Chris Linders, the newly appointed principal of St Joseph's School in Stratford says he has always seen teaching as being a calling, and he is delighted to now be called to lead the school into the future.
"There's so many things to like when it comes to teaching, it is a values based job, where you are surrounded by people who all hold kids at the centre of all that they do."
Chairman of the board of trustees, Nathan McDonald, says that while they received a high number of quality applications Chris's appointment was the result of a unanimous decision "as he meet the requirements that we were looking for in regards to our new principal".
"It is fantastic result for the school as Chris already knows the students, school staff, the parish and local community. Also Chris has strong links with the community supporting local sports and being a volunteer fire fighter."
Chris has been a teacher at the school for the last two years, prior to which he held principal and deputy principal roles at Mahoe and Ngaere schools. He chose to move to St Joseph's to gain experience within the Catholic system.
"I knew I wanted to take on a leadership role in a Catholic school in the future, I felt that was where I was meant to be."
Chris has also taught at schools in Levin and Kapuni, saying he has tried to gain experience in a wide range of schools and localities through his career. "Last year I also did the national aspiring principals programme as, while I already have experience at principal level, I wanted to keep myself future focused and current with best practice."
Chris and his wife Kay, also a teacher, have three children, all at schools in Stratford, and Chris says it's the "fantastic support" from Kay, the children and the St Joseph's staff and community that enables him to take on the challenges of the new role.
Those challenges include raising student achievement in a Christian environment and building on the strong community links the school already has he says.
"It is an exciting time to be a teacher or a leader of a school, we are at a time which has amazing growth in ICT, there are so many opportunities for our students and so many great things happening around us."
Chris will officially start in his new role at the start of the second term, with Carol Spragg, deputy principal, staying on as acting principal until that point. "The school is so fortunate in having Carol and the board of trustees, who along with Rae our last principal, really helped grow the school and get it to a great place." Nathan adds his thanks to Carol and all the staff "for everything they are doing to guide the school and students through this time".
Students in Chris's class say they are sorry to lose their awesome teacher to the principal's office, but are delighted their new principal is such a great teacher. "He's really funny and humorous, and he gets involved in everything," says Isabella Stewart, while Max Buchanan-Hancock adds "he's really sporty and gets lots of work done".