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It has been a whirlwind start for Cromwell Primary School’s new principal, but the now-Central Otago local is relishing the change.

Former deputy principal at St Clair Primary School in Dunedin, Matt McCormick stepped into the role with a raft of leadership experience, having also spent four years as associate principal at Musselburgh Primary, also in Dunedin.

While starting any new role brings challenges and change, the past two months have seen him move to Cromwell, marry his wife Sophie and navigate a new school of staff, families and pupils.

The couple both grew up holidaying in Clyde and Wanaka and always planned to move to the region “someday”, Mr McCormick said.

However, the opportunity came sooner than expected and he was “extremely grateful”.

“It’s a pretty fantastic role,” he said.

Starting the school year in the Red setting had not been the plan, but he felt “quite blessed” despite the Covid-19 situation, Mr McCormick said.

The school community had responded to Covid requirements with a can-do attitude and teachers were incredibly adaptable, he said.

“I have a really supportive teaching team, teaching and learning assistants, administration and board of trustees me feel really welcome in Cromwell and in the school community,” he said.

Getting to know staff, pupils and their families was his initial focus for the start of the year.

“My main focus with this term is building the relational trust community I’m keen to connect myself into.

“I’m quite a relational person so it’s important I just connect with people in the community.

“I feel as though we’ve been here a lot longer than a couple of months so welcoming.”