OUTGOING Karabar High School principal Paul Kells said it's the students he'll miss the most during his retirement from professional teaching.
His nine year tenure at the helm came to an end with an official farewell ceremony at the school hall on Wednesday, April 9.
Mr Kells, who was a teacher for 37 years, fought back tears during his closing address and later told the Age of the privilege it had been working at Karabar High. He said he "just knew" it was the right time to move on.
"It's a sad time to move on but it's also the right time to move on," he said.
"Colleagues of mine who have retired have said to me 'one day you'll know it's the right time to move on, that you feel you have done what you can do', and that's how I feel."
He said the staff had always been wonderful to deal with and he noted their commitment to providing the best possible opportunities for students. But he said engaging with students is something he'll truly miss.
"I became a teacher to work with students, to impart some of the inspiration that I had been given when I was a student. I have a love of learning which I wanted to pass on ... I'll miss working with staff, I'll miss the daily routine but, above all, I'll miss working with the students."
President of the P&C Dave Lavers said Mr Kells' contribution was impressive and his legacy will be felt by all students, parents and carers and all the staff at the school. He said the P&C have found him easy to deal with.
"Paul Kells has been a great supporter of the P&C, ensuring that the community has been part of school decision making," he said.
"In every respect, Paul's approach has ensured that we are ready for the significant changes ahead in the educational landscape, including the implementation of a range of Government initiatives. It has been an honour to work with Paul and I wish him all the best for the future."
Former Student Executive Dylan Anderson added Mr Kells' work with the school's Indigenous population would leave a lasting legacy.
"He was very fair, understanding and, especially for the Indigenous community he brought in so many opportunities, such as the bush tucker garden."
Mr Kells is looking forward to taking time off to travel and spend time with family and plans to help with various small charities around the Canberra region. He also has volunteer work lined up with the National Library of Australia.