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New opportunities . . . Northern Southland College principal Mike Newell is leaving the school after nearly four years to take up the role of James Hargest College principal in Invercargill in term two of next year. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

When Northern Southland College principal Mike Newell starts a new position next year he will be responsible for 1600 pupils, more than he is now.

In term 2 he will take up the role as principal of James Hargest College in Invercargill.

Mr Newell said the obvious difference between the two schools was the size of each operation.

”A totally different beat really,” Mr Newell said.

James Hargest had more than 1800 pupils spread over two campuses.

”It also has two different centres attached to it so it so it’s got a teen parent unit, it’s got an activities centre .. it’s got a massive international department so it’s a totally different operation.”

Before coming to Lumsden Mr Newell had been deputy principal of Taieri College.

Having come from a big school to here I don’t think one’s better than the other. There’s a lot of similarities but there are just different parts to it and that’s what is attractive, getting stuck into some different aspects.”

By the time he left Mr Newell would have worked at the school for almost four years.

He had ”mixed emotions” about leaving.

”I’m really attached for NSC and the people, so while it’s a good opportunity for me I haven’t thought about the leaving side of it yet ’cause it’s still such a long way away.

”It was really hard to tell staff earlier in the week but it’s new opportunities and it’s a good time to be getting a new principal in because the school is in good heart.”

One of the highlights was ”seeing kids taking opportunities and doing well and increasing the pride”.

Changes had been made to the curriculum.

”There’s more on offer for students .. we’ve increased participation in sport, we’ve been to Polyfest for the first time, our productions have come back .. we’ve managed to get the turf laid.

”I’m not going to miss buildings but I will certainly miss people ’cause it is a great community.

Board of trustees chairman Adam Roberts said the school community would be sad to see Mr Newell leave.

”We’re very proud to see him follow his career path.

”He has been an innovative leader at NSC . . . he will certainly leave some big shoes to fill,” Mr Roberts said.