With a combined teaching experience of 200 years, teachers Robert Aldridge, Ian Campbell, Peter Gilbert, Michael Groom, Garth Littlejohn, Craig Morton, Neil Muirhead and Paul Wilson were recognised at a recent school assembly, for their commitment to the teaching profession and for serving more than 20 years each at St Paul’s Collegiate School.
These eight teachers have had a significant influence in the lives of many students over their years and were thanked by the current student body through a rousing haka.
A lynchpin of St Paul’s since 1979, Peter Gilbert has been a jack-of-all trades throughout the school in his long tenure. He has pioneered a number of school initiatives which have grown throughout his time. His passion has been in outdoor education, serving as a physical education teacher and head of department for many years. He has also been a rugby coach, housemaster and assistant headmaster for periods throughout his St Paul’s life, before being made permanent assistant headmaster in 2018. The school is indebted to Mr Gilbert for his time, 40 years is a special achievement!
For 31 years Paul Wilson has been a vital component of St Paul’s staff. Initially involved in physical education, social studies and geography, throughout his tenure Mr Wilson has been involved in many aspects of education much like his good friend Mr Gilbert. He has served as assistant housemaster and housemaster of boarding houses, but is most well-known for his service to Hall house as housemaster for 14 years. He has pioneered the careers sector of the school, assisting students into fields they wish to work in.
Term 1, 1995 saw Craig Morton join as head of department for geography and social studies. Since then, his teaching has seen students excel in NCEA subjects. Mr Morton is also a talented rugby coach, and was involved with a strong 1st XV rugby team before changing his tune to develop our younger rugby players. An assistant housemaster of Williams and Sargood before taking over as housemaster of the latter, Mr Morton has always given his time to pastoral care of our students.
Michael Groom has a passion for teaching which is infectious and refreshing. Mr Groom joined the school in 1996 and since then has passed on his knowledge of English to generation after generation. Mr Groom’s passion is double, as he also holds a deep-lying love for football. He is most known by students who have played in the first XI football team as a man who encourages free-flowing skilful play, and his tutelage has seen many young men go on to professional football careers.
Ian Campbell joined St Paul’s in 1998 and has been a cornerstone of the social studies sector ever since. During his tenure, he has been a pioneer for the tourism course and has done work to improve this academic study within the school. Outside of the classroom Mr Campbell has been involved in cricket, rugby and more specifically clay target shooting. In 2009 he took a group of students to Australia to assist their learning in the sport.
Robert Aldridge came to St Paul’s in 1999, doing the majority of his service in the languages area of teaching. His experiences of the French and Japanese language are masterful for all who are educated by him. Also a keen athlete, Mr Aldridge has assisted our multisport athletes for a number of years. He has been coordinating the school’s annual Joso Gakuin Japanese School visit and also taken students learning French to New Caledonia to learn and hone their craft.
Neil Muirhead joined St Paul’s staff in term 1 of 1999 as a mathematics wiz. His knowledge in the subject saw him take on the role of Head of Department, which he shared with Gary Judkins. Mr Muirhead also took on the task of timetabling from 2003-2012. He has been a pillar of the boarding community, in both assistant housemaster and housemaster roles at Williams and Clark houses. He will take the post of School housemaster from 2020 onwards and his care in this area has been second-to-none.
Joining at the beginning of 2000, Garth Littlejohn began in the commerce and mathematics departments and has been there ever since. His wisdom in accounting and economics has seen students inspired to learn the subjects. Mr Littlejohn has been involved in cricket since he began, including putting time into the preparation of the pitches. Since leaving cricket behind in 2016, he has been teacher-in-charge of rowing and squash.
We congratulate all of these staff on these deserved recognition and prestigious certificates. We are grateful for the service they have provided to our school over the years. To have their wisdom and care for our students is truly special.