GSB Graduation: Class of 2023

Since the inception of Principals Academy Trust in 2013, the UCT’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), has played a vital role in empowering education managers within the school system. On January 27, 2024, the GSB Class of 2023, consisting of principals who completed the short course Principals Management Development Programme, celebrated a significant milestone as they graduated.  The 23 graduates were: 

Etienne de Villiers Agulhas School of Skills
Isaac (Ike) Morkel Alicedale Primary School
Tristan Brikkels Athlone North Primary School
Florina Julies Bergendal Primary School
Liesl Apolles Blossom Street Primary School
Gert van Tonder Bosmansdam High School
Rodger Cupido Cloetesville Laerskool
Cibella Van Geems De Heide Primary School
William Shand Delft Primary School
Ivor (Rudolph) Rudolph Delft Technical High School
Bongiwe Kuze Fairdale Primary School
Leon Kapp Maitland High School
Ebrahim (Abe) Abrahams Muhammadeyah Moslem Primary School
Gareth Duraan Paarlzicht Primary School
Genene Mason Parow Inclusive Primary School
Oxford Jack Skurweberg Secondary School
Nazilee Martinus Spes Bona High School
Martina Steyn St Augustines RC Primary School
Granville Crowster St Mary’s RC Primary School
Carol Abrahams Stellenzicht Secondary School
Mogamat (Luddy) Luddy Thornton Road Primary School
Ferrentia September Wes-Eind Primary School
Leigh-Ann Lenders Zonnebloem Girls’ Primary School

The event welcomed guests, including the graduates, their families, representatives from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), PAT funders, and team members.  Attendees had the privilege of hearing Professor Catherine Duggan, the esteemed Director of the GSB, deliver an inspiring address filled with words of encouragement and motivation, setting the tone for the celebratory occasion. Additionally, Ms. Leela Naidoo, representing Capitec Bank, shared insights into the comprehensive math intervention initiatives they are implementing in schools, emphasising the importance of such interventions in shaping the future of education.

Gert van Tonder, the group’s elected president, delivered a heartfelt speech. He reflected on the cohort’s collective journey, acknowledging the challenges faced and the triumphs achieved along the way. He aptly noted, “It is a tale of learning, laughter, and leadership that has transformed us not just as professionals but as individuals.”

Among the Class of 2023, Cibella van Geems (photo) emerged as the top student, demonstrating exceptional dedication and academic excellence throughout the programme. Her achievement is a testament to her unwavering commitment to continuous growth and development.

Furthermore, the prestigious Shirley Williamson Shields were bestowed upon Mr. Mxolisi Mbobo from Intshayelelo Primary School and Mr. Michael Mavovana from Hector Peterson Secondary School.  Each year this floating trophee is awarded to the high school and primary school that had shown the greatest improvement using the Systemic and NSC result from the year immediately prior to the year they joined the programme. 

As we celebrate the accomplishments of the GSB Class of 2023, we extend our commendations to each graduate for their resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to excellence. Their journey stands as an inspiration to all, reaffirming the transformative power of education and its profound impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole.

Teachability is an Important Life Skill, especially for Teachers

Do you know what makes me a happy pensioner? I’m teachable. I’m not done learning.

Being a principal meant that learning was my daily currency, but, when that ended, I wanted to use nearly three decades of experience as a head to delve deeper into school leadership and to share insights with leaders past and present in the best interests of South Africa’s super-challenging education landscape. And I’ve learned more since ‘retiring’ than I learned throughout my career. I am one of, hopefully, thousands of retired professionals, in one non-governmental non-profit or another, investing in the future of our young people. Your turn will come.

If you are a PAT principal, you’re teachable, too. You will have been visited by one of our coaches to gauge your willingness to embark on a partnership in learning through mentorship, collaboration and the valuable prospect of a highly rated business school initiative. There’s no doubt that the modern principal is the school’s Leading Learner, and, if that’s not the case, learning at the school will suffer. They say the greatest enemy of learning is knowing. Not just that, but, as a principal reminded me, we learn very little while we are doing all the talking.

One may think that in being teachable one is demonstrating humility, but that’s the whole point; leadership requires us to put ourselves out there, to lead and to learn as much as possible on the way. Teachability is not about competence or capacity; it’s about attitude and a willingness to learn, unlearn, relearn.

As principals we are always on the lookout for professional friends or mentors who stretch us. In a coaching partnership, we strive to grow, we ask for feedback, and we try to respond well to it. We like to visit other principals who inspire us. We like to attend events that prompt us to pursue change and we are always in search of a book that challenges us to think in a new way.

Every principal knows just how valuable is the exceptional teacher. And, usually, that expertise and effectiveness was honed through embracing change, seeking out opportunities, an openness to learning, a deep desire to keep improving and a commitment to keeping abreast of teaching technology.

It was Albert Einstein who said, ‘I have no talent. I am only passionately curious.’

Teachability is one of the main criteria we look for in the novice teacher. A seasoned grade or subject head has such a big role to play in developing required standards of professionalism, subject specific competence and classroom dynamics. Highly functional schools foster many such communities of practice which take teaching to the same level internship takes the novice medical doctor. From day one a young teacher or doctor serves a child or a patient in need of high quality ‘treatment’.

The same is true in the sporting world. A footballer may be very talented but may never make it because of not being coachable – an aptitude which makes one a key component in a complex and technically proficient game plan.

One of the interventions the Principals Academy uses is the deployment of Teacher Support Professionals (TSP) in either Foundation Phase or in English or Mathematics in particular primary schools. Catherine Meier, the TSP, in one of the schools I serve, received a message at the end of last term from a Gr R practitioner at Zerilda Park Primary which gratefully recognised the support received with phrases like ‘absolute pleasure’, ‘bringing us back to basics’, ‘taking us beyond our own imaginations’, ‘helping our learners to understand a concept’, ‘you were meant to help us’, ‘you bring us hope’ and ‘thank you for coming into our school’. How nice is that?

Teachability really is an important life skill. One blog I read, Fresh Horizons by South African performance coach, Mandy Russell, was entitled ‘Teachability – To Keep Leading, keep Learning’. She quoted Basketball coach, John Wooden, ‘It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.’

Till next time.

The Principals Academy Trust


No: 07/24
02 May 2024