Dino McMillan signs off after 50 years on the job

FAREWELL: Horsham West Primary School assistant principal Dino McMillan is retiring at the end of the term. She started at the school in 1968. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

FAREWELL: Horsham West Primary School assistant principal Dino McMillan is retiring at the end of the term. She started at the school in 1968. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

HORSHAM woman Dino McMillan has taught many Wimmera children.

She has been working at Horsham West Primary School since 1968.

For two years before that, she was a teacher at Natimuk Primary School and the former Horsham North Primary School.

When the school bell rings in the start of next term, Mrs McMillan will officially retire.

"I've been with the department for 50 years, and I think 50 years is long enough," she said.

"I'll definitely miss it, but I will come back and annoy everyone until they tell me to go away."

Mrs McMillan said she would be sad to leave.

"The staff and students here are a delight and a pleasure to work with," she said.

But she and her husband Don, also retired, have plans to travel and pursue other interests.

"There comes a time when you need to pull up," Mrs McMillan said.

In her 46 years at Horsham West Primary School she has risen through the staffing ranks from teacher to unit leader and even acting principal.

"I had to be coerced to do that," she joked.

Mrs McMillan will end her career as the school's assistant principal, an office she has held for the past 10 years.

Sharon Gibbs will take on the role from the start of term three.

"Sharon has been at the school for about 14 years," Mrs McMillan said

She was confident of leaving the position in excellent hands.

Teaching was not a career Mrs McMillan envisaged for herself while she was a student.

"I was always going to be a policewoman," she said.

But some advice from the district school inspector changed her destiny. The inspector suggested Mrs McMillan apply for a teaching bursary.

"Back then they paid for you to do your teacher training," she said.

"Every day is different. You can never predict what's going to come across your desk." - Dino McMillan

She was accepted into Toorak Teachers College in Melbourne.

"One thing led to another," she said.

"I think teaching was a good direction I was pointed in, even though it wasn't initially what I wanted to do. It's the interaction with people that I enjoy.

"I guess I'm a people person."

The dynamic nature of the work also appealed to her.

"Every day is different," she said.

"You can never predict what's going to come across your desk.

"Most of the children at this school are great all the time. The others are your challenges.

"You try to turn them around to get the best out of them."

Ultimately, Mrs McMillan said a student's success came down to their willingness to work.

"I'm always interested to know what past students are doing," she said.

"I like to think I've had some input into their development.

"There was one girl who was a very keen student.

"She kept telling me she was going to become a lawyer."

Years down the track, Mrs McMillan met the woman again.

"She told me she was a barrister working in Collins Street in Melbourne, and I thought, 'yes'," Mrs McMillan said.

Her interest in justice has remained constant throughout the years.

Back when Mrs McMillan was in teacher's college, she used to sit in on hearings at the Magistrate's Court during her breaks.

As a teacher, she took her senior classes to hear Magistrate's Court matters to impress on them the consequences of their actions.

"I was a bit of a stickler on a few things," Mrs McMillan said.

"The students had to know basic maths."

Key English skills such as spelling and grammar were equally important.

"If my students were going to write a sentence other people were going to read, it had to be legible," Mrs McMillan said.

Her last official school day will be July 14.

Mrs McMillan's colleagues have arranged a retirement dinner on July 19 from 7pm in Horsham's Buloke on Baillie function room.

She said people could contact Horsham West Primary School on 53821285 for more details.

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