Brush with death spurs life choice

Logan Park High School deputy principal Roger Tobin is leaving the school after 29 years, to take...
Logan Park High School deputy principal Roger Tobin is leaving the school after 29 years, to take up a new role next year as Otago-Southland field officer for the Post Primary Teachers' Association. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Near-death experiences have a way of making you reassess what is important in life.

For Logan Park High School deputy principal Roger Tobin, finding new challenges in life has been bumped up his list of priorities.

It was a discovery the 54-year-old made in the months after he suffered a serious brain haemorrhage in 2010.

So, after 29 years at the school, he is leaving to tackle new challenges as the Otago-Southland field officer for the Post Primary Teachers' Association.

''You re-evaluate your life when you come close to death.

''You learn that every day above ground is a good day.

''It's time for a change.

''This opportunity came up and it was too much to resist.''

However, he was adamant the new position was not a move towards early retirement.

''This is not pre-retirement - it's not a cushy number.''

Mr Tobin has been a mathematics teacher at the secondary school for the past 29 years, head of the mathematics department for four years and deputy principal for the past 14 years.

He was also New Zealand PPTA president from 1994-95, a Teachers' Council member from 2000-01 and New Zealand PPTA collective agreements negotiator for most of the 1990s, and has been on the University of Otago Council for the past six years.

Mr Tobin said Logan Park High School was the first and only secondary school he had taught at, because he had never felt the urge to go to another school.

''I love this place.

''I will miss the people most - the staff, the students and the parents.

''We have an amazing culture which celebrates diversity, and it is really these relationships at the school that are at the heart of teaching and learning.

''I'm going to miss the maths too. It's been a great privilege to teach it to so many students over the years.

''There is a life about this school which is an enormous part of my life.

''It will be sad to leave.''

The only consolation was that he was looking forward to being part of a new team and creating a new dynamic, Mr Tobin said.

''That's some compensation for leaving here.

''The greatest part of the job is that I will still be able to make a great contribution to the education profession.''

Logan Park High School principal Jane Johnson said Mr Tobin was greatly appreciated by staff, the board and pupils for his oratory, mihi whakatau skills in Maori, strategic thinking in all matters, curriculum and assessment knowledge, senior school leadership, wit in assemblies and his short and sharp reminders to pupils on school values.

''Above all, Roger is egalitarian and democratic in his practice, processes and interaction - a great team man.

''His departure will be a big rift for Roger, staff and students at Logan Park High School,'' she said.

An official public farewell will be held for Mr Tobin at Logan Park High School on January 31.


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