Haere rā Mrs Dobson

November 22, 2017 at 4:11 PM

As 2017 draws to an end, so does the long teaching career of much-loved Girls’ School Deputy Principal, Mrs Judith Dobson, as she prepares for retirement at the end of this year. A teacher for almost 50 years, with 31 of those years spent on the Remuera Road campus, Mrs Dobson leaves a legacy of exacting standards and strong female role-modelling for generations of girls.

Mrs Dobson’s dedication and love for her chosen profession has always been evident. She said, ‘For many, going to work is a necessity but for me it is a pleasure and I am blessed. The career I chose was a life-long dream and to be doing anything else was unimaginable. Prior to Corran School, I worked in low decile schools, in and outside of Auckland. Those schools are often extremely challenging, in terms of the needs and behaviour of students but it is those experiences that hone your skills as a teacher and a mentor, extending your role well beyond the classroom in the understanding of children’s academic and social needs. ‘

Mrs Dobson worked at the former Corran School for 23 years, in which time she saw many changes in both educational philosophy and leadership. A new chapter opened in 2010, with the merger of the Corran and Saint Kentigern Trust Boards, resulting in a full primary school for girls in Years 0 – 8 on the former Corran campus and later, the addition of a preschool. The Trust Board greatly appreciated Mrs Dobson's support and wise counsel during this period; it was a difficult time for all and her knowledge of the history of the organisation and her steady hand were invaluable. Reflecting on this time, Mrs Dobson said, ‘I thank the Trust Board for the faith they had in me to help implement change. Change does not always sit well with some people, and indeed, it can be mighty challenging. But for me I have enjoyed the challenges that change brings and recognise that standing still and remaining the same will not advance new thinking and ideas.’

Yesterday, to mark her retirement, the girls hosted a special assembly in Mrs Dobson’s honour, inviting the Preschool to also be part of the proceedings as they presented ‘The Tapestry of your Life.’

Former Girls’ School and now College student, Fayth Doherty, returned to pipe a surprised Mrs Dobson down the driveway lined with girls and preschoolers regally waving flags! Yes, that was Mrs Dobson’s face on every single flag!

Known for her sense of style, especially her range of outlandish stockings (green frogs on this day!), it was hard to miss the colourful leg-ware as all the staff got into the spirit of the occasion! She soon discovered the hall had also been transformed – the girls had decorated stockings that were hung gaily around the walls!

The Kapa Haka group opened the assembly with a well-rehearsed presentation, followed by the Preschool’s rendition of ‘Skinny Marinki - we love you!’ Few will forget the day the Preschoolers were given free-rein to give her a Mother’s Day makeover!

The Junior School came forward with some hilarious skits with suggestions as to where she might like to holiday in her retirement, and some part-time work she could take on to fill her days - like a ‘no wispy bits’ hairdresser, a stocking designer or parking warden on Ranui Road, to keep future parents in order!

Year 4 presented a group poem, followed by the orchestra playing two favourites, ‘Feed the Birds’ from Mary Poppins and the Muppets, ‘Rainbow Connection.’ The senior girls stepped up to sing a very spirited ‘Revolting Children’ from the musical, ‘Mathilda.’

The biggest laughs were saved for the end with a PowerPoint compiled by the girls of ‘The Many Faces of Mrs Dobson.’ From Superwoman to gracing the front of Time magazine, there was much laughter, but it was the true face at the end, of a woman filled with character that brought the most applause.

In her long career, Mrs Dobson has garnered respect not only from her colleagues but also from our families and the girls themselves who, throughout many years, have been fortunate to have benefitted from her experience and wisdom. We wish her well as she heads into her retirement years. She has already indicated that she is not one to sit still, that life is for living - and that’s what she plans to do!


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