The principal from the Apex High School in Eerste River was announced the winner of the National Teacher’s Awards and says she is humbled by the recognition.
Renate van der Westhuizen received the Excellence in Secondary School Leadership Award.
“Besides being humble I am also deeply thankful. This award belongs to so many others who have invested in me, supported me and developed me as a leader. This award belongs to the entire Apex community. On a personal note the past two years amidst the pandemic as well as the everyday challenges of the education sector has been incredibly challenging. This award serves as a sign that we are indeed doing something right, which encourages me to keep going,” says van der Westhuizen.
Van der Westhuizen says she believes every principal does his or her best, but at the core of her management style are the principles of instructional leadership.
“Leading by example means I am first at school in the morning, that I do the same quality of lesson planning as the teachers and that I meet the same deadlines. Instructional leadership believes that the leaders of the school are responsible for instruction. That is why you will hardly find me in my office but rather where instruction is taking place. My philosophy can be summarised in three words, ‘whatever it takes’. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that every single scholar in our school, regardless of their background, will receive an education equal to that of the very best schools in South Africa,” she says.
She says despite having received this award she doesn’t know everything.
“I definitely do not know it all. To be honest, when I started in 2017, I knew very little, but Acorn education developed me into an instructional leader. If I have to give advice it would be implement instructional leadership in your school.”