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.

PAT hosts conference for alumni

On 4 March 2023, Principals Academy Trust (PAT) hosted its first-ever conference attended by 128 principals currently or previously in its coaching and mentoring programme. The theme of the conference was Principals: Levers for change. It was sponsored by Bluestar Financial Advisory Services, authorised by Sanlam, and took place at the CR Louw Auditorium, Sanlam Head Office, in Bellville.

PAT was founded in October 2012 in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The founders, Rick Haw, Alan Clarke and Bruce Probyn, were keen to contribute to developing effective educational leadership and management in the public education system. Accordingly, they collaborated with UCT’s Graduate School of Business to develop an executive management development programme targeting education managers in the school system. Since the first intake of principals in 2013, 275 principals have completed the mentor and coaching programme.

The speakers included:

  • Mr Ralph Mupita, CEO of MTN and Principals Academy Trust Patron.
  • Dr Esethu Stofile, Google Workspace Transformation Specialist;
  • Dr Adyan King, Medical Officer: Psychiatry;
  • Ms Wendy Horn, Director Metro North Education District;
  • Ms Judith Sacks, Project manager at UCT for its Newly Qualified Teacher Project; and
  • Dr Kate Angier, Senior Lecturer University of Cape Town.

Full press release available here.

Recording of the sessions available here.

Happy, empowered teachers

Positive feedback received from a teacher on Academy math course.

Samantha Learner attended the Academy’s MT31 math course in July 2019.

Her feedback from the course was extremely positive and encouraging for our daily work:

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Principals Academy for granting me the privileged to attend the MT31 math course. This course was perfect in every way and built into the work that the Principal’s Academy already conducts with us.

The lecturers were brilliant and the work done was enlightening. I have already given a demo lesson of an application taught to me at my school. I’m excited to tell my group at Principals Academy all about this. Most of all I want to say I appreciate what the Academy did for me.

Thank you, thank you.”

Samantha Leaner

Planning well is the first step to functional schools

During our 2019 Planning for Success workshops more than 350 educators (principals and leadership teams from schools) in the Western Cape seized the opportunity to get ahead of the rush and plan their next academic year in detail.

The Principals Academy Trust (PAT), a non-profit public benefit organisation in South Africa, has been mentoring school leadership teams since 2012. It has been offering the planning workshops since 2013, with great success, to help schools kick off the academic year with systemic planning in place.

PAT believes that the principal is the lever for change in every school. By empowering these key roleplayers it strives to create conducive learning environments that promote continuous improvement.

“Our participants always ask the date for the next year as they are leaving the workshop,” says Bruce Probyn, who heads up the mentoring team at PAT. “It is such a valuable workshop. The principals and teachers walk away with a massive achievement.”

PAT believes that the principal is the lever for change in every school. By empowering these key roleplayers it strives to create conducive learning environments that promote continuous improvement.

The planning workshop, where the school has the opportunity to plan their entire calendar year with facilitation from PAT mentors, has always been popular. In the first two years it was hosted at one venue with a limited number of schools. This year, for convenience and in order to cut down long travel distances for the interested schools, PAT will run the same workshop in four areas.

On Saturday, the 5th of October, two workshops were held – one for Cape Town-based schools (at Pick n Pay Head Office in Kenilworth) and one in Paarl (at Klein Nederburg Secondary School). A total of 70 schools and 299 participants joined these two workshops.

This coming Thursday, 10 October, the last two workshops will be held in Ceres (at Ceres Secondary School) and in the Overberg region (at Zwelihle Primary School).

At the workshop each school receives an A1 year planner, a digital copy for 2020, a file containing duties and responsibilities and other documents that aid in the planning exercise.
The schools are also encouraged to delegate and assign responsibility on the calendar for each activity or event.

The attendees at the workshop commented on the positive nature and approach.

“The workshop was very well organised and informative. I learned so much that I am excited to implement at school. Our staff always benefit from these workshops,” a delegate from Beacon View Primary says.

“It is an extremely productive workshop where schools sit in their teams, using the dates received from the Western Cape Education Department that we request in advance and planning the next year in minute detail,” says Probyn. “You walk out and your planning for the whole year is done.”