Reddiex bids a fond farewell

Parked outside King's High School one afternoon in 2008, Dan Reddiex was looking for something that would inspire him to apply for the rector's job there.

He was not convinced he wanted to apply.

As he watched the pupils heading for home, he saw lots in non-regulation uniform, two boys fighting, and a few others sharing a cigarette.

"I headed home and announced to my wife that I didn't think I could transform King's into the school I wanted it to be.

"As it turns out, I was 100% correct. Our school is far better than I ever imagined it would be."

Mr Reddiex recounted his initial impressions of the school during his farewell function at the Edgar Centre yesterday, attended by past and present pupils, staff and parents.

Departing King’s High School rector Dan Reddiex takes in the atmosphere after giving his final...
Departing King’s High School rector Dan Reddiex takes in the atmosphere after giving his final speech at his farewell event in the Edgar Centre yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH


Looking back on his time as rector with uncharacteristic emotion, he said he was proud of what the school had achieved.

"When I took over in 2008, it would be fair to say things were at a low ebb."

The school had 630 pupils. But within his tenure, the roll peaked at 1060.

The school became so popular, the Ministry of Education forced the board of trustees to cap the school's roll.

In 2008, there was only a handful of pupils achieving NCEA with excellence, he said.

Now there are about 170, and the school recently received 49 scholarships, making it the top performing boys' school in the South Island.

"I believe they're the most significant academic results for schools in Dunedin for the last two decades.

"King's has never been, and has not become, a school for the elite," Mr Reddiex said.

"This is a school where every young man has been encouraged, supported, cajoled and challenged to be his best, regardless of his academic ability.

"That is what King's stands for and believes in."

It was an ethos that had also impacted on the school's sporting and cultural pursuits.

Mr Reddiex told the audience he was not like Colonel Sanders and the 11 secret herbs and spices.

"I'm quite happy to share the secrets of our success.

"Why have we been so successful? There are five reasons.

"One: Explicit teaching and living of core values that have become increasingly unfashionable in our PC and liberal world.

"Two: Accountability and high expectations. That's applied to staff and students. Those words are like anathema in our age of no responsibility and all blame.

"Three: Outstanding teaching staff in terms of academic capacity, work ethic and heart. My staff love the boys as much as I do.

"Four: Support from exceptional board of trustees members that have ensured our autonomy and ability to respond to our community's needs. That's why with everything we have we must resist Bali Haque's ridiculous and retrograde educational hubs proposal.

"And finally, a deeply held belief and conviction that every boy has within him incredible potential waiting to be unlocked. That no student is of greater value or worth than any other student.

"Whether it is the head boy or the student in the lowest stream with learning difficulties who cannot write a coherent sentence, they are all valued equally.

"They are all King's men. It's not a complicated formula.''

Next term, Mr Reddiex will take up the principalship at Dilworth School, a private Anglican boys' boarding school in Auckland.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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