Retired principal still helps out

'You don't become a teacher to get rich or famous'

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 09:06 02/06/2014
Lovegrove
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Former Lytton Street School principal Geoff Lovegrove says that as in an orchestra, he may have been the conductor of schools as a principal, but he had great colleagues to help him out. He has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal.

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A recently-retired Feilding school principal says he is embarrassed by the accolades which have been handed to him in the past year.

But whether he likes it or not, the former principal of Lytton Street School has another one to add to his collection.

Geoff Lovegrove has been given a Queen's Service Medal for services to education, months after ending a long and illustrious career which took him from Wellington to Otago and even Finland.

He has been principal of Glen Oroua and Riverdale schools in Manawatu, as well as other schools in Otago and King Country.

He is a former president of the New Zealand Principals' Federation, and edited its magazine.

A recipient of a prestigious Woolf Fisher Fellowship, which saw him spend time at Harvard University in the United States, he has also studied education in places as far apart as Singapore and Finland.

From Wellington originally, he and his wife have settled in Feilding, where he is a member of the Lions Club.

After announcing his retirement, Lovegrove was made the first lifetime member of the Manawatu Principals' Association.

He said he had never been one to seek the spotlight.

"It's been really embarrassing because there have been so many accolades and celebrations of my career in the past 12 months. You don't become a teacher to get rich or famous. It is a service career which you do for other reasons."

Coming from a family that valued community service made it more likely he would take up a vocation such as teaching, and he said the people who taught him had left a lasting impact.

"People remember the teachers who make a significant impact in their lives. I had a great number of really great teachers in Wellington."

He said he hoped to have had a positive impact on his pupils as well.

"It's nice to hear from people you've been involved with and hear how well they are doing."

While retired from fulltime work in schools, Lovegrove said he was still involved in helping some boards with professional appraisals.

He had also recently helped a school select a principal, but said he would not be jumping back into a classroom any time soon.

"I was ready to retire, as I did about half a dozen years above when you usually retire.

"I don't think you could do the big break totally.

"I'm still involved, but not up early every morning."

He was quick to pass off the credit to others. "It's like a conductor in an orchestra. They don't make the orchestra sound better on their own; it's all the lead players that play a big part."

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- Manawatu Standard

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