Principal celebrates 25 years in 'special' school

Last updated 05:00 30/05/2014
Caroline Beissel
Fairfax NZ

LOVE THIS PLACE: Principal Caroline Beissel celebrates 25 years at Pembroke School. She is with pupils Tom Bennet, left, Noah Laurse, Isaac Hancockand Loegan Peita.

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Caroline Beissel's first day at Pembroke School was spent enjoying a flurry of snow with her pupils.

Twenty-five years on, Beissel calls the school her home and she has seen its roll double from 25 pupils to 50.

At its peak 10 years ago the school had about 70 pupils, Beissel said.

Beissel, 60, taught at Auroa School before moving to Pembroke in 1989.

Her husband Stuart started at Midhirst School one term before Beissel's appointment and the couple have clocked up 50 years of teaching between the two of them.

"I was very excited," Beissel said of her first day at Pembroke.

"It was my first principal's job and it's been my only principal's job."

The snowfall made the day extra special.

"Pembroke is a special school," she said. "That's part of the reason why I haven't gone anywhere else."

The school was a "shell of two classrooms" when Beissel started but now has three classrooms, a new library and a modern staffroom.

The way students access information had changed over the years, she said.

"When I first came here, there were hardly any computers and [pupils] were still using encyclopedias," Beissel said.

Pembroke's annual school camps for its years 6, 7 and 8 pupils are a highlight of her teaching career.

"If you ask the children, that's what they say their highlights are, it's the camps," she said.

Both Beissel and Stuart have an unwritten rule of talking about school for "a little bit" when at home.

"Otherwise, you could end up talking about school the whole time," Beissel said.

"We usually go for a walk at night and talk about school then and in the mornings, when we're organising our day."

The couple keep occupied by gardening and spending time with their grandchildren.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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