Mr V (or Leon Van’t Veen-Gibbon) became principal of Waiau Pa School at the beginning of 2018. Sadly, he will leave our school at the end of this term. Prior to leaving Mr V was interviewed for the Greenie by media studies students Tyler, Kieran and Ciarn.
Waiau Pa’s principal has been here for 3 happy years. As soon as he arrived, he introduced us to drama, dance, art, the William Pike Challenge, as well as other innovations such as improving our school facilities.
The community will remember Broadway Bound, a very successful musical that bought the school and the community together. He has also introduced new ideas and improved school facilities. The William Pike Challenge teaches leadership, community involvement, risk taking and helps kids come out of their comfort zone and be proud of it.
“How do you feel about Mr V leaving?” ask’s Ciarn.
“Umm… sad because he hasn’t been with us for long,” says Kieran “I really enjoyed the production”
Tyler says Mr V has done lots of things for our school over the 3 years he has been here, like production.
“What was your favourite memory of Mr V?” asks Tyler to Ciarn
“Probably the production, it was really fun!”
Tyler, Kieran and Ciarn interviewed Mr V:
Mr V, do you have a favourite memory?
“Just one? It’s a tricky question just to say one. I think the kids – talking to the kids, doing things with the kids, and helping their learning. I think Broadway Bound was great. I got to work with the whole school. Anything that involved students and learning would have been my favourite thing – and working with a great staff.
What was your biggest challenge at Waiau Pa School?
The biggest challenge for me was being the principal and everything the job entails – focusing on the students and their parents and the support structure and the learning and working with the ministry. The principal role is very complicated, so my biggest challenge has been going from deputy principal at my last school to principal here. Every day I learn something. I don’t see it as a challenge but an opportunity for learning.
What will you miss most about our school?
I’ll miss the people – the kids and the staff and the parents. It’s all about the people – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. People and relationships are key, and I think when you get people and relationships right, everything takes care of itself.
Tyler – How did you feel about the principal of a school during lockdown?
It was different. Lockdown provided its own challenges” said Mr V. “I was really proud of the way the staff and the community adapted to online learning. Working from home was another opportunity for learning in a different way. The second time we went into lockdown we had an even shorter time to get ready for it. I was really proud of the staff, who had to change the way they taught and had to be so flexible with teaching and managing their own families. But we have a wonderful team at WP School. It was great that the Ministry sent a nice email to acknowledge the hard work that our school had put into managing our school during lockdown.
You and Miss Grey have worked closely together. Will she continue with your plans for the school?
We made the plans together as a management team. You always feel there is something you didn’t get to do but I believe we have a very clear direction about where we are going and it will be very easy for Miss Grey and Mr Dyer to continue to do that. I don’t think a teacher’s job (or a principal’s job) is ever finished in any way shape or form. But I believe I am leaving knowing that I have made a difference in the time I’ve been here.
What school are you going to?
A school in North Canterbury as the principal. It is bigger than Waiau Pa with 580 students.