A North Shore principal has left "disappointment and initially anger" in his wake by moving on to a bigger school after just 18 months.

CJ Healey, who became Glenfield College's principal in April last year, left on Friday and will start a new job heading Long Bay College tomorrow.

Long Bay, a decile 10 school with 1634 students, is more than three times bigger than Glenfield, a decile 6 school with 463 students.

Healey said he applied for the Long Bay job because it was the first school he worked at after coming to New Zealand from Britain in 2000.

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"It's a sentimental move," he said. "In the year 2000 I arrived in New Zealand, I had nothing but a girlfriend and a backpack, and it was Long Bay College that gave me my first opportunity to teach in New Zealand."

CJ Healey (right) with Glenfield College students from left Filip Ograbek, Anzia Singe and Nicola Moody. File photo
CJ Healey (right) with Glenfield College students from left Filip Ograbek, Anzia Singe and Nicola Moody. File photo

Healey was credited with lifting Glenfield's pass rates in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) by putting up photos in the staffroom of students who might fail the exams without extra support.

He said goodbye to the school at a special assembly on Friday with "a very heavy heart".

"There has been a lot of disappointment and initially anger, but I think people have come round over the last eight weeks to understand my motives for leaving," he said.

Board of trustees chairwoman Nicky Primrose said she was confident the school would continue to do well under its new principal, Paul McKinley, an associate principal at Mt Albert Grammar School who will start at Glenfield on the last day of this term, September 29.

"What CJ has done in his short time has been absolutely outstanding," Primrose said. "I think the system we have in place is robust and strong enough for us to feel very confident that we'll only be going up from here."

Former Long Bay principal Russell Brooke moved to become principal of Academic Colleges Group's ACG Parnell campus, after nine years at Long Bay, from June 12.

Long-serving former Long Bay principal Russell Brooke has moved to ACG Parnell. File photo
Long-serving former Long Bay principal Russell Brooke has moved to ACG Parnell. File photo