I washed up as Deputy Principal in 2000.



The Principal, Alison Annan, was a great boss and mentor for me. She's not for everyone - working for and with Alison was like having an ice bucket challenge every day. Some wouldn't like that, but it was exactly what I needed!

She made it clear in my interview that my children would be expected to go to the school as well. Hindsight is wonderful. Keegan hated that idea and I should have listened to him and fought his corner much more than I did. Suffice to say, Cambridge High School was not a happy place for him. Adam had a much better experience and Samantha loved having me at the school when she also started there.



The Barney dress
Jade meanwhile was sorting out the staff and fellow students at Cambridge Primary and then taking on Hautapu School. She thrived at both in her mature and self assured way.

While all this education was happening Jacky started work at Hamilton's Southern Cross hospital as a theatre nurse and then moved to Waikato Hospital in Cardiac Care.


Our Alpha Street house from 2000 to 2004 was quirky, cool, and large enough for us all to have our own spaces. I even had an office set up to tear my hair out on my UNITEC masters degree (in educational management). I had a computer set up and woe betide any child who messed with my set up!



We had chickens. We had a couple of sheep. We had lovebirds, in the outrageously amazingly wonderful aviary that I had built before leaving School House. We had cats - Persia and Lewis from our time in Nelson.

And, after Wynton, we had Bazil.


Samantha worked on me (with help from Jacky and Jade) for two years before I gave in and okayed her puppy present for her 13th birthday.



Grandad and grand daughters

And so Bazil - a border collie, arrived and would become a focal point for family love for evermore, until I had to take him to the vet last year for a final visit. By that stage he was old, deaf, night blind and in pain. It was still a terrifically hard thing to do.  Bazil was always Samantha's dog but he was a buddy to all of us. I sat with him and cried my eyes out before the vet put him to sleep.




Back at Alpha Street, though, Bazie was a puppy and a particularly messy, noisy pain in the ass puppy. The first few nights were horrible as he howled and whined from dusk till dawn.


Samantha was devoted to Bazil, teaching him a variety of tricks and eventually started his training. She created increasingly elaborate agility courses around the house. He loved doing those but otherwise, puppy training with Bazie was a disaster. Socialising with other dogs? Disaster. Walking on a leash? Disaster. Trying to 'work' sheep? Disaster.


And still, he became the coolest dog in the world. 


Whenever I went out to do chores around the farmlets we owned, Bazie was only ever a few metres away from me. Until his hearing went in old age, when he'd disappear after  the scent of a rabbit into the furtherest spot in a paddock (his appetite and sense of smell were always a constant).



Your sis-ter (Purdettes with Ma belle and Kerry Dix)

During our Alpha Street life Keegan finished his education via Correspondence School, and then moved out of our family home to go flatting with some friends from Cambridge High School.


During 2004, things at school started unravelling for Alison Annan and I decided to leave the school after she reneged on a promise she had made to me to resign and recommend me for the Headship. I'd now been to Scotland, visited my relatives in greater Manchester and fallen in love with English life.


We (Adam, Samantha, Jade, Jacky and me) decided as a family to leave Cambridge. We sold Alpha Street and moved to a rental (owned by Cambridge High School). I remember spreading out a giant map on New Zealand on a table there and we all wondered where we could go next.



We couldn't decide an anywhere. In the back of my brain I was thinking England. The family were okay with that so I sent off applications for senior management positions. I was shortlisted a few times, phone interviewed even, but ultimately - nothing came of it.

By now I was anything but daunted by the scale of what I was attempting. Instead, it was clear that I couldn't get a job from New Zealand. I would need to travel to England and front up in person.


So I did. 


When Jacky dropped me off at Auckland Airport before my three week trip to London, staying with friends Tina and Paul in Balham, I promised I would come back with a job!

Love and peace - Wozza 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I was born a ramblin' man (The Allman Brothers Band)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 1)


Here's to the Purdettes

By now it should have become clear that I'm a rambling man:

Lord, I was born a ramblin' man,
Tryin' to make a livin' and doin' the best I can.
And when it's time for leavin',
I hope you'll understand,
That I was born a ramblin' man.


