Being an individual who has dedicated his life to excellence, striving to see not only the success of each and every learner and staff member, but simultaneously, every facet of the institution in which he represents and holds so dear.
The head of a school carries everyone’s problems, assists so many in obtaining their goals and dreams, but whom do they lean on? Who are their pillars of strength? That person is none other than his wife, a woman who resonates strength, conviction and understanding.
However, what are the ins and outs of being a school head’s wife? Moreover, who are they and how do they contribute to the education sector?
The Newcastillian – Online News finds out, speaking to Elizabeth Hanekom and Bianca Moses, two women who play an essential role in the Newcastle community.
Married to Pieter Hanekom, the principal of Drakensberg Primary School, Elizabeth opens up about herself and reflects on her life. She begins by explaining, “I am a Durban girl, and I met Pieter shortly after I decided to go into education.”
The two were smitten and started their life together, moving to Ladysmith, where they had two children, before moving to Newcastle.
Over the past 13 years, Elizabeth has been teaching at Arbor Park Primary School, fully immersing herself in her chosen career.
She enthuses, “Teaching is extremely satisfying, and one gets so much back from the children.”
Despite being an educator at a different school, what responsibilities fall onto Elizabeth with her husband being the head of Drakensberg Primary?
She highlights, “I need to support him emotionally and at times, put life goals into perspective. Also, I have to act like a headmaster’s wife, as I have a responsibility to the community and his staff.”
Additionally, Elizabeth says that listening is also paramount. As at times, one needs someone to listen to them.
Elizabeth adds, “Fortunately, as a teacher, I understand the lifestyle, and I know Pieter’s time is not always his own. He has to think of his school, his learners’, his staff and the parents. But this is his dream which he has seen come true.”
Offering unwavering love and support to her husband, who is at the top of the rung of local education, what are her thoughts on local schools and education compared to that of the cities?
Elizabeth, with confidence, says, nothing is holding Newcastle back. Going on to say, “We have an extremely high standard, and I will challenge anyone when it comes to our schools.”
Elizabeth concludes in saying, she also feels that while Newcastle schools overcompensate at times, our educational facilities have a lot to offer, especially in terms of security and safety. Adding, “We also have a better relationship with the children, which I think is partly because we do not live so far apart or far from our schools.”
Bianca is the wife of St Dominics Newcastle’s executive head, Chad Moses. With her husband steering the private institution, Bianca chats a bit about herself.
She begins by explaining, “I am a qualified teacher, and I used to be a principal at a pre-school in Pretoria. I also studied and did somatology.”
With a vast knowledge on early childhood development, as well as health, Bianca is a woman whose passion for health and young children is unrivalled.
Adding that she is currently at home, caring for her and Chad’s youngest daughter, who is soaking up the joys of being with her mom.
As the private institution in the area, St Dominics Newcastle stands in a league of its own. With this in mind, as the wife to St Dominics Newcastle’s executive head, what responsibilities falls on Bianca’s shoulders?
She opens with, “Support and being there for both Chad and the school, as well as being involved wherever I can at the school. We are fortunate that we have worked together at three different schools. So, I fully understand the unique lifestyle which goes with school life.”
Furthermore, Bianca says what is nice is that as she has extensive knowledge in the foundation phase, she can offer some advice and input to what will be beneficial for their development and growth.
Having experienced city life in Pretoria, how does Bianca feel Newcastle’s schools and education compares to that of the cities?
As something many Newcastillians take for granted at times, is our gift of time with our families unlike that found in city lives, she says, “For me, what makes St Dominics Newcastle special, is the family environment and the caring community, which is something you don’t always have in a city.”
Additionally, Bianca explains that local schools do not just look at a child’s academic education, as they often take a holistic approach, where the importance of culture and development receive a great deal of attention.
All of which she feels is at times overlooked during the business of city life.
With both Elizabeth Hanekom and Bianca Moses being two of Newcastle’s First Ladies of Education, we salute all who support their spouses as they work diligently as the heads of their respective schools.
Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer