Kaye Beston has been principal at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School for 15 years but as the school year comes to an end so too does her more than 40-year career in education.
Kaye moved to the Bundaberg Region to take up the position in 2006 and was immediately struck by the welcoming and inviting nature of the small school.
It was a contrast to the much larger Brisbane school she had transferred from going from a student base of 600 to just 70.
“When I first came here, the APRE [Assistant Principal Religious Education] gathered all the children under the covered area,” Kaye said.
“I was just watching and eventually he said to me, ‘so are you going to say something?’.
“And I said ‘when they all get here’ and he said ‘they are all here!’.”
But the size of the school quickly became one of Kaye’s favourite features.
“It's really something that we value.
“You could see all the children every day.
“Even with professional development and looking at improvement, we could do things more easily.
“Being small, sometimes people are worried that you might not have all the facilities or all the opportunities that big schools have.
“But I've found that not to be the case.”
During her 15 years of leadership the school and its resources grew to include modern equipment and devices, the region’s first Catholic kindergarten and a large school hall.
Despite these many physical markers of success, Kaye said her greatest achievement was measured by the relationships formed.
“It's still the people, you know, in spite of, all the great stuff that's happened,
“You could have a magnificent building and all the resources that you want.
“But if you don't have the people that are with you and working with you, it sort of wouldn't be the same.”
Kaye Beston's retirement brings more than 40 years of experience in teaching and education to a close.
She was married to husband Bernard at 21 and spent a couple of years teaching in state schools before having children.
When her kids were young she spent time as a teacher aide before spending 40 years in Catholic education.
For Kaye Beston, retirement brings with it the irresistible lure of a lack of rigid structure and planning.
The only plans she has made is to spend more time with her family, including her two children and four grandchildren.