GEOFF Wilson has recently retired after nearly 35 years on the staff of Stranraer Academy.
Originally from the Manchester area, Geoff was a qualified electrician who had also worked in the perfume industry and as a college technician - as well as taking up the sticks for `The Expectations’, a semi-professional band that carved a name for itself in the Manchester club scene of the mid-70s.
If his move from the bright lights of Manchester was a quest for the quiet life, it was not to be. Although initially employed as a science technician, Geoff’s job constantly evolved to match advances in educational technology. Having started at the Academy a few years before the first computers began to appear in schools, his work has spanned every significant development in the use of IT in schools.
During this time Stranraer Academy has been at the forefront of many technological developments. The school was amongst the first to boast an extensive computer network and was also one of the first schools in Scotland to install electronic whiteboards in all classrooms. In 2004 the school was chosen by the SQA to pilot digital examinations for youngsters with disabilities and other barriers to learning. Geoff played a key role in getting all these schemes off the ground and ensuring their continued smooth running.
At the time of his retirement Geoff was Network Administrator with responsibility for the operation of the school network of over 300 PCs, and the school was making preparations for the next major advance - wireless networking.
Geoff’s energetic temperament led him down many other avenues during his years at the Academy. Taking part in school trips to various foreign lands, establishing school table-tennis and badminton clubs, and serving as President of the staff curling club were all part of the mix. Outside school he found time to run a successful alarm installation business and tried his hand at breeding sheep and pigs.
But the undoubted highlight of his Academy years was when romance blossomed with the arrival 12 years ago of a new member of the English Department, Anne. Geoff and Anne quickly found they were kindred spirits and have remained inseparable ever since.
The school will miss his good humour, patience, technical wizardry, and his repertoire of jokes - not just the good ones. He leaves the Academy with everyone’s best wishes for a long and happy retirement.