Principal ready to try something new

Wendy Brooks has spent more than four decades championing people.

Now it is is time for a new season.

Mrs Brooks, 65, is moving on from her role as principal at Cromwell Primary School and “returning home” to Mosgiel to be closer to family.

But the education stalwart is determined she is resigning – not retiring.

While there is mixed emotions, she leaves feeling proud of what she has achieved, but also with the sense the timing is right.

“One of my principal friends who retired earlier in the year, [had] someone say to her “it’s best to go out on your quarter to, not your quarter past.”

“It’s best to go when you are still invested,” she said.

“I’m just resigning – I haven’t said I’ve retired, and I think after taking a bit of time . . . I might try something else.”

Her passion for the underdog has been a trademark of her career, with a willingness to fight when needed.

In 2001, she was principal of North Taieri Primary School when it was closed in a controversial reorganisation of the sector.

“I’m a fighter, so I just fought for the underdog,” she said.

This continued through to Cromwell where she was a fierce advocate for restorative justice, firmly believing in its ability to change lives and impact communities.

In 2010, Mrs Brooks won the Otago Primary Principals’ Prestigious Awards in 2010, travelling to South Australia to shadow the states restorative justice co-ordinator for a month.

There, her passion for restorative justice was strengthened and she returned home with ideas and plans.

Taking the lead for Kahui Ako Cromwell Community of Learning – a collaboration between the town’s three schools and six early childhood centres – with a focus on wellbeing and learning engagement was also a highlight of her time in Cromwell.

Now Mrs Brooks plans to take a breath and pause, before deciding her next steps.

“We’ll do some travel once it’s safe and I’m definitely determined to lower my golf handicap.”