Leaving Staff 2019

Picture of Ella Mitchell
Leaving Staff 2019
by Ella Mitchell - Friday, 13 December 2019, 12:32 PM


Mrs. Wagstaff joined our staff at the beginning of the 2019 school year.  She has a varied background in Learning Support, ESOL and RTLB roles and was able to effectively use her experience to support young men who required additional support to assist their learning.  Mrs. Wagstaff took responsibility for school table tennis while she was here.  She is moving into a leadership role in the local RTLB cluster and we wish her all the best for this next step in her career.

Mrs. Power joined us in April 2018 in a fixed term position as a teacher of English.  We were extremely fortunate to be able to employ a suitably qualified teacher at that time of the year.  Mrs. Power has enthusiastically involved herself in school life and we wish her all the best for the next steps in her teaching career.

Mrs. Norman began her time with us in January 2018, initially in the English department.  However, a change of staffing in the Commerce Department resulted in an enormous hole that needed to be filled, which she was keen to attempt to do.  Mrs. Norman has consistently demonstrated a genuine care and concern for young men’s welfare and has supported the school co-curricular programme.  We wish her all the best for the next steps in her life and teaching career as she moves to the Hawke’s Bay.

Mr. Forbes joined the PNBHS staff in as a Mathematics teacher at the beginning of the 2013 school year.  As well as having a passion for Mathematics that is peculiar to teachers of the subject, he has taken responsibility for the school timetable, a significant role that requires many hours of work at nighttime, weekends and over the summer holiday break.  Mr. Forbes has been a significant contributor to the school co-curricular programme as the manager of the Premier A Tennis team, coach of the 2nd XI Football team and this year as the assistant coach of the 1st XI Football team.  Mr. Forbes is taking a year’s leave in 2020 and we wish him all the best for this.

Mrs. Burgess was appointed to a teaching position in the English Department in January 2013.  It was immediately apparent that she was incredibly hard working, willing to try new approaches in her teaching in order to meet the needs of the young men in her classes and very strongly supportive of the Palmerston North Boys’ High School ethos and expectations of young men.  Mrs. Burgess’ subject expertise was recognised when she was given responsibility for overseeing the Year 9 English programme in 2014.  Mrs. Burgess has supported our co-curricular programme through her involvement in touch, basketball and tennis, as well as organising the Year 9 Speech competition and teams for the junior Spelling Bee competition.  We wish her all the best as she continues her career with the Central Regional Health School.

Mr. Halford joined the PNBHS Technology Department in January 2000 as a teacher of Graphics and Woodwork and was appointed to the position of Head of Department in February 2006, a role he held until the end of the 2018 school year.  In this position Mr. Halford has overseen significant change in teaching programmes as Graphics has evolved and been rebranded as DVC – Design and Visual Communication.  This involved a complete change in both the subject content and the associated skills required of teachers.  Mr. Halford has worked in a mentoring capacity with many of the staff in the Technology Department in order to upskill them to teach DVC.  He is passionate about passive solar design – using the sun to heat and cool homes – something he has passed on to his students.  Mr. Halford’s verbal Department Reports to the Board of trustees were legendary for their thoroughness, something that was appreciated by the Board members.  Mr. Halford supported the school co-curricular programme through his involvement in cycling.  We wish Mr. Halford all the best for his retirement.


A Farewell to Mr. Paul "Potts" Pottinger

Mr. Paul Pottinger (Potts) has completed two stints as the PNBHS Guidance Counsellor.  Firstly, as the successor to the school's first Counsellor, John Whyte, between 1987-93 and more recently between 2016-2019.  Mr. Pottinger will remember his first home visit in this role when a dog attacked him on a very sensitive part of his body.

Mr. Pottinger is a special person and is ideally suited for such a critical role within the school.  The liaison he has provided between senior staff, Deans, teachers, students and all sectors of the school's community is unique.  Mr. Pottinger has a style all of his own and an empathy that encourages trust and confidence in students and others with whom he is associated.

He is an amazing advocate for the young men he encounters and has strategies that are made 'simple' for them to understand and utilise.  His manner is welcoming and non-threatening and he has the ability to relate to young men from all walks of life.  He is a willing mentor to Deans and is always available to share ideas, or things which have worked for him in the past.  This approach has been much appreciated.

