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Maurice Jackways (known as Maurie) is taking over from Bruce Cowan, who resigned last September after nearly 14 years.
Mr Jackways (63), who resigned as principal of Mount Aspiring College in 2008 after spending a year on secondment at University of Otago mentoring first-time principals, has most recently been working as principal of Ormiston Senior College in Auckland, which was founded in 2011.
He headed planning, design and development of the new school, which caters for year 11 to 13 pupils.
Mr Jackways said he was taking on the role because he was ready for ''a new challenge'' and wanted to return to Otago - the region he and wife Sally called home.
''I definitely would like to stay there long enough ... to make a positive impact, not just at Salmond, but in the wider university residential [college] scene,'' he said.
Chairman of the Commission for Knox College and Salmond College Dr John Kernohan said it was pleased to announce Mr Jackways' appointment to the position.
''We look forward to welcoming Maurice as he takes up his position with us early [this year] and moving into the Salmond Lodge with his wife Sally,'' Dr Kernohan said.
Salmond College accommodates 243 students studying at the Otago University and Otago Polytechnic and is owned and operated by the Presbyterian Church.