My sincerest thanks to staff, students and parents for the wonderful  send off.  So much has been said over the past few weeks at a range  of different events.  I have been extremely flattered, grateful and honoured to receive such lovely words and wishes from so many of you.

I have  loved every minute of my 14 years at Woodend and, yes, I feel I have left my mark. I am very proud of that. However,  I must  say,  I have always had the energy to be involved in so many things  because of the wonderful team efforts that characterise this school.  Ideas are one thing, however, shaping them and making them happen is so much dependent on lots of people working together and thinking together.

I have been very fortunate to have a fantastic team of  staff  to work with here at Woodend.  They have always been up for a challenge and  always been willing to  explore new learning, to initiate improvements and to influence each other. On top of  being  great colleagues they are also wonderful people.  Likewise parents have been very generous with their time and expertise and have increasingly been willing to explore new ways of taking the lead in their own learning. I love the energy, commitment and expertise that our parent groups are demonstrating in their engagement at our school. And it has been a joy to work with our lovely students.  It is such a thrill being curious about the world and exploring learning together, every day.   It has been particularly satisfying for me to see the personal growth in students as they better understand themselves as learners and develop a stronger voice about their own learning needs.

I  do wish to thank those who contributed to the wonderful gift (pictured)from the parent community, presented to me at the Christmas Event.   I will install that beautiful artwork in a special space in my  garden and it will be a treasured reminder of you all.

During this year I have found it so hard to say  goodbye to Woodend, because of  the wonderful people here.  I will miss the  smiling faces of our students, sharing the daily learning journey.  School is such a wonderful vibrant space, full of creativity and uncertainty, and we have so many parents, students and staff who love the learning adventure that school allows us to share…

If one moment of my farewells was overwhelmingly emotional for me it was the surprise I had on Wednesday 14 December when I was corralled onto the oval to find the whole school gathered, waiting for me.  All students had used a photocopy of my face and from that had created  a drawing of me doing something they thought I could be doing in retirement .

To see all that creativity and enthusiasm was an amazing memory for me: a dream of everyday creativity, come true. In  the coming years I will attempt to meet the students’ challenge and do many of the things on those drawings! I will need to be superfit to do half of them, but I do love the confidence students showed in me!!

I have alway felt it has been a privilege and an honour to be a principal  and I must thank you all for helping make my last 14 years so enjoyable, worthwhile  and engrossing.  I will miss you all.

I am  looking forward to lots of new learning  and to spending more time (in a less scheduled life) with family, friends and my other passions and interests. However, there will always be a special place in my heart for Woodend  Primary School and  the people of this school community.