Farewell and Thank You!

NEWS / 31 May 2024

Farewell and Thank You!

I have been blessed by a patron body unafraid to make brave decisions, to reimagine a future which would celebrate diversity, inclusion, quality, and innovation rooted in our unique history and legacy. I want to thank them for putting their faith in me and entrusting me with such a great responsibility. I hope I have done them and the school proud.

And by my colleagues, past and present, who are so passionate about their teaching and their learning and about our students’ welfare and set such high standards.

And by our students – an eclectic group of young people who I loved – and their parents who placed their trust in us.

When I started on this journey 25 years ago, I was full of trepidation, but I did know what I wanted for Stratford. To paraphrase poet Yehuda Amichai, I wanted to throw the windows of this school open to the future.

Students taught me patience and resilience and my colleagues, friends, and I, have been on a deeper, more profound journey, one of learning, of friendship, and of discovery as together we threw open the windows of this truly special school, a school for which I am bursting with pride.

Over the course of my Principalship effective school leadership has moved from high expectations, a safe orderly environment, a focus on instruction, a clear shared vision to one which is now characterized by positive community relationships, equitable, holistic student outcomes, a culture of teacher and student agency and co- designed teaching and learning.

I hope that I have shepherded the school in that direction while being the proud steward of its unique heritage.

Retirement is a word that sounds both exciting and daunting and I have very mixed feelings as I begin to leave a school that I love. I'll always carry a piece of it in my heart. It has been a home away from home for the last 25 years.

I’m not finished yet! We are chasing grant applications for improvements to our building and are engaged in recruitment and timetabling for the year ahead. The State Exams commence next week with results to follow in August. And I will continue in my representative roles on national educational curriculum and management bodies.

Finally, I want to warmly welcome Mr Nathan Barrett to our school as he prepares to take up his new role as Principal this Autumn. He is very much looking forward to meeting you all and getting to know our wonderful community over the coming months. I know you will make him feel welcome.

So, as I embark on this new chapter of my life, I want to thank each one of you for being a part of my story.

In the words attributed to AA Milne

                      How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard
. Winnie the Pooh.

Patricia Gordon

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