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Jamin Lietze has spent eight years as the principal of Myross Bush School, just outside Invercargill, and next year he will be the head of primary school at Genesis Christian College in Brisbane, Australia.
The role will mean Mr Lietze will go from having about 185 pupils to about 770 pupils under his leadership.
Mr Lietze said it was an important step for him to take for his career development and his family.
"It is a true mix of emotions. There’s some good people here and it’s been a good journey.
"The school’s been a strong place but equally it’s an exciting opportunity for me and my family," he said.
Mr Lietze said being a teacher or a principal was a privilege; however, it was not seen as an aspirational position and, as a result, there were low staffing numbers in New Zealand.
"There are high learning needs that need better resourcing so they don’t fall on the teacher or the school to try and carry."
Too many challenges with too few successes were leading to teachers experiencing burnout, he said.
"It’s like having more plates and balls for teachers to juggle when there’s more students in a class and they have emotional and physical challenges.
"Physical challenges get taken care of because they’re obvious. It’s emotional challenges like anger management that can be exhausting on a teacher and a student," Mr Lietze said.
Mr Lietze has also been the chairman of the Invercargill Primary Principals’ Association for the past four years and has been involved with the ChatBus South Trust, a service that provides counselling at five Southland schools.
He said he was proud of where he was leaving Myross Bush School after eight years at its helm.
The school had a high attendance rate because of its great physical environment as well as a positive emotional environment, he said.