New principal all set

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Step up... Menzies College deputy principal Peter Wilkinson is looking forward to the opportunity to take on the role of Northern Southland College principal in term two. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Menzies College deputy principal Peter Wilkinson is about to take on one of his “big hairy, audacious goals”.

The 45-year-old was appointed as principal of Northern Southland College, in Lumsden, this week.

He will take over the position in term two from Mike Newell, who has been appointed as the principal of James Hargest College.

Mr Wilkinson said at some point he had heard of the importance of setting goals which might seem hard to reach and were described as big, hairy and audacious because of that.

“It’s about dreaming big,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“For me it’s about aiming for excellence.

“Professionally, being a senior manager and being a principal 15 years ago would have been a big, hairy and audacious goal because there was no way I was ever prepared for it or ready for it.

“It is just something you work towards.”

Competing in the Ironman World Championships, in Hawaii, in 2019 had been another one of those kind of goals.

“I like to be busy and I like to challenge myself.

Previously Mr Wilkinson had been teaching at Central Southland College for 15 years before taking up the role of Menzies College assistant principal in 2015.

He was fortunate to have had some good mentors throughout his teaching career who had encouraged him to take on leadership positions.

“People who have really looked after me and believed that I can do it.”

Being a lifelong learner was important to him.

“If I’m not learning something new I think I would get stagnant.”

He was looking forward to the “fantastic”opportunity to lead a school.

“You don’t know unless you try.

“Nothing wrong with putting yourself out there and giving things a go.”

“As you go through the teaching career and you take opportunities and you take chances, things come up. ”

Although the roll at Menzies College is higher than Northern Southland, the schools were alike in many ways.

“It’s a slightly smaller school but from what I can tell, the culture is very similar.

“Strong community links, year 7 to 13, staff in both schools from what I can tell are passionate about education, hard-working, good people and the students are good country kids.”

Northern Southland College board of trustees chairman Adam Roberts said the board was delighted with Mr Wilkinson’s appointment.

“We are excited to have such an energetic and inspirational leader join our team,” Mr Roberts said.

His knowledge of the education system was impressive.

“He put a proposal to the board that showed his vision and planning for future learning.

“He will be a good fit for Northern Southland College to take it forward,” Mr Roberts said.