Harmony Hill Primary School principal Harry Greer retired this week after 15 years as Head and three decades in education.
The 57-year-old father of three said his final farewells to pupils and staff.
Mr Greer (57), who has been President of the National Association of Head Teachers in Northern Ireland, began his career in education back in 1981.
He was with Cabin Hill Preparatory before joining Downpatrick Primary as Vice-Principal in 1985.
He left teaching for two years before he returned as Vice-Principal at Abercorn Primary in Banbridge in 1991.
In 1995 he was principal at Donaghdee Primary and joined Harmony Hill as principal in 2001.
On Sunday evening a special service was held at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in recognition of Mr Greer’s commitment to education.
A drop-in afternoon was held at the school last Friday to allow children and their parents to bid farewell to Mr Greer, who said he was sorry to leave the school, but wanted to do so while he still enjoyed his job.
“I plan to take a few months of rest and look after my own health and fitness for a while,” he said.
“I have absolutely loved my time here but I wanted to stand down while I still loved my role.”
Mr Greer praised the PTA for its work in helping to raise an astonishing £225,000 for the school in recent years.
“I will really miss the children who have made my role as principal worthwhile and very enjoyable,” he said.
“I will remember them as being very respectful, full of fun and always very enthusiastic.
“I have have been very proud of all of their great achievements. I worked with great staff who have been very committed to their role and who have worked so hard for the children.
“The parents and the local community have also been very supportive and played a huge part in the school. Many of the parents I would now consider as friends. They become so involved in the school, which is key to the success of any school.” Mr Greer described his role as President of the National Association of Head Teachers as a great privilege. “The group has achieved so much,” he said.
He wished vice-principal Hilary Johnston well with her new role as principal.
Mr Greer is married to Janet and has three boys David, Michael and Matthew.