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Redwood principal retires after 21 years

Mar 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

GOLDEN YEARS: Pieter Braun enjoys his last days as principal. IMAGE: Talia Carlisle

STORIES will be told as Redwood School’s Pieter Braun is farewelled this week after 21 years as principal and 43 years of service to education.

“It’s quite odd being on the other side of it,” he says. “I’ve always been the one that organises functions and now it’s my one.”

Mr Braun’s first job as principal was at Redwood School when he took over from Con Coffey in 1991.

During his time at Redwood Mr Braun has seen a lot of changes, including the transition into self-government, which began in 1989.

There has also been the introduction of the Education Review system and the changes to the curriculum.

But what Mr Braun has really enjoyed is the students – he even knows the names of all 400 of them.

“Children will always surprise you,” he says. “The good or the bad, the fun we have doing activities whatever they may be, and then the downside where behaviour is questioned.”

Mr Braun moved to New Zealand from the Netherlands with his family in 1961.

His parents knew English, but at that stage he only spoke German and French.

“As a nine-year-old I only knew three phrases: Yes, no and a little bit.”

Mr Braun and his brother learnt to speak English at Renwick School in Marlborough using a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

The school even sent books to the Royal Dutch Embassy to get them translated for the siblings and Mr Braun says he is very grateful for the teachers’ innovative efforts.

Mr Braun attended Marlborough Boys’ College before heading to Wellington Teachers’ College.

He taught in Marlborough for six years and then a promotion brought him to Wellington in 1978 where he has been ever since.

The school is putting together a special farewell for Mr Braun tomorrow to celebrate his time with the school and his contribution to education.

He has been a member of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation and the New Zealand Educational Institute.

Deputy principal Sue Goodin is putting together a scrapbook of students’ comments to present to Mr Braun in the final assembly on the last day of term.

His wife Cathie is creating a slideshow to play on the night.

Special guests have been invited who have worked alongside Mr Braun during his career.

One of those is Selwyn Moore, who met Mr Braun in the 70s when Moore was former District Senior Inspector of Schools.

“He had an influence on my development as a teacher,” Mr Braun says of Moore (now in his 80s), “so it’s nice that he’s able to come. I’ll treasure his visit.”

Mr Braun will take a well-deserved break before he returns to visit the school.

“It’s been great but then my total service has been 43 years and it’s time to move on,” he says.

“I have appreciated everybody’s part in my 21 years in making this school grow and develop and become a sought after place for children to learn.”

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