Former police chief hopes to be class act in new role
LAST week he retired as the most senior police officer in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot but now he is back at work — in the classroom.
Mark Mathias stepped down on Friday after 32-years in South Wales Police but his retirement lasted a matter of days — the former chief superintendent is now working at Dylan Thomas Community School in Cockett.
Mr Mathias will be responsible for helping to mentor youngsters doing the Welsh Baccalaureate.
He said: "I spent more than 30 years in an organisation that makes a difference — now I am going to another organisation that makes a difference in another way.
"Dylan Thomas has a team of dedicated teachers, and I am looking forward to helping them.
"It is going to be a new challenge for me, and one I am very much looking forward to."
Perhaps it is not too surprising that the former Llanelli Grammar School pupil should end up in the classroom — he cites his former sportsmaster Wyn Oliver as a major influence on his future life.
After leaving school the Hendy miner's son joined the South Wales Police cadets, than at 18-and-a-half he signed up for the force proper.
He began by walking the beat in Mumbles before moving to CID, then going on to take charge of Special Branch, leading the creation of the all-Wales serious and organised crime unit, Tarian, and then in 2007 becoming chief super in Swansea, which later merged with Neath Port Talbot to former the enlarged western division, the biggest in the force.
In 2011 he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for distinguished service. As a learning coach the ex-policeman will be spending one-on-one time with each youngster, helping them to develop personal skills, solve problems, achieve goals and plan their learning.
Dylan Thomas head teacher Rob Phillips said: "We are very pleased that Mark wants to come here.
"Mark has a wealth of management ability, great communication skills and tremendous life experience. He has dealt with all kinds of people and situations during his police career, and can bring that with him.
"I have worked with Mark over the years and he has always been very supportive of young people — he knows a great deal about the challenges they face and can bring that insight to the job too."
And it seems the head teacher is not the only one who wants the former chief super at Dylan Thomas.
Mr Phillips said: "Mark was interviewed by the pupils as part of the selection process — and they unanimously wanted him."