Paeroa’s Miller Ave School has a very deep history within its community which new principal Richard Wilkinson plans to build on.
“Some of our teachers have been here a long time – they were pupils and their families went here. Just about everyone you speak to came here or knows someone who did,” he said.
“I am looking at developing a school that is tailored around the local curriculum, knowledge of what belongs to the school and the history and the culture of the school.”
Mr Wilkinson, originally from Auckland, previously worked in International Education as the Primary Principal of Leman International School in Chengdu, China. Before that he was in middle management in Amman, Jordan at the International Academy Amman. While in New Zealand he was the Principal of Herekino School in the North Hokianga and the Deputy Principal of Pompallier Catholic School.
He applied for the Miller Ave School position while he was in China.
“My big ambition was to come home and invest everything I’ve learnt in education into our local environment.”
Mr Wilkinson’s wife is an early childhood educator, and they have a son Zion. His parent’s live in
“My own aunty came to Miller Ave and she is 74.”
The school roll is “now knocking on 150,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“I love it here. I love the kids’ tenacity and resilience after coming through Covid although the impact of Covid is now starting to come out of the woodwork.
“The kids come to school with a smile and they leave with the same smile.”
By MEGHAN HAWKES