(The Allman Brothers Band)

Up to age 15 I 'd pretty much lived in the one house in Royal Oak. Up to leaving for my first job in New Plymouth I'd only lived in Auckland. My parents' marriage was solid for all of those years. On the surface - it's a very stable background.

But really - all of our lives are divided into chunks. I loved Royal Oak Primary, but I left for two years of Manukau Intermediate. I loved MAGS but after 6 years of that I went to Auckland University. I loved that but after 5 years went to teachers' college. And so on. I loved Macleans College but left to find adventure in Nelson. 

We managed to amass a (nearly) five year stint in Nelson. These were happy times - enjoying time at Waimea College and with our friends in Spring Grove and Jackett's Island (off Motueka).

By 1994, though, a few things conspired to make us think we needed to leave Nelson.

Along the way, we'd decided to move from Lord Auckland Road. Jacky's 'asthma' reactions were attributed to the pine pollens all around us in Wakefield. We looked at places in Brightwater, 88 Valley and Hope, but in the end Jacky found an old villa she loved and she bought it (I trusted her and went for a look after the deal was done - she was right - it was great).

Only trouble - it was in Wakefield, a few streets from where we'd been before. Ha ha...ha.

The rock steady crew in Whitby Road
The 'asthma' didn't stop at this place (on Whitby Road), in fact, it got worse. The use of quote marks on asthma is because we later found that Jacky was experiencing respiratory complaints not linked to asthma - at the time though all the GP's we saw prescribed steroids in the hope it would help.

Meanwhile, we again set about improving the house - painting the outside and fixing up the grounds. Along the way I fell off the roof and injured myself and Samantha with some dodgy scaffolding arrangement. No harm no foul. Oh and Jade got 'sumfing in her boomat!'

With Leda's awesome  birthday cake
The other mitigating factor in our decision to ramble once more was Jacky's decision to retrain as a nurse/midwife. 

After getting some tuition from a local GP and picking up senior school biology and chemistry, she was determined to get a qualification. 

She had been a stay home mum since 1984, ten years ago, and I can really understand why this was so important to her. In terms of new locations, this meant either Dunedin or Auckland.

A job came up for me at Mount Albert Grammar for 1995, leading the English department, and so, back to my old school I went.

In classic moves that have been replicated often since, I flew up to Auckland for a weekend to find us all a suitable house. Which I did. In Glenfield, on the north shore.

The kids headed off to new schools, I battled the bridge traffic each day, and Jacky took a job at a rest home while also going to UNITEC to study for her nursing degree. Phew. Life got hectic fast. Naturally, we were both exhausted. 

School House! 
(BTW - Dining room is named after Kel White)
Luckily some respite came when a job as Senior Housemaster came up at Mt Albert Grammar's boarding hostel for 100 boys, called School House. It would mean working two big jobs - Head of English and Senior Housemaster but what the heck.

Now Jacky had to commute across the bridge - she'd moved her studies to AUT on the shore, but her days were easier, even though she took a job as Matron at School House.

This all worked out well. The kids headed to new schools - Gladstone Primary and Kowhai Intermediate, and Jacky completed her Bachelor of Health Science degree. What a feat. Raising four children, working as Matron, putting up with our 24/7 hostel life, AND getting her degree. Amazing.

Of course, there were some sticky moments along the way - frustrations, tantrums, and lots of ripped up paper that is thrown around the room, is the life of any student, but she battled through and got her degree.

Now it was time to get a nursing job. But wait. After four years of being in charge of School House (and a record FIVE years at one school) I also needed some further stimulation and challenge. 

I wanted to be a Principal. But first I had to get a Deputy Principal position. That wasn't happening at MAGS, so at the end of 1999, I looked elsewhere.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, November 27, 2016

They say it's your birthday (The Beatles)


Huge happy birthday to DLG - seen here rockin' the bob with Mr Gutsy - for the twenty-eighth!

Bring back the bob!!