Mr Shirley has been a teacher for close to 35 years, and has been a member of the Connells Point Public School staff for 19 years. In that time, Mr Shirley has contributed to the life of the school in many ways, including as a PSSA coach and as coordinator of the annual ICAS (UNSW) Competitions.
Mr Shirley has served the Department of Education and Communities, and Connells Point Public School, with loyalty, integrity and personal commitment to the values of public education. He has shared his deep and wide ranging knowledge with students and colleagues alike. He has always demonstrated great respect for his workmates, and his manners are a link to a gentler, nicer time when courtesy was the norm, not the exception.
Mr Shirley has always set high standards for his students and, over the years, parents have expressed appreciation for the solid grounding and training their children have received when in his class. He has made a difference to many lives. Here is an extract from just one of the letters I have received:
"From Day 1, (my daughter) respected Mr Shirley. Mr Shirley provided the children with structure and discipline—they always knew where they stood and what was expected. A set amount of work had to be achieved each day and he always acknowledged "excellent effort". Mr Shirley was very firm but very fair. (My daughter) had a wonderful year in his class. She learnt so much but most importantly, she was always happy. I have had a long association with CPPS and most years have been happy years with both my girls. However, I feel Mr Shirley needs a special mention. It is apparent that he is an extremely dedicated teacher and I am so grateful that (my daughter) was in Mr Shirley's class."
I am sure I speak for the entire school community, both past and present, in wishing Mr Shirley a wonderful retirement, with the freedom to pursue his interests and hobbies away from the stresses and demands of the workplace. Thank you, Graeme, for your service to Connells Point Public School and to the thousands of children you have taught over the years. Our best wishes go with you always.