By Anna Bowden
Better academic results. Better sports results. And a new performing arts centre.
These are some of Phillip Nash's key goals as new principal at Tauranga's Bethlehem College.
Mr Nash was this week appointed college principal at Bethlehem and takes up the job on October 10.
But the father-of-three is by no means a stranger to the school - he was previously a foundation teacher and later deputy principal during the early 1990s.
In 2004 he returned to the college as assistant executive director alongside foundation principal Graham Preston. Mr Nash is both excited and daunted to be taking the baton from a man who has been in charge for 17 years.
Mr Nash has taken on the role with the intention to project his passion for Christian education into the school and encourage good relationships with parents.
"I want to lift our game academically, in sports results and in cultural fields - we also have plans for a performing arts centre," he said.
"Most of all, we want Bethlehem to be a place where students feel safe and feel purpose for life."
He brings an extensive background in education, including six years in a state school before initially becoming a teacher at Bethlehem, seeing the school through to its first seventh-form year. He then worked for three years with Christian Schools Association in Sydney and for four years as deputy principal of Pacific Hills Christian School.
He is completing his Masters degree in Christian education.
When he returned to Bethlehem, there had been three main principal roles within the campus. One was executive principal, held by Graham Preston. The others were co-principal roles under him. The primary school role is still held by Dave Bell and the secondary school role was held by Brian Seatter, who resigned in March.
Under a new structure, the position of "college principal" blended the secondary role with that of executive principal, and attracted 14 applications.
Mr Preston is now the executive director of the entire campus: "It has been my great joy to have seen the Bethlehem dream fulfilled, and it is with great confidence that I hand over the full responsibility of the college into Phillip's hands," he said in his message to parents of students.
The campus' Bethlehem Institute appointed a new chief executive officer, Amy Edwards, last week. She was previously director of the Unitec Waitakere Campus.
By Anna Bowden