MOVING ON: Soren Turton, Trinity Ballin, Abby Stead, Charlie Whitbread and Thomas Town with retiring Coolabunia principal Murray Johnston. Credit: Madeline Grace
MOVING ON: Soren Turton, Trinity Ballin, Abby Stead, Charlie Whitbread and Thomas Town with retiring Coolabunia principal Murray Johnston. Credit: Madeline Grace

'More than running a school': Farewell to loved principal

THE much-loved Coolabunia State School principal has announced his retirement after 34 years of service.

Murray Johnston moved to the South Burnett in 1986 with his wife, Sue, and the intention of settling down to build a home.

"Back then there were only 40-odd students," he said.

"My wife and I lived in the residence out the back here for the first 12 years.

"I remember how excited we were to move here.

"We just knew the South Burnett would be where we kick-started our careers, built our home and raised our children."

The couple had both their children here.

"Both of our kids were born here in the South Burnett," he said. "Then they went to school here. That started the longevity of our stay here.

"We wanted our family and the kids to have a home, so they could say they came from here and they were raised here."

Mr Johnston said he had been so fortunate to always have a very involved parents and carers committee.

"When I first started the P&C went out of their way to make us feel welcome," he said.

"I am so thankful for all of the students, parents and staff I've had the pleasure of meeting through my time here."

The key to being a great principal, according to Mr Johnston, is the relationship he has with the students, parents and staff.

"I always say being a principal is about so much more than just running a school," he said.

"It's all about relationships and genuinely caring about each and every student."

Coolabunia State School teacher aide Julie Morris has worked alongside Mr Johnston for 23 years and said she was very sorry to see him go.

"He teaches with passion and inspires students to do their best," she said.

"His leadership and standards brings out the best in staff and students.

"It has been a privilege to work under him."