A Tauranga educator has been recognised as the country's second-longest serving principal.
Dave Randell has been a principal for 25 years and involved in education for 43 years.
This year is his 13th as head of Otumoetai College.
Mr Randell was surprised at a morning tea last Thursday when the school's deputy principal, Bruce Farthing, presented him with a trophy representing his time as principal at Taihape College (1988-1994), Melville High School (1994-2000) and Otumoetai College (2000-current).
Mr Randell said the award was "a complete surprise".
"I guess it is a long time. I don't know anyone else who has served 25 years as a principal," he said.
"In a letter from the Ministry of Education it says I'm the second-longest serving principal in New Zealand, behind someone from a Catholic school in Auckland."
"When I first got the job principals were on individual employment agreements and my contract was a five-year fixed-term contract with the possibility of extending it for two years subject to performance ... but I managed to stick with it and here I am," Mr Randell said.
His career began when he left school in sixth form (now Year 12) and went to teachers training college - three years in Otago and one in Auckland - before he was offered a job at Rotorua Lakes High School in 1972. He loved sport, accounting and chemistry but chose physical education as his teaching role. He was employed at the school for 17 years before he became principal at Melville High School in Hamilton. Mr Randell said time had passed quickly but he still loved the industry. He enjoyed watching young people succeed and praised the actions of teachers who "continually do so much for kids".
Mr Randell said a principal's job was often 70 hours a week and he thanked his wife, Jude, for her support and understanding and the support from all his staff.