St. John’s College is sad to be losing its principal Rob Ferreira who has taken up a new role as Rector of St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
The outgoing principal says he will miss the students and staff but is looking forward to what new opportunities lie ahead.
“The opportunity to take the helm of a school like St Patrick's Silverstream does not come up too often. So, I thought it would be an interesting challenge and decided I’d apply and see how things panned out.”
He says the new position will be different, as the school, which is located in Silverstream, Upper Hutt, is bigger and has boarding facilities.
Mr Ferreira was appointed principal of St. John’s College at the end of 2019, having previously been Deputy Principal of Curriculum, and taught Chemistry and Science since he began five years ago.
“I’ve always believed it doesn’t matter what position you hold in the school, you’re in this job because of one group of people and that’s the students, so as long as what you’re doing is of benefit to them then you’re on the right track.”
St. John’s College is the first Catholic school Mr Ferreira has worked for, and he has enjoyed being able to practice his faith at school.
“It certainly is different, and it has made a difference to me in terms of my personal faith journey. The culture of the school is different to being in that of a secular school.”
Mr Ferreira says he will “certainly” miss the students, staff, and wider community but believes it is in good stead going forward.
“The school punches well above its weight in terms of academics and sporting and cultural activities. I am constantly amazed at the results that we get on all of those fronts.”
He believes the school’s success is a testament to the staff’s dedication and ability to go above and beyond what is expected, whether it be in the classroom, on the sports field or in the garden.
“The way in which staff are involved in co-curricular activities is great. Certainly, my last two years as a rugby coach have been very enjoyable because I have been able to be part of teams where there’s been a lot of talent amongst the students.”
He is also proud of the strong bond that has developed between sister school Sacred Heart College, with principal Maria Neville-Foster.
“There’s been a determined effort by both schools and certainly by Maria and I to make sure the community sees us as a brother and sister school that works closely together.”
At his new school, he plans to use his same philosophy.
“Teaching is all about relationships, so it is really about getting to know the community and students and understanding their traditions and their processes. And ultimately you are looking at teaching and learning programmes and whether those are the best fit for the students.”
An assembly was held for Mr Ferreira in the last week of Term 1 where the Year 13 students performed an impromptu but moving haka.
His wife Marja Ferreira, who currently teaches at Sacred Heart College, will join him in Upper Hutt at the end of the year.
Board Chair Tessa Barrett says they are very sad to be losing Rob but sincerely wish him and Marja every happiness as they move on to the next chapter in their lives.
“Rob has been instrumental in establishing and strengthening many relationships with our school and the wider community. He has led by example as the principal and an authentic Faith Leader of our College.”
Mrs Barret says Mr Ferreira, who started as principal six weeks before the pandemic hit New Zealand in 2020, has shown “great resilience and adaptability in riding the constantly changing waves of the past two years”.
“St Patrick's College, Silverstream is truly blessed to be getting Rob and Marja.”
The Board has appointed Willy Kirsten as Acting Principal for Term 2.
Mr Kirsten has a strong background in boys’ education, Special Character, and Integrated Schools and was Deputy Rector at Palmerston North High School when Mr Ferreira was Head of Science.
He was previously principal of Rathkeale College from 2008 to 2018 before he retired back to Hawke’s Bay where he was most recently Acting Principal at Reignier for two terms last year.
Mrs Barret says they are confident they will be in a position to short-list candidates and commence interviewing in the next two weeks.
“Given the small pool a Catholic school has to draw from when seeking a principal, we are privileged and blessed to be receiving considerable interest and some wonderfully strong applications for the position.”