While many principals chose to retire, others have followed opportunities elsewhere like Ōrewa College principal Greg Pierce.
He’s just taken up the role of executive head at Brisbane State High School, overseeing 3500 students.
“I didn’t go looking for this, it was just a great opportunity when the role in New Zealand has definitely become more complex,” he said.
Pierce told Newshub after 25 years in New Zealand education, there have been significant changes in recent years putting pressure on principals.
“We’ve had the NZ curriculum refresh which is major; the NCEA assessment review and changes which are major and ongoing, and four years of disruption in Auckland due to COVID.
“It’s been really disruptive and significant, and principals have had to respond more quickly than before.”
Ministry of Education figures show 917 primary principals and 257 secondary principals have resigned from the profession since 2018.
Last year that included 153 primary and 45 secondary principals.
“Given there’s only 400 secondary principals in the country that’s 10 percent of the workforce stepped out of it last year which for me is a cause for concern,” said Secondary Principals’ Association president Vaughan Couillault.