The golden years at Silver Heights

2011-12-14 00:00

IN 1974 Pat Naidoo, then 23, stepped into Raisethorpe Secondary School to begin his teaching career.

This year the Silver Heights Secondary School principal retires after serving in education for 38 years. Seated at his office desk for the last time, Naidoo looked back on an enriching and challenging career.

“I have learnt so many things about humility and dedication through interacting with people in the education sector. Leaving Silver Heights after 28 years has been the hardest thing I have ever done,” Naidoo said with emotion.

After four years at Raisethorpe Naidoo was promoted to acting head of the English department at M.L Sultan Secondary School.

At Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High he served a further two years in the same capacity. Six years later he started at Silver Heights as head of the languages department. Thirteen years later he took over the reins as principal of the school at a time he calls the “transformation era”.

“The country was not prepared for the sudden transformation… Communities were reluctant to accept the new educational policies that were aligned to the Constitution of the country,” he said.

“There was also a mass exodus of learners to schools away from their communities. I decided that it was time that the staff, the pupils and I pulled together and worked harder,” Naidoo said.

“Today the results speak for themselves: the school’s matric pass rate has been a constant 94% and above, nothing less.”

Naidoo (60) has no intention of slowing down. He is tutoring in University of KwaZulu-Natal’s ACE programme for Leadership and management development.

He has been elected chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg Association for the Aged and will also be involved in mentoring programmes, he said, “as education is very close to my heart”.

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