The long road to Narrabri

Narrabri High School's newest deputy principal

Leo Kolmajer is quickly settling in to life as a deputy principal at Narrabri High School.

By any standards, Leo Kolmajer has had a diverse and unusual life, and its latest chapter sees him in Narrabri.

Mr Kolmajer, 54, was recently appointed a deputy principal at Narrabri High School, joining Rozina Broderick.

The father-of-two, like many teachers, has come to Narrabri from Newcastle, but that’s not where his story begins.

That is actually in Spain, where he was born out of wedlock.

As often happened in those days, such children were adopted out, and he arrived in Newcastle aged four, with his adopted parents being a Slovakian father (hence the surname) and a Spanish mother.

Schooled at Marist Brothers Hamilton and Newcastle University, he majored in ancient history, English and drama, while also obtaining a degree in Spanish.

Mr Kolmajer’s teaching career has largely been at Raymond Terrace High School (now Hunter River High School) where he taught for 25 years.

But he also lived on and off in Spain growing up, completing Years 10 and 11 there and later on (in 2004 and 2007 respectively) discovering his birth parents - he is one of five children on his mother’s side and six on his father’s. Given all that, his teaching career has often focused on crossing cultural divides.

“I had a lot to do with the Worimi nation (at Raymond Terrace),” he said.

“My connection to culture’s pretty strong and most of the stuff I do is through culture.

“Not just indigenous culture, I use my Spanish culture as a way in to connect with people of all cultures.

“I’m very proud of it - I go for (world-renowned soccer club) Real Madrid and follow Spain in the World Cup."