Education: St Mark’s school head retiring

Leaving was a hard decision to make for Catherine Rivers.

The St Mark’s Catholic School principal admits she still gets a little teary-eyed when she reflects on her decision to retire after leading the school for 17 years.

“Though I won’t miss the 15 hour workdays and the massive responsibility of having a vision and making so many decisions a day, I will miss the relationships I share with all the stakeholders including the students, staff, teachers, board of trustees, Parent Teacher Association and the community.”

She says a principal could make up to 60 decisions a day.

“That would include two to three major decisions a day,” says Rivers.

She believes the school is in a very good place after four to five years of consecutive outstanding Education Review Office reviews and top Catholic Special Character Reviews

“After 17 years it’s time to step down and hand over responsibility and the privilege to another. I think it is the right time for the school and me, both professionally and personally as our school has continued to flourish whether it is in the academic field, cultural, arts or sports.”

A former chairperson of the Howick Pakuranga Principals’ Association, as well as chairperson of the Auckland Catholic Primary Principal Association, the award-winning principal says that every principal faces a burn out in 20 years.

Catherine Rivers principal of St Mark’s School is looking forward to the next phase of her life. Times photo Wayne Martin

While she admits to having a conflict of emotions. “Sometimes I get all welled up and think I could have another two to three years in me.

“We have a lifestyle block in Whitford and started beekeeping. I plan to have a bigger vegetable garden and look after the lifestyle block.”

The plan is to travel in part of term one, two and three. “And in term four, I will reassess what I should do next,” she laughs.

“I have always enjoyed developing new opportunities for children and helping lead change where necessary for better outcomes for students.

“Though I don’t think I will take on another principal’s job, I may do something in the field of education at a later stage.”

On November 22 there will be a combined school, parish, family and colleagues farewell mass for Rivers who is moving onto a brand new chapter of her life.