New Finley principal

By Southern Riverina News

Finley High School has announced Jeff Ward as its new principal to start in term four.

Mr Ward will replace former principal Helen McRae, whose role is being filled by acting principal Patricia Jackson after Mrs McRae’s departure at the end of term one.

Mr Ward is currently the principal at Condobolin High School, a position he has held for the past three years.

The 49 year-old said he is looking forward to starting at the school and knows the Finley area well. He grew up on a farm in the Blighty area.

‘‘Mum and dad moved into Deniliquin about two years ago,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve always wanted to come back home eventually, so Deniliquin or Finley were the perfect locations - it was just a case of whichever job came up first.

‘‘I remember as a boy playing football against the Cats, playing cricket at the oval for Murray Valley and I think I bought my first car from the Riverina Garage.

‘‘I’ve sat in the bakery many times and have been to local establishments on many occasions.’’

Mr Ward has more than 20 years’ teaching experience including time as deputy principal at Crookwell and as a head teacher at Chatswood High School in Sydney.

He said he’s researched information on Finley High School and is looking forward to leading it.

‘‘When I first arrive it will be just seeing where the school is up to; Helen McRae has left it in a really good place.

‘‘I’ll then focus on what I can bring to the school.

‘‘Condobolin High School has an established show team and I know Finley has a really established agriculture department. They have an excellent dairy farming show team and regular show team that produce good results.’’

Mr Ward said ‘‘the context’’ between Finley and Condobolin is different.

‘‘Many of the students who attend Finley come from the established little towns like Jerilderie, Tocumwal and Berrigan.

‘‘The farms in the district are smaller compared to those in the Condobolin area which are massive.

‘‘The success I’ve had at Condobolin has been about community. School is about knowing your community, being involved with your community and living in the community.

‘‘The local Condobolin mayor said to me that when the school is going well then the town is going well, and I think that will be reflective of Finley.

‘‘The school can bring people to the town, and if it’s successful young people are not going away to private schools.’’

Looking ahead, the new principal is planning to establish a strong relationship with acting principal Mrs Jackson.

‘‘We’re plan to meet during the next school holidays to have a really good chat,’’ he said.

‘‘I need her to have the opportunity to lead the school so I’m keeping my distance for now.

‘‘Once third term has started I’ll start to shift my focus a lot more closer to Finley by finding out what’s happening as I transition into the school.’’