Mr. Pottinger’s contribution to the co-curricular aspect of school life has also been immense.  He has had an extensive involvement in rugby.  This includes coaching Fourth Grade A and the Third XV.  Many will remember the 'titanic battles' with the Fourth XV.  With Mr. Matene Love, he took the Colts to the first National Invitational Tournament in 1989.  The following year he attended with Mr. Joe Schmidt (taught him everything he knows).  He continues to be a mentor to many coaches and players.  Mr. Pottinger’s coaching CV also includes being selector/coach of Hurricanes Schools, NZ Schools, Wairarapa-Bush and taking Greytown to a Senior Club Championship.  More recently, he has coached the school's Under 15B team and this year introduced the Under 65kg internal school grade with its innovative rules and entertaining refereeing, which also included a commentary.

The school's historical 'Cake League' Cricket competition was established by Mr. Pottinger and the cake for the winning team was baked by his wife Beth.

Mr. Pottinger also embraced the school's Shand Shield competition, guiding Albion from 1988-92.  This included a Shand Shield win in 1991, even providing invaluable leadership when on crutches, following a rupture of his achilles tendon.  In the history of the Shand Shield Mr. Pottinger will forever be remembered for his ability to recruit boys into Albion whose fathers had been in other clubs.  His successor, Mr. Ross Gard, continued this Albion tradition.

Mr. Pottinger, with Mr. Love and Mrs. Rachel Wenham, were responsible for the 'Golden Boys' Year 10 Outdoor Education Camp to Pohangina Valley.  His flowery lycra homemade togs were a camp favourite.  A highlight of the camp, other than the entertainment provided by the staff, was the famous mud wrestling in which the staff were often the winners.

Mr. Pottinger’s cheeky humour and pranks are legendary and his empathy for others, willingness to be involved in all aspects of school life, the support he has offered to many of his colleagues and the genuine relationships he has formed have made him both popular and widely respected amongst his colleagues throughout his career.

We thank Mr. Pottinger for his long service and invaluable contributions in all aspects of school life at PNBHS.  We wish him all the best as he retires into his new home in Masterton with his wife Beth.  Further rugby challenges, his love of race horses (he has some good oil on the nags... and some average ones too!!!), and the lure of the bowling green will keep him busy.


Mr. Welch began teaching at Palmerston North Boys’ High School in January 2004. From the outset as Teacher in Charge of Mechanics it was evident that he was a highly capable teacher and an exceptionally skilled and gifted metal machinist.  Mr. Welch has high expectations of everyone who enters his workshop, from both a health and safety and work output and quality perspective, and this is evident each year in the high quality of student projects.

The Head of Technology, Mr. Fogarty made these comments about Mr. Welch’s contribution to the Technology department:

“During his time at school he has been pivotal in the development of the Mechanics programme and facility. His expertise has seen the facilities used as a beacon for other schools around the country to aspire to. Mr. Welch has taken immense pride in the continual development of the programme to meet the needs of students and industry. This is never more evident than the end of the year where he would often be found riding minibikes with his senior Mechanics class. During his time at school he has provided a pathway for students to progress to Year 13 where previously the course would finish at Year 12. In addition to Mechanics, Mr. Welch has also developed a junior Electronics course and Senior Technical drawing course.

Organisation has always been one of his strengths and one that I have tried to replicate. Whether it be department resources or annual departmental report, Mr. Welch could always be relied upon to have the document completed to the highest standard well in advance.

On a personal note I would like to thank Mr. Welch for his unwavering support and honesty. As a new Head of Department, I have found him to be an extremely supportive and dedicated friend and colleague. When faced with a challenging matter I would often wander to the Mechanics room to seek guidance from him.”

Mr. Welch has been fully involved in school life and has made valuable contributions to both cultural and sporting co-curricular activities as the drum squad tutor and with coaching and managing smallbore shooting and hockey teams.

Mrs. Dearlove, PNBHS Arts Co-ordinator, made these comments in relation to Mr. Welch’s contribution to PNBHS Music:

“Mr. Welch is extremely organised and committed to his work with the Drum Squad.  They have become a stalwart group in the department thanks to his expertise.  Mr. Welch has specialist knowledge and has used this to be very innovative with the group’s performances.  The Drum Squad performances have become a real highlight of both the music roadshow and the annual School Concert.”

We thank Mr. Welch for his contribution to Palmerston North Boys’ High School and the young men and staff of the school.  We wish him well for his move to the warmer Northland climate.