Retiring headteacher’s legacy praised

Toni Roethling, principal at Hodgson, who is retiring at the end of this week
Toni Roethling, principal at Hodgson, who is retiring at the end of this week
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A headteacher who saw her ‘outstanding’ academy become one of the country’s first teaching schools is set to retire.

Toni Roethling, 57, will be replaced as principal at Hodgson Academy, in Moorland Road, Poulton, by time-served teacher Derek Yarwood, who will assume the role for the ‘foreseeable future’.

But rather than enjoying quiet nights in front of the television or joining a local knitting club, Mrs Roethling will instead concentrate on life coaching, land her microlight aircraft on the beach, and care for her new puppy, Merlin.

She said: “I’m going to be doing lots of little things!”

Starting her career as a physics teacher in Surrey in 1984, Mrs Roethling went on to work at three more schools before being appointed as Hodgson’s director of technology college in 2002.

In 2009 she was promoted to acting principal, before becoming associate principal a year later.

She later wrote the bid that saw Hodgson become part of the first wave of teaching schools – The Fylde Coast Teaching School – which helps other schools in the area.

Mrs Roethling also developed the Hodgson Reading School, designed to get more youngsters interested in books, introduced the CARE (Care And Respect for Everyone) philosophy, and the Imagine, Believe, Achieve motto – which she told The Gazette she is very proud of.

“I have been very privileged to be head here,” she said.

“Hodgson is about turning pupils into confident, resilient young people.

“When I see them leave, I’m optimistic about the future.

“They are wonderful young people.”

As well as her hobbies, and plans to increase her life-coaching – which she does every Wednesday evening at the health centre in Whitegate Drive, Blackpool – Mrs Roethling will also become an Ofsted inspector.

Ofsted has rated the school ‘outstanding’ in its last two inspections.

A spokesman for Hodgson said: “Mrs Roethling’s legacy is huge. Her personal enthusiasm, moral courage, and vision have made the staff at Hodgson determined to be the best they can be. Mrs Roethling will be greatly missed.”