After 20 years as a leader in education, Wanganui Girls College principal Vivianne Murphy is taking her skills elsewhere.

In mid-July, Mrs Murphy will leave the school where she has been principal for 10 years, to take up a management role with the New Zealand Defence Force in Wellington.

She told the Wanganui Chronicle she will miss the school, the staff and pupils, but after 20 years of leadership in four different schools, it's time for a change.

"I'm taking my transferable skills to another industry," Mrs Murphy said.


She and husband Graeme are from Wellington and still have a house there.

Mrs Murphy said there had been challenges during her time at Girls College - "the sort of challenges you'd expect as a school principal" - but she leaves knowing the school is in good heart.

"The school roll has been stable at around 360 for the past few years, and we are doing very well in our NCEA results. We're also financially in a good position."

Mrs Murphy has also had a leadership role over the past few years with the Wanganui Secondary Schools Principals Association. She urged all Wanganui people to support their local schools.

"We have a good range of schools in Wanganui - all that's missing is a secondary boys' school. Every school has something special to offer, and they're all doing well," she said.

Before she came to Wanganui Girls College, Mrs Murphy was deputy principal at Nga Tawa.

"It's not just a job - it's something I've lived for the past 10 years," she said.

Current deputy principal Tania King will be acting principal until a permanent principal can be employed, either in term four this year or term one in 2015.