Stratford Primary School principal Kelvin Squire has resigned his position, effective from May 5 next year. This follows on from changes within the education system, which he says do not align with his core beliefs. "I support the direction, but not the process."
An outspoken lobbyist for the right of every child to quality education, he says education is too important to change every three years with the shifting direction of the political wind, or "a cup of tea", as he puts it.
"Why can we not agree on what is important for the kids, for parents and for the teachers? The standards alone will not lift achievement levels; quality teaching, quality parenting and positive home-school partnerships, with the child at the center, are the way," he says.
"I am a strong believer in the African saying 'It takes a village to raise a child'.
"This is what I went into teaching for: for all kids, for all people, not just certain groups."
Kelvin says while the Government leans on experts' advice, they are bypassing the real experts, the teachers, and that they need the Government to support and resource them. "Never before, in my time, have teachers felt so undervalued, quite so embattled."
Kelvin's career spans 42 years. He started at Stratford Primary in 1989, as deputy principal, and took on the role of principal in 1993, a position he has held since, bar 2003-2005 when he took leave on being elected president of the New Zealand Principals' Federation.
Kelvin says he leaves 24 years of footsteps at Stratford Primary and that he is feeling a raft of emotions, for the kids and the staff.
"I have had so much support from them, from the community."
But, he says, it is also time for new leadership at the school, for someone else to take an outstanding school to new heights. He tendered his resignation now to offer the Board of Trustees more time to appoint a new principal before the board re-election in May next year.
Board of Trustees chairperson Kelly Marriner, on announcing Kelvin's resignation to the school last week, said: "We acknowledge the passion and commitment Kelvin has for education, children, teachers and Stratford Primary School. It is our community that has been privileged to have him driving the education journey for our children."
Meanwhile Kelvin says, it will be good to have more time for his other community commitments, including as a Stratford District councillor, and for himself to make "pesto and pickle" at home and be a "house-man", returning the support his wife Carolyn has offered him over the years.