Recently-appointed High School Principal Peter King is about to go where no man has ever gone before, in Griffith at least.
Mr King was appointed Executive Principal of Griffith’s new public high school back in October last year, following the announcement of the merger of Griffith and Wade High Schools.
While he’s aware of the big job ahead, Mr King says he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m a passionate educator. This is a completely unique model. We’re breaking new ground in education. For me, it’s a huge opportunity.”
Over the next 12 months, Mr King will work with the existing principals, staff and school communities to design and implement plans for the school’s future.
“I have all of 2018 to put in place the structures for the two sites. Our name should be decided very soon,” he said.
“After that, it’s the matter of aligning the structure, pedagogy and leadership in both sites. A big priority for me is defining and outlining the learning culture in both the schools.”
While some community members have raised concerns, Mr King said the transition will be collaborative.
“We never do things to people, we want to do things with people,” he said.
When asked whether or not students will have to travel between sites for classes, he said different options were still being considered.
“The sites will still continue to provide extensive curriculum of their own. Most students will still maintain the core of their education at one site,” he said.
“Decisions for the 2019 school year will be in the middle of this year. We plan our curriculum six months in advance.”
He’s also looking forward to seeing the sporting and performing arts opportunities coming from the two schools.
Investment and funding from the NSW government also opens a few doors. He says it brings the opportunity for new, state-of-the-art learning spaces.
“We’ve got a $25 million build, the ability to maintain and attract some of the best staff ... and the ability to build a new structure in these two sites that don’t exist anywhere else in NSW.”
While he spent the last eight years as Principal of Byron Bay High School, Mr King is no stranger to the area.
He taught at Hillston Central School between 1990 – 1991 and was Principal of Ungarie Central School from 1997 – 2000.
He says the return to Griffith and the Riverina feels like a bit of a homecoming.
“It’s a joy coming back to Griffith. It’s almost like coming home. I’ve still got a few great friends here,” he said.