Rockley Montgomery was once crowned world champion in the gruelling Coast to Coast race, but now he faces a different challenge.
The Murrays Bay resident is the new principal of Vanguard Military School, the North Shore's first partnership school.
Charter schools have attracted criticism from teachers' unions and opposition parties, but Mr Montgomery is not fazed.
"We'll stick to our goal of educating kids and let the politicians worry about the rest of it," he says.
Mr Montgomery left Rangitoto College to take up the position at Vanguard.
He had been teaching there since he arrived in New Zealand from South Africa 17 years ago.
The Albany-based Vanguard Military School will open next year and cater for 108 year 11 and 12 students and expand in 2015 to include year 13.
It will be sponsored by Advance Training Centres, a military prep school run by Nick Hyde in Rosedale.
Mr Hyde says Mr Montgomery is perfect for the job, because he has been teaching for more than 20 years, served in the South African military and is a multisport world champion.
Mr Hyde says Mr Montgomery's mindset will be great for kids who are breaking down barriers to their education.
"You train hard, do whatever you need to do to get across the finish line."
Vanguard Military School will have a student-teacher ratio of 1 to 12.
Registered teachers will be used for core NCEA subjects like science, Maori, English and physical education.
Non-registered teachers will take defence force studies and engineering classes.
The school will give a second chance to the 20 per cent of students who struggle in the mainstream education system, Mr Hyde says.
Mr Montgomery says he could not turn down the opportunity to make a difference with the students.
"How can you say ‘no, you don't deserve another chance'?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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