Rutherglen’s Mary Dunn is set to enjoy her well-earned retirement after a lifetime of service to the local primary school.
Mary has been employed at Rutherglen Primary School as Business Manager for the last 35 years and has been an active volunteer at the school for 45 years.
Mary told the Free Press, with tears in her eyes, that she had mixed emotions about her impending retirement, but has promised her Rutherglen students and their families that her retirement doesn’t mean goodbye, just a see you later.
“I am really looking forward to retirement to get back in to my garden and have some spare time up my sleeve to travel with my husband,” she said.
“I have loved every minute of being here at Rutherglen Primary School and although I won’t be Business Manager anymore, I still have plans to visit and volunteer some of my time to the school to help with their exciting new programs.
“A lot has changed over the years and I have been here to see it all and be a part of that change.”
Mary said she remembered all too well the closing of part of Murphy Street, Rutherglen to extend the school’s playground and the installation of the school’s first computers.
“I have enjoyed watching the children grow and mature over the years as well,” she said.
“I have always been an advocate for creating a friendly and loving environment for our students to really thrive within.
“Kids need tender loving care and to be made to feel important and inspired and that is definitely what I have tried to do for all the students of our school in the last 45 years.”
Mary said her proudest moment to date, other than seeing her grandchildren learn within the Rutherglen Primary School, was seeing her daughter, Karryn Williams become the school’s first female principal since 1869 earlier this year.
“Karryn becoming principal this year would have to be one of my proudest moments to date,” she said.
“She is a fantastic asset for our school community and even though I am about to retire, she knows that she can have dad and I on speed dial and we will be here to help with anything.
“I know she will enjoy her role as the students and families here at Rutherglen Primary are so lovely to work with, bright and cheerful, as well as very well mannered.
“It makes me beam with pride to know our family’s connection will carry on, even though I am leaving.”
Principal Karryn Williams, who is also a former pupil of Rutherglen Primary School, told the Free Press she was settling in to her new role well and wished her mum and colleague all the best in her retirement.
“Mary has been a very passionate advocate at our school and we wish her all the best in her retirement,” she said.
“Her retirement is very well deserved and we feel very blessed to have had her at our school where she has always been a strong and supportive link for our families and wider school community.”
Born in Rutherglen, Ms Williams went to primary and secondary school in Rutherglen before moving to Geelong to study teaching at Deakin University.
She then got her masters degree from the Queensland University of Technology and went on to begin her teaching journey overseas.
After teaching stints in Canada and England Ms Williams returned to Australia, taking up posts at Townsville then Melbourne.
Along with her husband she decided to move back to Rutherglen to raise their young children and she has taught at the primary school where her education journey began for the past six years.
Ms Williams said becoming principal of Rutherglen Primary School was always something she had her heart set on doing.
“I am really enjoying my role here at Rutherglen Primary,” she said.
“Being principal is something I’ve always really wanted to do and aspired to do.
“I hope that by being the first female principal at Rutherglen Primary since 1869 that I can be an example for our female students and females in the wider community that anything is possible in this world if you set your sights on it, work for it and never give up.”