Metro Central Education District Principals' Symposium | Western Cape Education Department
Metro Central Education District Principals' Symposium

Metro Central Education District Principals' Symposium

29 September 2022

On 17 September 2022, the Metro Central Education District (MCED) hosted its Inaugural Principals’ Symposium at the Artscape Theatre. 

The theme of the conference was “21st Century Leadership”.

The symposium was officially opened by the Head of Education, Brent Walters. His message was inspiring, encouraging those present to make a personal and professional connection with each other, step into the educational arena, and above all, to ensure one’s personal wellness. 

Walters cautioned participants against the “Culture Beats Strategy” debate that pervades many of our institutions. He posited the view that as emerging 21st Century leaders, school principals, along with their School Management Teams (SMTs), should lead from the front and lead by example. He asked principals to what extent they develop their teams and encouraged delegates to critically reflect on their practices at schools. 

Julia Kerr-Henkel, a licensed Brene Brown consultant, presented her talk, titled: “Dare to lead”. She had all present redefine their own vulnerabilty as leaders. She emphasised that “vulnerability” was not a weakness, rather, it meant that one opens oneself to new experiences and then having to endorse and face the very challenges that it presents. 

Kerr Henkel called upon the audience to become brave leaders and more courageous culturers. Attendees were encouraged to determine “what is their brave”. She highlighted the fact that the biggest barrier that braveness encounters, is the armour which we surround ourselves with, thereby hindering our potential.  In her concluding remarks, Kerr Henkel quoted Brene Brown: ”A leader is anyone who takes the responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop potential.”

Owen Henderson, a learning and change agent practitioner, espoused the view that self-awareness started with the individual and that the fruits of high self-awareness are “trust” and “respect” from others. He emphasised that making small changes in oneself has the capacity to change your life. His message of how individuals “perceived” events in their daily lives, were characterised by their own experiences. This was connected to Steven Covey who stated: “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” Owen encouraged school leaders to display a growth mindset. 

The programme was concluded with a presentation by Marlene le Roux, the CEO of the Artscape Theatre. She shared her life experiences as a disabled person and the resilience displayed by her, in order to make a difference in the lives of all those whom she encountered.  She made the clarion call that transformation must be orchestrated and opportunities for change must be created to ensure that marginalised communities become the beneficiaries thereof. She appealed to delegates to know what they stood for, be a role-model and to be exceptional leaders. 

The atmosphere at the end of the programme was energetic and hopeful. Leaders left feeling seen and heard. The symposium was a great success and well-attended. 
Below, are some of the comments from attendees:

“Thank you for the awesome opportunity to be in the presence of such great guest speakers and even more, to be in the presence of dedicated fellow leaders. It was a memorable occasion, one that I am glad I attended. I left a richer person.”

“Well worth the investment of time. Great to see colleagues having fun in a different setting.”

“Best Saturday spent at work. Thank you to our district office.”

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