When Guy Johnstone (Sargood 1990-1994) left his high school boarding home in the early nineties, he didn’t think he’d be back. Fast-forward 25 years, and he’s been appointed the new housemaster of Sargood House.
Taking over from fellow Sargood Collegian, Ryan McCarthy (1993-1997), Guy is excited to be back living and working onsite as both housemaster and maths teacher. “When I saw the position come up, I knew how much of a commitment it would be, it’s certainly not a decision you go into lightly.”
“But after talking with various people, what really piqued my interest was the real sense of community here. I was also drawn by the family side of it – that we (my wife and daughters) could all live here as a family.”
Guy has fond memories of his student years at St Paul’s, “it is the characters of the school – the Mike Shaws and the Pat Plants – the teaching side, as well as the students. This unique sense of character is a really special part of the school.”
After leaving St Paul’s, Guy worked for a year as a tutor at Tihoi. For him, the Tihoi experience had brought out a passion for the outdoors and sports such as kayaking and snowboarding. “I grew up on a farm in Whatawhata, so Tihoi was a nice match for my love of the outdoors.”
Going on to gain a Bachelor of Sport Science at the University of Auckland and his teaching degree from the University of Canterbury, Guy returned to work at Tihoi (2000-2002) as a maths teacher and outdoor instructor. “Teaching wasn’t a possibility for me initially, I was more into the outdoor/sport side of things however, at Tihoi I could combine both of these professions in an environment which I loved.”
“Tihoi is a special place, the staff have a strong influence on what happens there and I wanted to be part of that. I’ve also been able to travel the world working in the outdoors using the skills I developed at Tihoi.”
From working for Hillary Outdoors (then known as OPC) to instructing in Canada, Guy’s outdoor career flourished. “These were dream jobs – guiding groups through the Rockies or down a river in Jasper, trekking and climbing through some of the most amazing places, the whole time thinking – I’m getting paid for this!”
On his return to New Zealand, Guy taught briefly at Mt Maunganui College and Waitaki Boys before relocating back to the Waikato where he took on the role of Head of Outdoor Education and maths teacher at Hamilton Boys’ High School – a role he held for ten years, during which time he met his wife and they had two daughters.
While the outdoors and mathematics might not seem like they go hand in hand, as a teacher, Guy excels in both. “In my degree there was a maths component and over the years this is something I have continued to build on. I think it’s really important for boys to see you can do more than just one type of thing.”
Now settled into his Sargood residence, Guy is looking forward to continuing to grow the bond that lives within the house. “The boys are so passionate about their house, but the brotherhood goes deeper than just their peers living in the house right now. I’m keen to keep reinforcing to them that their dads, uncles, people they don’t know who have come before them, are all joined by Sargood. It’s quite powerful getting them to realise and link to that.”
“It’s also great to take over from Ryan and work alongside Michael Rameka (Williams 1997-1999) as deputy housemaster – we were all once St Paul’s boarders and we’re all passionate about Sargood House.”