Principal heads to Sydney

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 24/02/2012
Brian O'Connell and students
Michele Ong

NEW ADVENTURES: Whangaparaoa College's founding principal Brian O'Connell is heading to Australia with his wife. He is pictured with head boy Matt Harris and head girl Alexis Sadgrove.

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Founding principal Brian O'Connell is off on new adventures.

He was appointed principal of Whangaparaoa College in 2004 and oversaw its concstruction.

The school was formerly known as Hibiscus Coast Intermediate.

Mr O'Connell was principal of Otahuhu College for two years before taking up his Whangaparaoa post.

He is joining the exodus to Australia, where his wife has been offered a job with the Marrickville Council, a multicultural suburb south-west of downtown Sydney.

Mr O'Connell says he and his wife want to travel and are also looking for a more relaxed way of life.

"We've both held very high-pressured jobs, and we're keen for a different lifestyle," he says.

Sydney may not strike someone as a place to relax, but Mr O'Connell says the city has smaller suburbs offering people a slower pace.

Whangaparaoa College is in a "strong position," Mr O'Connell says.

"It is in good hands," he says.

"The new principal who starts will be able to just get into things."

When Whangaparaoa first opened its doors in 2005 it had a roll of 600 students and 35 staff.

That's since grown to 1400 students and 87 staff.

Mr O'Connell's best memories of the school are when it beat Orewa College in rugby last year, and having the school achieve a 91 percent pass rate in NCEA level one.

"Seeing the building to completion is my other highlight," he says.

Mr O'Connell's last day is April 5.

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