St James principal is moving on
THE founding principal of St James Primary Yamba will farewell the school next Friday in his 14th year at the helm.
Paul Edgar’s decision to take up the offer of a new challenge in the religious education and faith services department of the catholic education office in Lismore will end his 38-year role as a school teacher – a role that has seen Paul as the principal of schools in Adelaide, Macksville, Narromine and Yamba over 32 years.
“I was just 28 years old when I was first appointed as principal of a school,” Paul said.
In 1997, St James was completed after a parcel of land was donated by the Dougherty Bros and the need for a catholic school in Yamba was fulfilled.
Paul appointed his staff, some of whom still teach at the school, and 96 children started in the first year, with enrolment growing year by year.
“There is still more land to accommodate further growth,” Paul said.
“After 38 years it’s great to be given the opportunity for a new challenge.”
Paul’s experience will be put to use as an educator of teachers and parent groups in the diocese of Lismore and will involve more time with a ‘car, mobile phone and laptop’, different to the playground duty he has been accustomed to at St James.
And it is those hours spent in the playground that have allowed Paul to relate to his pupils and find out what their interests are outside the classroom.
“I know each child by their first name and have always tried to engage with them on another level, rather than just being their principal,” he said.
He said his aim as principal had been to make children feel safe and happy at school. He always had something positive to say and gave praise for honesty.
“I’ll miss being around the kids and the camaraderie of working with staff and parents,” Paul said.
“They are a great bunch of kids, they are amazingly honest and care for each other.
“There’s never a day when I think I don’t want to go to school.
“Even the relief teachers say that when they come to the school they can ‘teach’ all day and not have to ‘manage’ the kids.”
The school’s assistant principal, Christine Jeffrey, will move into the role of acting principal for the rest of the year and the position will be advertised Australia-wide at the end of the year.
A mass will be held at the school next Friday at 10am and the community is invited.