The Former board of trustees chairwoman at Kawerau College says she stood by principal Steve Hocking because he turned the school around before concerns about drugs and sexual harassment surfaced.
Lynette Dolman said the college used to be so unpopular that five busloads of kids left for schools outside the township every day.
Hocking's achievements since becoming principal in 2001, including an increase in academic success, meant only one bus heads out.
Dolman said a woman came to the board a few years ago with accusations Hocking was using cannabis, but the board made the right decision to keep him on.
She was angry the matter had surfaced over "a few people chirping" and said three Education Review Office teams had been through the school without anything being said of "Steve's antics".
The board did not sack Hocking because his problems "happened out of school time".
"We said, 'right oh,' smacked him on the hand, said 'Silly - you are about to throw your career away.' But he told us he would clean up his act."
Dolman said Hocking did not fulfil a promise to take drug tests, but it was hard to get good staff in the town.
When she heard the Herald on Sunday was investigating she gave advice to Hocking: "I said 'Do not cover it up, Steve.' It's my head that's on the block. I made the decision [not to sack Hocking].
"Yeah he might have smoked a joint, but did it affect the education of our students? No! Did it affect the education at this school? Diddly squat."