Biography of new Primary School Principal – Mark Potterton

I am Mark Potterton and I have three children and have been married for 23 years. I am principal of Holy Family College in Parktown (since 2013), and I have taught Geography, English and Life Orientation across the grades. The highlight of my time at the school has been the retreats, hikes and camps that I have been involved with. Last year we established a Three2Six Project at the school which is doing very well.  I have had the pleasure of working Johannesburg Heritage caring for a 1905 historic building. I have also taught in a teachers’ training college and in universities. When I taught at Sacred Heart College in the late eighties I was involved in Integrated Studies and curriculum development.

I have written a number of books on education and have played a key role in quality assurance debates in the country. Before coming to Holy Family College I was Director of the Catholic Institute of Education for six years. There I initiated work in inclusive education, early literacy, health screening, school evaluation and school improvement. I really enjoyed 17 years of work in Lesotho where we mainly trained school principals. I worked at Umalusi as the Chief Operating Officer but it seems that there I am best remembered for installing a vending machine!

I served on a Ministerial Committee that looked at schools that work well in township and rural areas. I also served on a committee for the national education department looking at teacher absenteeism in South Africa. In 2010 I was seconded on a part-time basis to work with the Minister of Education to establish the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit for two years. My doctoral research was in the area of school violence. I have served on a number of Boards including the IEB and IQQA. My interests are in the area of rock art, Tsonga and Sotho culture, politics and the Drakensberg.

I look forward to working with younger children at Sacred Heart College and promoting outdoor education.  I believe that as the world becomes more multicultural and multi-religious a greater understanding of, and respect for diverse ways of living is needed. The rate of technological, environmental and social change will require new ways of learning that will require our pupils to be lifelong learners and to deal with rapidly changing world. In this changing world value has be placed on the ability to problem-solve, innovate and create new knowledge. However, we definitely will still need to be able to read, write and do Maths well!

Mark Potterton