Bega Montessori principal calls time after 60 years

Kevin McCulloch (centre) of the Thomas More Christian Montessori School is retiring from teaching after 60 years. He will still be involved with the school he co-founded in 1998 with his wife Donna McCulloch (left), guiding staff such as (from left) school administrator Sandy Rogers and teachers Janelle Wiley and Jessica Peart and teaching pupils music.

Kevin McCulloch (centre) of the Thomas More Christian Montessori School is retiring from teaching after 60 years. He will still be involved with the school he co-founded in 1998 with his wife Donna McCulloch (left), guiding staff such as (from left) school administrator Sandy Rogers and teachers Janelle Wiley and Jessica Peart and teaching pupils music.

AFTER 60 years at a chalk – and smart - board, Kevin McCulloch is retiring from teaching.

The co-founder of Bega’s Thomas More Christian Montessori School said he will still be involved in his school’s music program, but has decided the time is right to leave classroom teaching.

His decision comes as the school welcomes new teachers and places a renewed emphasis on the expansion of Montessori education throughout all grade levels at Thomas More.

Dr McCulloch started his teaching career in 1954 in the tiny Victorian towns of Lower Bendoc and Goongerah.

“It was my first posting after teachers college in Melbourne, they were tiny one-room schools and I alternated weeks as the only teacher,” he said

“On a weekend one of the parents would drive me between the two!”

He spent 30 years working for the Victorian Education Department in various roles including teacher, librarian and administrator before becoming a principal and inspector of schools in North East Gippsland.

In 1989 he came to NSW and worked with the Department of Education as musical director for the Merimbula, Pambula and Eden school bands.

He has always had a love of music and in his spare time has been active with the Bega District Band as part of the brass section.

He also had a passion for Montessori education and in the early 1990s completed a diploma of Primary Education at the National Centre of Montessori in San Diego, California and later a doctoral thesis entitled “Montessori method and its application to mainstream education”.

While in San Diego he met his wife Donna, also a teacher. 

When they returned to Australia they set about starting a Montessori primary school in the Bega Valley.

“It opened in 1998 in Bega with just two students and since then over 380 students have experienced the benefits of Montessori education at our school,” he said.

Dr McCulloch said he still planned to remain part of the school community at Thomas More.

“It’s been a privilege to have a career in teaching,” he said.

The community is invited to a celebration of Dr McCulloch’s teaching career on June 15 from 2-4pm.

The afternoon is also an opportunity for parents to meet to the new teaching team of Jessica Peart and Janelle Wiley and hear about the school’s new educational plans.

For more information about the Thomas More Christian Montessori School call 6492 2913.

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