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Welcome to Piopio, A Thriving Village Nestled Between The
World Famous Waitomo Caves and The Rugged Taranaki Coast

 

FAREWELL AFTER FIVE YEARS OF VICTORIES— JOHAN VAN DEVENTER

My Work as Principal of Piopio College: January 2017- December 2021

I unequivocally believe that leaders only cause impact when others buy in,commit and involve themselves in change and improvement strategies,so a big thank you to all the teaching and support staff over the last five years. We’ve navigated the waters and overcome the challenges thrown at us as a team, with positive results.

I thank and acknowledge the Board of Trustees for their support and vision for the College. We’ve achieved lot of victories - big and small. Shaun, Doug, Ian, Amy, Ripeka and Asha, you were fantastic governors and supporters of our mahi. I wish you great success in the future.

To all the parents and supporters of Piopio College,I can only wish that your numbers grow and that the entire community become avid supporters of our schools here in Piopio. It is after all your school and your children and we need you in our corner. To the whanau in our roopu, thankyou. You’ve been wonderful with your manaakitanga and tautoko to me and the kura, Ngaa Mihi nui e te Iwi O Maniapoto!

When I arrived in January 2017, I was welcomed with a fantastic Maniapototanga powhiri, After a cuppa, I was introduced to the senior students; I was met by a year eleven student in another school's uniform, who proceeded to tell me he does not spend too much time inside classrooms. He then asked if I would let him smoke at school! Yes, this was young Mullie and his sidekick Chay, needless to say, they were set straight pretty sharp! I’m proud to see how our uniforms are worn now, and how students engage in class.

I’m proud of how my team of staff individually met the students’ individual needs and lead them to further training or employment. In a small rural school, it was challenging to offer a huge range of subjects without a huge team of teachers,but these guys bent over backwards to accommodate the students on their chosen pathways.

Organisationally, when I arrived it became clear that many heads of departments (all nine of them) were isolated with few collaborative opportunities. We reviewed the curricular structure faculties, with an average of three teaching members per faculty. This new structure will hopefully serve our staff and students better. We also introduced Restorative practices, PB4L and structured literacy into our curricular arsenal which, with continued commitment should stand the school in good stead. We used student voice to review and build our curriculum programs every year and forged solid partnerships with providers such as WINTEC, Te Puna Waiora, This is Me, Secondary Schools Sports Waikato, and local employers who signed into our SSEP (Secondary Schools Employer Partnerships) to mention but a few. All of which actively promote pathways, career choice and wellbeing.

Another major milestone was the upgrading of all the buildings including the construction of the Fitness Zone in partnership with the Recreation
centre and community support. It was born out of a desire to create a small playground for the students, however, when individuals from our parent community came on board and started fundraising, it grew into the wonderful $200 000 asset it is today.

I’m particularly proud of the strong junior cohort and their program as well as the NCEA cohort and staff for all their efforts to ensure their programs hit the mark. I am also humbled by the fact that my BOT supported me as a founding dual leader of the Waitomo Arotahi kahui Ako, which included all ECEs, primary schools and secondary schools in this Te Kuiti, Piopio and Aria area. I also served on the Piopio College Trust Committee, Improve Piopio group and Piopio College PTA as well as the Waikato Secondary Schools Sports Executive. I thank those organisations for their commitment to our community and school.

We’ve just experienced the most unusual two years in our recent history due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Nothing prepared us for this new landscape, so we had to just go with gut instinct when the first lockdown hit us. I’m not going to claim that we did everything right, but we did
what we could to ensure the well-being of our children, staff and our families. The reality of a new education system and society is still being formed. I hope and pray that our school community and society as a whole will remain kind and supportive of everyone and that we will band together to conquer COVID-19.

To the students, thank you for the friendly hello`s and Kia oras you have provided over the years. It’s what keeps teachers coming back day after day. Your lovely smiles and friendly greetings have always been the best reward in my twenty five years in education. I look forward to meeting you somewhere in the future and finding out what you’ve achieved.

I’ve loved our school campus, one of the most scenic and beautiful schools in the most beautiful part of the North Island, The King Country. You are all very privileged to have access to such a fantastic school: treasure it and look after it and it will provide you and all the generations to come with fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.

Looking ahead to the next chapter of my life, my family and I are moving to Taranaki and I will be taking a bit of a step back and letting my family run the business. I look forward to some relief teaching and part-time work in the whanau business.

Ngā reia, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna koutou katoa!! Meri keheremite!



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