Head’s era comes to an end

2009-11-30 00:00

TODAY officially marks the last day for Susan “Sue” Allison as principal of Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School (GHS). But she plans to keep up the close contact with the school after she retires.

In an interview with The Witness recently, Allison described the past 11 years at the helm of a thriving GHS as “fun years, enjoyable and rewarding”, despite the hard work and the challen­ges.

“I really enjoyed dealing with the girls and the staff.

“It was, sort of like, melting all the parts of the school together or putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

“I will miss it all. The work, the people, the garden, the buildings we’ve worked so hard on, and the wild birds that I fed cheese to and had become a part of my daily routine.”

Allison’s deeply rooted history with GHS goes back through the last 36 years, when she started in 1974 as a maths teacher.

She is also an old girl. Her two daughters also matriculated at the school.

In that time, she has worked with former MEC of Education Ina Cronje, whom she describes as a “good teacher and great fun” in the years they taught together at the school.

She has taught some members of her staff and constantly gets visits from old girls, some of whom are prominent fi­gures and hold important positions in national government.

“My best memory of this place will always be when the girls have achieved. There is so much talent and many times I would sit and bask in the glory of all the achievements of the people here. That, for me, is rewarding and gives me the greatest joy. It makes teaching absolutely worthwhile, knowing I would have made a little difference in someone’s life.”

While Allison is sad to be leaving, she said she is excited about her future, which does not involve leaving Pietermaritzburg, or rocking in an easy chair and reading a novel just yet.

“I have four dogs and I train two of them. I have horses that I ride and a newly born foal, which is a lot of work. I plan to play with that for a while.

“But I will keep close contact with school. I have worked with some people for 30 years and have developed close friendships.”

She plans to move to Johannesburg to be closer to her children and four grandchildren when she “really retires”.

“I hope to leave behind a happy place where people feel free to grow, make mistakes and learn from them. I hope to leave an environment where people learn to be the best they can be.”

Deputy principal Mary-Ann Akerman said Allison is well-loved for her excellent teaching and rapport with the girls. “And since her appointment as principal in 1998, she has filled that position with dignity and kindness.”

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