This is my twentieth year at Charlton. When I began in 1999, I thought I was applying for a Year 7 teacher position only, and then realised in the middle of the interview that the position was actually for Head of Middle School as well. I said, “great, sure”, and so the journey of leadership at Charlton began. As the school progressed to Year 9, I became Head of Senior School, and then when the school enrolment reached over two hundred, Sue Skuthorpe asked me to try the Deputy Principal role. Although I had never aspired to be in such a position, I discovered that it was a great fit for my giftings and have thoroughly enjoyed it ever since.

I have really loved the journey of watching the school grow from just seven students in 1998 (and 53 in 1999 when I started) to over six hundred in recent years. It has been a thrill to see staff numbers grow from just two at the very start to nearly one hundred altogether now. I’ve seen building developments happen almost yearly from just two demountables, a site shed and a patch of dirt to the amazing facilities we have today. I’ve been delighted to witness the introduction of great new programs and special events such as musicals, the growth of a strong Christian culture, and major developments in teaching and learning with new staff. It has been the best place to work ever.

But, as much as I have loved it all, it has all been a huge job from the word go, and is just not sustainable indefinitely. I’m not getting younger (at sixty-five this year), and am feeling the toll physically and mentally.

Also, I have parents with very high care needs now who live quite a distance away (near Ulladulla down on the far south coast). It is very hard to see them more than once each school term break, let alone be able to help them consistently.

Furthermore, I have my wife Sharon and four children and their families with twelve grandchildren all growing up so quickly and spread all over the place now, with whom I would also like to spend a lot more time.

I also believe that I have completed all that God has enabled me to do in this role at Charlton, and that it is time to have some new experience and input into this space. I am very confident in the one that God has provided to take the College further in its ongoing journey.

So, after much prayer and thinking about this over the last couple of years, for my own wellbeing, for my family needs and for the sake of the ongoing development of the College, I believe that it is therefore time for me to finish up in the Deputy role, and I will finish in this role at the end of 2018.

I would still like to be a part of Charlton if it works out to do some part-time teaching. Whatever happens, I am just trusting that God knows and will work things out as the time comes.

Although I trust that there will be time in the future to thank people more specifically, I would like to acknowledge that I could not get to this place today firstly without the help of God himself, but also through the wonderful support and encouragement of a whole school community all doing their part to make this place work together and keep growing so amazingly well. Thank you!

Mr Alan Feeney / The retiring Deputy Feendogs