Duntroon School principal Bev Conlan spends her last day at
school with year 8 pupils. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
After almost a whole life spent at Duntroon School as
pupil, teacher and finally principal, Bev Conlan yesterday
treated her final year 8 pupils to a celebratory lunch, before
ending a 32-year teaching career and a 55-year association with
Mrs Conlan, who retired from teaching yesterday, first
attended Duntroon School as a 5-year-old pupil in 1957, and
although she said she did not know then that she wanted to
return as a teacher, her first day as a first-year teacher at
Duntroon School in 1971 had brought back good memories of
being a pupil herself.
''When I think back to that first day with the polished
wooden floors, the chalk blackboards and the old wooden desks
- I loved it.''
She said the major highlight of her own school days had been
a school trip to Wellington, which ''was quite a big thing
She said she had been a model pupil herself, ''most of the
After completing her first year of teaching, she spent three
years in Wellington before she returned to marry a local
She returned to teaching at Duntroon first as a relieving
teacher and then as a permanent staff member, and had been
the school principal for the past 12 years.
But whether as a pupil or teacher, she was constantly
learning from colleagues and pupils, in a ''very special''
community, she said.
''Each class is different, each child is different, so you
are continuously refining how to meet their needs better.
''We have a really strong working community here, with
teachers and parents all working together. It's a very
She said she would still look to be involved with ''something
useful'' in the community during her retirement, and added
that she could look back with a lot of satisfaction on a long
However, although she had seen a range of changes at the
school, including the introduction of computers, interactive
white boards and an astroturf playground, she said she was
most proud of the teamwork that went into making the school a
''The kind of thing that makes me proud is seeing the year 8
pupils graduate each year. It's the culmination of everyone's
hard work, and I think our team do a fabulous job.''
School board of trustees chairman Steve Fielding said Mrs
Conlan would be greatly missed.
''Mrs Conlan approaches everything with complete dedication.
She's loved and respected by the children, staff and
community and will be greatly missed.''