One of the longest serving Napier Boys' High School principals was recognised in the New Year's Honours list for service to education.
Ross Brown, whose career in education spans more than 35 years, was shocked and surprised to be made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
"I do feel humbled as there are many others doing good work under extreme circumstances."
"I never say 'me' or 'my' instead it is 'us', 'we' and 'our'. I was lucky to be able to work with like minded people who all wanted the best for our youth."
Mr Brown began his role as Napier Boys' High School principal in 1997 before resigning at the end of 2015 after 18 years.
Under his leadership the high school experienced continual role growth and outstanding results across the board in academia, arts and sport.
"Everyone from teaching and support staff to trustees were incredible and made my job much easier.
I was fortunate to have such positive people around me."
Mr Brown said his love for the classroom and education started in 1972 when he went on an exchange to a school in California.
During his time there he went to a grade school and listened to the children read.
"This was the first time I guess where I went from being a student to a teacher and I loved it."
He decided to pursue his passion for education and has since been heavily involved in all areas but his longest stint was at NBHS.
"I think the key to success in boys education is being as inclusive as you can and leading from initiatives."
He said Hawke's Bay was a marvellous place and people didn't realise how spoilt they were when it came to education choices.
"The local principals all worked well together. We were competitive when needed to be but also supportive."
After resigning from NBHS Mr Brown went on to do some relief teaching at Huntley College in Huntley and Whanganui High School.
Now Mr Brown is working on an education initiative from his home in Taupo around helping students who struggle with writing.
"I guess what drives me is working with others so when I am not working formally I am doing personal projects."
Mr Brown said he missed his time at Napier Boys' High School and would often think back to what was happening during the year.
"It was a wonderful time and experience and I am just thankful to my family who were so supportive and to the staff I worked with."
Mr Brown's involvement in education did not stop at NBHS as he was principal of Napier Community High School, one of the founding principals of the Super Eight School, Sport Hawke's Bay's Secondary Schools Management Committee chair, New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council board member and executive member of the Association of Boys' Schools New Zealand.