THEY say your school days are the best years of your life.
Well, one person who would not disagree is Mark Wasserberg, who has spent most of his life at school – but is now retiring after 36 years of teaching.
Mr Wasserberg has stepped down as principal of Stantonbury Campus, one of the biggest comprehensive schools in the country, and taking with him some of the most treasured memories of his teaching career.
He joined Stantonbury in 2003, enjoying eight happy years at the helm, but admits a lot has changed since he first took over.
Stantonbury Campus opened in 1974 and has grown with the new city of Milton Keynes. It is an 11-18 Foundation school with 2,500 students, of whom over 400 are based at Cooksey Hall, where post-16 provision is offered.
The campus is organised in five halls or ‘mini-schools’, each catering for about 500 students. The campus aims to combine the fantastic opportunities and facilities of a very large school with the personal friendly atmosphere of a small hall, in which every student is known and cared for as an individual.
Above all, Stantonbury is proud of its achievements as a specialist arts college and of its strong sporting tradition.
And that ethos is one of the things that attracted Mr Wasserberg to Stantonbury.
He said: “The school has not grown a great deal in my time but the curriculum has changed and standards have improved so much so if I had to pick out one thing that I was most proud of it would be very difficult.”
Instead of focusing on one particular aspect or achievement during his time at Stantonbury Mr Wasserberg instead highlights great improvements over the years which have seen the school become home of some fantastic arts projects and sports teams.
“Some of the arts around the school are spectacular and the sports have been heralded as one of our strengths as well.
“Most of all I will cherish the memories of the young people and wonderful staff I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Before joining the staff at Stantonbury Mr Wasserberg worked as a headteacher at various schools in Cheshire but says he was drawn to Milton Keynes because of its wonderful reputation.
He said: “I came here because it was very special. The way we treat young people is second to none and I am proud of the relationships we have built up with pupils, parents and the staff.”
Looking forward to his retirement Mr Wasserberg and his wife Barbara will be hoping to find time to devote to interests outside school life and to do some of the things they have always wanted to but never had the time. And they will continue to live in their Broughton home.
Mr Wasserberg added: “I have been lucky enough to be asked to be a member of the Young People’s Poverty Commission in the city and it is an honour for me to do so.
“But my wife and I are planning to travel. We have always wanted to visit New England in the autumn but because of the school schedule we have not been able to do so. Now we have a great chance to do just that.
“Milton Keynes is a smashing place to live and Stantonbury Campus is a wonderful school for people to send their children to.”
A keen musician Mr Wasserberg will also be looking to join a band in which he will be able to play his favourite instrument, the clarinet.
On a personal note he will also be able to spend more time with his children Kate, Matthew, Ben and Eleanor – who have all left home – as well as welcoming his first grandchild into the family when daughter Kate gives birth later this year.
Whatever happens in the future Mr Wasserberg is proud of the work he and his staff achieved under his tenure and will rank the maintaining of quality relationships between staff, parents and children at Stantonbury Campus as his biggest achievement – and legacy.