Meet the man who will oversee more Southland secondary school students than any other next year.
Central Southland College principal Andy Wood has been named Paul O'Connor's successor as James Hargest College principal.
He will take charge of about 1700 Hargest students at the start of the 2010 school year.
Mr Wood said stepping into the role of principal at Southland's largest secondary school was both exciting and daunting.
"Obviously, I feel I'm up for something more complex and challenging."
Hargest already had an excellent record of academic, sporting and cultural excellence at a national level, he said.
"There is no reason why we cannot be the best in the country," Mr Wood said.
"I will be reinforcing that ethos and culture at Hargest that students should aim for the absolute top."
For many Hargest staff and families, Mr Wood is already a familiar face. His history with the school spans 21 years, first as a teacher and then deputy principal of the former James Hargest High School between 1982 and 2003.
He has been principal of Central Southland College in Winton since that time.
Mr Wood acknowledged the Hargest job would be different from his role at Central Southland, given the dual campuses and attached units, such as the recently announced teen parent unit, which have to be managed.
But the "solid apprenticeship" he served at Hargest High mixed with the fresh ideas gained by teaching at another school would serve him well, he said. "I think, in terms of the qualities of a good leader, there will be no difference."
Mr Wood admitted feeling more than a tinge of sadness at having to leave Central Southland College.
"In spite of it being a geographically widespread community, it (Winton) is a very close one. There's a real team spirit there, which has grown on me."
Mr Wood holds a variety of educational qualifications, including a bachelor of arts with a double major in English and education and a masters in educational administration.
James Hargest College board of trustees chairman Robert Loo said the board was impressed by Mr Wood's passion for education and, more importantly, his passion for students to succeed and enjoy education.
- The Southland Times
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