A number of years ago, we invited our Head of School to reflect on the leadership process at Wynberg. This is what she wrote:
Almost too soon, it is already that time of year again. Manifestos are being pinned on boards, speeches are about to be heard, and letters of application have been submitted. The leadership selection cycle has begun!
As a Grade 11 student, applying for a leadership position is no easy task. The decision to apply in itself is very difficult – are you willing to take the risk, with the possibility of disappointment? Moreover, are you prepared to take the risk, with the possibility of succeeding? Nelson Mandela certainly hit the nail on the head when he said that ”It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”. When the Head of School included this quote in her Head of School speech, I was reminded once more of the anticipation and fear I experienced as a Grade Eleven applying for positions – but also the excitement that came with the thought of being able to make a difference to my school in such an important way.
The selection process at Wynberg is incredibly thorough, and there is no doubt that all those who applied will see the benefit of this when they eventually enter the working world. For the positions of Head of School and Head of House, speeches, letters of motivation, CVs, manifestos, voting by fellow pupils and interviews are all part of the deal. Applying for the position of Pillar Head will also lead to the submitting of the above mentioned documents, as well as an interview.
In all honesty, it can be a rather scary process – even after it is all over and all that is left to do is wait, the question “Will I be good enough to be chosen?” still races through one’s mind.
The Grade 11s of this year have had excellent preparation for leadership. Groups within the programme in their Grade 10 year were required to draw up a project proposal which dealt with a specific issue, plan their project, execute it, evaluate it and present what they had done and what they had learned from it to the staff. In Grade 11 all of these lessons learnt are consolidated in a leadership camp for the entire grade. These valuable experiences are not far off from what current leaders do within their portfolios.
While Wynberg is a school that is constantly growing and changing, there are some core values that remain the same: principled and accountable leadership is one of them.
On Monday 15 July, a new chapter was begun as the school listened to the candidates who have applied for the position of Head of School for 2019-2020. Each of the candidates was required to give a three-minute speech explaining why she would like to be the Head of School in 2020, and then to give an unprepared speech on a topic which she may well be asked by prospective parents or pupils should she get the position.
In the weeks that follow, applicants for the positions of Pillar Heads, Heads of Houses and Matric Leaders will address groups, be interviewed and have their manifestos examined. We wish all of those who have put their names forward to serve the school and their fellow students in this way.