Hayley and Gareth Sinton with their son Henry, who is almost 2 years-old. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

By Chelsea Boyle

chelsea.boyle@age.co.nz

Douglas Park School has given Gareth Sinton a lot to smile about over the years.

It was the place he started his career, met his wife Hayley, and now at just 35 years of age he gets to take the reins as the school’s new principal.

“I know every nook and cranny of the school,” he said.

“I know every staff member and child.

“I felt I was the right person to step in and help lead the school forward.”

Mr Sinton started as a teacher at the school in 2004, then briefly left to teach in London for a year but could not resist coming back to the Cole St school.

He had been a part of the senior leadership team for the past nine years, and credits his predecessor Dick Brown as “an amazing mentor”.

Putting himself forward for the role felt like a natural step for Mr Sinton, who had recently completed an aspiring principals course.

Board of Trustees chairman Brett Cockeram said there were four top notch candidates but Mr Sinton stood out.

“Gareth really impressed us with his intelligence and knowledge of the school and schooling system as a whole.

“He had a really clear vision of where he wanted to go.”

Over the years Mr Sinton had been an integral part of developing the school’s values, Mr Cockeram said.

“One of the things that grabbed us really quickly was his ability to look outside of education for tools that might be useful, and applying that back into the school.

“It showed a great depth of knowledge and work.”

The board had complete faith in their young principal, Mr Cockeram said.

Mrs Sinton, who teaches part time at the school, said she was stoked to see her husband take up the top role.

“I am so proud of Gareth and all his hard-work.

“We never thought it was a given.”

The couple said they had received lots of “supportive comments” from parents with children at the school about the appointment.

About 400 pupils attend Douglas Park School, and the couple joke that their young son Henry will join them soon enough.

After all it’s hard to imagine taking him anywhere else.