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Mrs Forbes has accepted a new position with the Ministry of Education in Dunedin, as a learning support manager for Otago and Southland.
She will be working with staff across the region, to provide learning support to preschool, primary school and secondary school pupils with ''additional needs''.
''The work that I'm going to is very close to my heart - helping very high-needs students.
''It was an opportunity that came up and it was too good to turn down.''
After working in secondary schools across the country for 35 years, it would be difficult to leave - particularly Bayfield High School, she said.
''It's a big wrench. Principals put their heart and soul into their school.
''It will be super sad to not have day-to-day contact with so many people at the coalface.''
Mrs Forbes said her decision to take the new job was made easier when she was asked if she wanted to make a difference to the lives of 550 pupils each year, or tens of thousands of pupils each year.
''That made it easier for me to leave, but it's still emotionally very difficult.''
Her decision was partly motivated by the fact the school was about to begin a $5million development project, which included a new support centre for high-needs learners, an upgrade to the food technology and visual arts departments, and completion of the new gymnasium.
She said every principal aimed to leave their school in a better place.
''Bayfield is in a really good place. We've managed to get the school in a place where the systems are all running really well, and the roll is increasing.
''So it's quite a good time for somebody new to come on board.''
Mrs Forbes will leave the school in mid-November. The deputy principal will act as principal until a new principal takes over at the start of term 1 next year.