January 19, 2022

Rector’s eNews – 19 January 2022

/ Rector's eNews

The start of any academic year at Michaelhouse is exciting, but this year it seems to be doubly so after the ups and downs of the past two years and, indeed, having to start last year online. There are many animated exchanges between boys and staff in screens, the quads, in the Houses, on the sportsfields, in the Music Department and elsewhere as boys find their way to new teachers and, once again, begin their academic, sporting and cultural activities.

We were able to extend a warm welcome on Sunday to E Block parents and their sons who come to us this year from 44 different prep and primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Botswana, Zambia, the United States and the United Kingdom. We extend a similarly warm welcome to other parents whose sons have joined us by taking up the few places available higher up in the school and we opened this year with 626 boys, the largest enrolment in the school’s history. We trust that all of your sons will benefit from and value the Michaelhouse experience, even though there will always be the challenges which life brings in every week in every term to every boy. For the moment, excitement and enthusiasm for every activity is running high.

At the end of last year we had a number of staff retiring and a couple moving on to the Headships of other schools and, as a consequence, there is a phalanx of new faces, teachers bursting with energy and keen to make their mark on Michaelhouse. In no particular order we are delighted that the following staff have joined us: Mr Justin McDougall joins us from St Stithian’s to teach Geography and to be Master in Charge of Waterpolo, a position he occupied at Saints, and to coach Rugby; Ms Aldi Smith comes to us as HoD Mathematics from Beaulieu in Gauteng to work alongside our Director of Maths, Mr Paul de Wet; Mr Evan Mickleburgh will teach EGD, CAT and IT and is a highly-qualified cricket coach, as well as a rugby coach; Ms Emsoné Fourie comes from Thomas More to teach Afrikaans and to coach Basketball, while Mrs Cheron McConnell, another from St Stithian’s, is to teach Life Sciences and though talented across many sports being a seven times Comrades Marathon runner, will draw on her experience of one Duzi Canoe Marathon to play a supportive role in canoeing. Mr Garth Quaite has taught mainly at Rondebosch Boys’ High School and comes to us as an EGD teacher with a passion for refereeing rugby; Mrs Lieschen Harrison will teach Art and play a role in cross country; Mr Paul Edgar from Glenwood High School is to teach IT/CAT and has a particular interest in coding and robotics. He will play a major role in our Outdoor Education Programme and oversee aspects of our sustainability. Mrs Sally Cahill comes from a family which is well known to Michaelhouse and she will teach English and lead our Debating and Public Speaking, an area in which our boys have excelled over recent years and Mr Sanele Zikhali, an isiZulu teacher, who was an intern at Michaelhouse and then taught at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, is able to coach several sports; Mr Sihle Mabaso, was the runner up in the 2018 Excellence in Teaching awards at national level and comes to us from Maritzburg College to teach Maths and coach soccer and basketball, whilst Mrs Glynnis Owen formerly the doyenne of Maths teachers at Kearsney joins us in a part-time capacity to teach Maths. Mr Joshua Turnbull is a Music teacher from the Western Cape, and we welcome him too.

We have several who have joined our Administrative and Support staff: Mr Gavin Erasmus, an Old Boy of Founders House, is our Director of Digital Strategy in charge of our IT provision; Mrs Brigitte Brown is the new Functions and Events Manager, while Sister Adi Peters and Sister Sane Ntuli join the San staff. Mrs Rebotile Ngwenya is a Housemother covering Mackenzie and Baines and Ms Skhulile Khumalo heads our CPT administration and Mrs Melissa Ross is the new Assistant Librarian.

We have some new interns joining the Michaelhouse staff: these are young men who play an important role in the school in the academic, sporting and cultural areas, as well as in each Boarding House. They are nurtured as potential teachers by Michaelhouse whilst they complete their university degrees. A warm welcome goes to Mr Anele Ncebo who will be attached to Mackenzie, Mr Sean Rice, attached to Pascoe, Mr Sifiso Shabangu, attached to McCormick, Mr Simeon Goddard, attached to Farfield, Mr Lwando Saunders, attached to Tatham, Mr Banele Mlangeni, attached to Mackenzie, Mr Thabani Mchunu, attached to Baines, Mr Alex Msina attached to Pascoe and Mr Mtunzi Mdungi, attached to West.

We look forward to working with this very talented, highly energetic group of new staff.

I want, next, to clarify the position relating to our Deputy Rector: Pupils role, a position formerly held by Mr Allan Laing. With his promotion to the Headship of Uplands College in White River, we advertised promptly for a Deputy Rector: Pupils to work alongside Mr Sibs Ncamani who is undertaking the role of Deputy Rector: Pastoral from now. There were a number of people interviewed for the Deputy Rector: Pupils role and after extensive discussions, an appointment was made. However, certain factors have prevented our appointee of taking up the role and, consequently, we have re-advertised in the last week.

In the meantime, whilst our search for an appropriate person to fill this role continues, I have asked Mr Dean Forword to act in this position whilst continuing at the same time with his Housemastership of Founders. In this latter position, he is to be assisted on a regular, daily and extensive basis by Mr Herman Visagie, the Assistant Housemaster. The boys and parents of Founders have been apprised of this position and, once we are able to make an appropriate appointment to the Deputy Rector: Pupils position, Dean Forword and Herman Visagie will revert to their current positions as Housemaster and Assistant Housemaster of Founders.

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