An electrician-turned-fireman-turned teacher is now taking on a new challenge as principal of Queenstown’s smallest school.
Monday marked Mike Stanley’s first day in the top job at KingsView School in Frankton.
“It’s a bit confusing,” he laughs, pointing out that half the school’s away on a ski trip and he’s doubling as receptionist for the day.
He’s excited about the challenges of being a first-time principal, and growing the school’s roll.
It currently sits at 52 pupils – he’d like to see that upped to between 75 and 80.
It’s a big task, but the 56-year-old’s no stranger to tackling a new challenge.
He started his working life as an electrician at his family’s business in Dunedin.
An arson at the business sparked a new career as a professional firefighter in Wellington and, later, Invercargill.
After two decades and all three sons ready to move out of home, he decided to try a new career path.
“I thought long and hard about what the future was for me.”
He studied part-time at the University of Otago College of Education Invercargill campus while still working as a fire fighter, graduating as a teacher in 2008.
After a stint at Otatara School, he and his wife headed overseas to teach in international schools in South Korea and Vietnam.
They returned to Aotearoa and settled in Queenstown two years ago, with Stanley setting up his own handyman business for a year before deciding he wanted to return to teaching.
After a short spell at Shotover Primary School, he’s taken the opportunity to become a first-time principal.
“I’m starting another adventure,” he says.