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The 61-year-old has been a principal for 34 years, 18 of them at Kavanagh College.
Board of trustees chairman Erin Barton thanked Mr Ferris for his "tremendous contribution" to the college.
"We know that if he had not chosen to make Dunedin and Kavanagh his home, he would have been appointed to any of the largest schools in New Zealand or to a senior role with the Education Ministry.
Kavanagh College has been very fortunate to have retained his skills and dedication for such a significant period."
Earlier this year, Mr Ferris was awarded the Catholic Education Office Laureate Award for his contribution to Catholic education in Dunedin.