Principal quits school family to be with own

JEREMY SMITH
Last updated 13:57 15/07/2014
 John Bullick
JEREMY SMITH/Fairfax NZ

MIXED FEELINGS: John Bullick left his job as principal at Cambridge East School last Friday after 18 years in the role.

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It's the end of an era for Cambridge East School which says goodbye to its long-serving principal, John Bullick.

Bullick steps down from the top job after spending 18 years of his 30-year teaching career at the Cambridge school.

His final week, at the end of last term, was "tougher than expected" and he said that, overall, his time at the school had passed "in the blink of an eye".

"The school has been a very important part of my life. As I look back, some of the children who have been through school in my time are now 29.

"The school will always have a very special place in my heart.

"Nearing the end of my time here has given me the opportunity to reflect on all the support and help I've been given here. I want to thank everyone - the children, the teachers, the families and our wider school community."

Admitting almost two decades was hard to summarise, Bullick described his time at Cambridge East School as "overwhelmingly positive".

"Like any job, it's had its ups and downs, stresses and strains. But, overall, it's been very satisfying and it's the people - those I have worked with and the children I have taught and their families - that I will remember most."

Although it was a tough call to make, Bullick said he felt the timing was right to pursue other opportunities.

High on the list of priorities is spending more time with his grandchildren.

"It was important to me to make sure the school had reached a point where it was running well. There is a great team of people at school. I have no doubt that it is in fantastic heart."

He's proud of the way the school has tracked, noting the many changes in education during his time at Cambridge East School, and said it was always the school's aim to make the children's learning paramount.

Bullick trained at Hamilton Teachers College in the early 1970s. His teaching career began in Matamata. He subsequently taught in Wairakei, Turangi and in Waerenga, near Te Kauwhata. His first role as principal was at Otunui School in the King Country in the late 1980s. He went on to become deputy principal at Putaruru West Primary School, later taking the principal's role.

From there he came to lead Cambridge East School, a move he described as a homecoming of sorts, given that he grew up in Maungatautari and attended the local school.

"For me, the great memories will be of the people I have interacted with while here. The children are always an inspiration and keep you smiling. Their personalities, zest for life and desire to learn have been reasons for me to come to the job every day. To have the opportunity to make a difference for someone, I believe, is the most satisfying thing that one can do.

"I feel very fortunate and proud to have been principal at Cambridge East. I know the team will continue to make a difference for the students - one that will help them move on to a positive future."

Bullick will be succeeded by Hamish Fenemor, who has come from Tirau School, at the start of next term. Bullick intends to continue living in Cambridge, and spend more time with family. jeremy.smith@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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