Glenn Roff, principal at St John’s College, Woodlawn, is retiring.
Glenn Roff, principal at St John’s College, Woodlawn, is retiring. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Principal's rockin' exit

THE PRINCIPAL of St John's College Woodlawn, Glenn Roff, has received a retirement send-off to remember.

Not only did Woodlawn students organise a secret assembly to surprise Mr Roff, they also wrote and performed a song called 'Ode to Roffy'.

Mr Roff, who is the second-longest serving principal at St John's College, said he was humbled by the farewell.

"There was a lovely line in the song that went, 'we thought you were invincible', but I was wiping away tears thinking, I don't feel the least bit invincible" he said.

Mr Roff also performed at his own farewell, loosening his tie and belting out a rendition of 'Jailhouse Rock' while his son Jake played along on guitar.

"I have no timing and no rhythm but the students tried to clap along," he said with a laugh.

After beginning his teaching career at The Armidale School in 1969 Mr Roff worked in Heathcote, Woodburn, Dubbo, Canberra and Cairns.

In a significant break from tradition he became the first lay-principal of St John's College when the Marist Fathers withdrew in 2001.

Reflecting on his time at the school, Mr Roff said he was inspired by his forebears.

"The tradition of the Marist Fathers is of selfless giving. They devoted their lives to children so I hoped and tried to live in that tradition."

Mr Roff was recently awarded the Brother John Taylor award for making a significant contribution to Catholic education.

He will now run his own consultancy service to try and "inspire the next generation of teachers".

"The vocation of teaching is a passion", he said.

"I just believe teaching has got to be more than a job because if you're dealing with young people they have to see you have a sense of vision and that you believe in what you are doing."

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