Home is where the heart is but for Mallory Hood school is another place where her heart is.

At a ceremony on Friday Miss Hood was welcomed as the new principal and blessed for the role by Catholic Bishop of Dunedin Michael Dooley.

St Mary’s is a stateintegrated year 1-6 Catholic school with about 200 pupils.

Miss Hood began at the school as a 5-year-old in the 1990s, started teaching at the school in her first year of teaching in 2010, later became the deputy principal and this year was appointed principal.

‘‘I’ve done the full circle, ’’ Miss Hood said.

She was very happy to be the school’s principal, she said.

‘‘I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot.’’

She had never been tempted to teach anywhere else.

‘‘Absolutely not. I love it here.

‘‘My heart’s here.

‘‘Always has been.’’

New role. . . St Mary’s School principal Mallory Hood holds a candle the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin Michael Dooley gave her symbolising light for the new journey she has embarked on as the school’s new principal. Miss Hood was officially welcomed as the school’s principal on Friday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Apart from the teachers, pupils and school community, the strength of the school was its special character which was rooted in the Catholic faith.

‘‘The teachings of Jesus and having Jesus as part of our school makes it really special,’’ she said.

She had been filling in as principal for three terms after former principal Annie Nelson was seconded to work at the Ministry of Education.

Once Mrs Nelson resigned Miss Hood decided to apply for the position.

‘‘I thought I’ve done three terms and I’m OK.

‘‘The kids keep turning up.’’

She was looking forward to the new challenges she could see on the horizon in the place she loved to be.

‘‘I just want to build on the great foundations we already have.

‘‘One of our values is good today, better tomorrow.’’