Woodford house


Farewell to Dean

Describing himself as a man of few words, Business Manager, Dean Mason is not one for big goodbyes, but we cannot let him go without taking a moment to reflect on his time at Woodford House. Dean will be leaving Woodford House in early 2017 for a well-earned retirement.

Dean started his career in the finance industry in Wellington and was quickly promoted into management through his ability to make sound decisions in a fast-moving environment. After 20 years, a change in lifestyle beckoned and along with wife Liz and a young family, Dean moved to Hawke’s Bay looking to start a new career as an orchardist.

Whilst researching a suitable orchard to purchase, Dean applied for the position at Woodford House in the interim. However, with his strong business acumen and management experience, he quickly became an integral part of the School. Dean enjoyed the many challenges he encountered on a daily basis and forged strong relationships with colleagues and members of the Boards.

David Allan, Board Chair 2008-2013, described Dean as meticulous and fastidious in the way he approached all matters.

“Dean has maintained a very high standard with the character and presentation of the buildings around the School,” David said. “He had very good relationships with the contractors which ensured all developments were delivered on time.”

Every building has either been upgraded, extended or replaced during Dean’s time at school including the current renovations to the Woodford block and the new teaching and learning space for Performing Arts. Maintaining financial stability has been at the heart of Dean’s role, which has enabled the School to embrace advances in infrastructure and technology.


Board of Proprietors Chair Phil Williams said Dean’s guidance, advice and sound judgement has made decision-making at Board level so much more effective.

“From a personal perspective, my tenure as Board Chair would have been so much harder without Dean’s ability to see the big picture. I thank Dean on behalf of the whole Woodford community,” Phil said.

Principal Mrs Julie Peterson said, “Dean is a scholar and a gentlemen, and has been a wise prudent steward of resources at Woodford House. His calm demeanour has enabled us to critique and problem-solve complex organisational matters. I could not have dreamed of a better Business Manager to work alongside in my first years here. We will miss him terribly and wish Dean and his family all the best for his future.”

Dean has also worked with Finance Administrator Jenny Thompson for 20 years, during which time they have developed a mutual respect and a love of coffee. Jenny often brings in Dean’s favourite latte coffee, a gesture of her high regard for her boss.

Alongside his busy work schedule, Dean realised his ambition to run a successful fruit growing business with wife Liz whilst raising daughters Louise, Phillipa and Joanna, who all attended Woodford House. Dean is proud that the girls have gone onto enjoy successful careers and now have young families of their own.

Looking forward, Dean plans to dust off his golf clubs and improve his handicap. He is also keen to enjoy more cycling, walking and has many projects lined up at home. There are also five grandchildren to keep up with – Isla, Angus, Holly, Jack and Annabel – so never a dull moment.

We wish you all the best for the future Dean and hope you will pop back in to see us for a latte soon.

Mrs Andrea Jackson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator