THE retiring head teacher of a Rustington primary school admitted his last week in office was going to be ‘an emotional one’.
On Friday (March 27), much-loved head Bill Molloy will be stepping down from the top job at Georgian Gardens Primary School after more than 12 years.
During his time at the school, Mr Molloy, 61, has come to know hundreds of children and said that the pupils and their love for life will be one of the things he will miss most.
He said: “I will never forget this place because it’s been sensational working here.
“I have loved every minute of it – the children, the community – everybody’s been fantastic. I’m going to be very emotional next week, I know I will, and I’m working exceptionally hard trying to hold it all in.”
The proud Irishman grew up in Lurgan, Ireland. He left the country at 18 to pursue a career in teaching his two favourite topics to primary school children: sports and history.
His first job came in 1975, teaching a year-six class in Manchester.
He stayed there for four years before taking up a post at a military-run school for children of UK service personnel in Gibraltar.
During his 13 years on the island he met his future wife and love of his life, Kathy.
Mr Molloy moved back to England in 1992, becoming deputy head at West Park School, in Goring, before heading to his home village of Tangmere to become the head teacher of the local primary school there.
In 2003 he became the head of Georgian Gardens.
“It was very challenging coming to the new school as it was two times the size of Tangmere,” Mr Molloy said. “It was at the stage of development where a new head could have a big input to its next phase of development, which was exciting.”
Mr Molloy took a head-first approach into leading the school, actively getting involved in sports, community events, plays and fun days – often dressing up in wacky outfits.
“I think it’s really important as a head you’re someone that can have fun and help people laugh, but in a way that you can still be that authoritative figure when you need to be,” he said.
Mr Molloy admitted he will leave with many fond memories, from the school’s Ofsted successes and its various accolades for its eco-friendly achievements, to the surprise 60th birthday party for him last year.
However, one thing that will stick with him is last week’s school production of Joseph and His Amazing Tecnicolor Dreamcoat.
“It was truly amazing,” he added. “It was the best production ever.”
Paying tribute to Mr Molloy, Rosemary Cornish, chairman of governors, said he had been an ‘outstanding head teacher’.
She said: “Over the last 12 years he has led the school with exceptional skill and dedication. His passion and enthusiasm have enabled Georgian Gardens school to develop into the thriving, happy and successful community it is today.
“His love for the children and his commitment to the staff shines through in everything he does both within the school and in the wider locality.”
Mr Molloy is looking forward to a summer in Sussex as well as watching Ireland play in the Rugby World Cup, later this year.