Sally Direen (life membership), Whetu Cormack (president),
and Richard Newton (life membership and Richo prestigious
award) at the annual meeting of the Otago Primary
Principals' Association yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Otago primary principals Sally Direen and Richard Newton
were honoured yesterday for their collective 44 years of
leadership in schools
The pair each received life membership of the Otago Primary
Principals' Association at its annual meeting in Dunedin
Mrs Direen, principal of Balaclava School, has been one for
20 years and was credited by fellow principal Tony Hunter as
being at the "forefront of education for many years".
"She is the OPPA's answer to Speight's perfect woman," he
The praise from Mr Hunter left Mrs Direen "speechless" for a
"It's an absolute privilege - we're here for the kids - the
kids are what it's all about."
Mr Newton, a principal for 24 years - including 13 years at
St Clair School - was also awarded the association's Ricoh
"It's quite overwhelming. It's such a complex and challenging
job but I can't think of anything else I'd want to do," Mr
He will spend three weeks next year visiting the United
Kingdom to investigate children's understanding of their
learning and the role of "innovative space" in learning.
The trip would build on work the school was already doing,
especially concerning the school's own "unique and
Bathgate Park School principal Whetu Cormick was named
He said there would be some challenges to face in the coming
year regarding the association's responses to the Ministry of
Education and policy direction, as well as supporting schools
to meet the priorities set.