“Only time will provide the full judgement of Dan Reddiex’s tenure as rector of King’s High School, but it can be said with confidence that his successor has big shoes to fill.
In the best traditions of “The Man”, immortal Waitaki Boys’ High School educationalist Frank Milner, or of Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of his beloved Liverpool Football Club, Mr Reddiex has been the king of King’s in his decade in the top role.
Passionate, dedicated and highly motivated to inspire the best from his pupils, he worked tirelessly to lift the Dunedin school’s cultural and academic performance.
His approach was one of pastoral care, of instilling values into his boys with the intention they would be taken into the wider world. But he also pursued high standards of old-fashioned discipline and respect, such major elements of traditional New Zealand state boys’ schools.
King’s, established some 50 years after rivals like Otago Boys’ High School and Waitaki Boys’, suffered from something of a younger-brother mentality at the time Mr Reddiex, himself a former member of staff at Otago Boys’, assumed the top job. Clearly, that provided some motivation for him, and the turnaround in a decade has been extraordinary.
The roll has leaped from the 700s to well over 1000, and parents from all corners of the city are now choosing to send their sons to the South Dunedin school. In the classroom and on the sporting fields, little brother has come of age.
Like any good principal, Mr Reddiex focused not only on what his own school was achieving but on where the education sector at large was heading. He earned plenty of attention — and considerable praise — for his comments at a prizegiving last year when he expressed his fears that schools were increasingly becoming social, as much as educational, institutions.
Presciently, he spoke of the education sector being in danger of losing its passion for teaching and learning, because of New Zealand’s “repetitive and relentless, and assessment-driven” education system. The recent teaching strikes show how on the mark he was with those comments.
Mr Reddiex saw the big picture, but he never lost sight of the fact he was there for his boys, and his job was to turn them into good men.
There is a touch of sadness whenever Otago exports one of its finest products to Auckland. In this instance, it would be churlish to do anything less than wish a fine man and an outstanding rector all the best.”