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Growing Leaders at St Mary’s

At St Mary’s not only do we have the pupil’s best interests at heart but we also grow our staff by investing in staff development. We are very excited that in 2019 we have two long-standing staff members who are being promoted into leadership roles after 15 and 13 years respectively at St Mary’s DSG, Kloof.

Congratulations to Mrs Wendy Ross (15 years of service) who will take over the reins from Mrs Carolyn Cuthbertson as St Mary’s Junior Primary Head at the start of the 2019 school year. Carolyn is taking early retirement after 29 years.  Wendy, we know you will hit the ground running. With all your experience and wonderful leadership style, we look forward to the Junior Primary thriving under your guidance.

We also take the opportunity to wish Miss Wendy Laatz well in her new role after 13 years, Wendy leaves St Mary’s as Senior Primary HOD, to move into the Senior Primary Head position at Durban Girl’s College.  We will miss you Wendy, but know that they are very lucky to gain you to steer their Senior Primary ship.

According to Mr Jonathan Manley, Executive Principal of St Mary’s DSG, Kloof, ‘We have a very good track record of developing strong leaders amongst our staff and these appointments are an example of that, as both have worked at St Mary’s for many years. We are indeed fortunate to attract nurturing, experienced teachers at St Mary’s with leadership talent. We will continue to invest in our leaders so that they can best serve the school and its pupils whilst simultaneously growing as individuals and in their careers”.

Wendy Laatz joined the St Mary’s family in 2006 as a Grade 4 teacher following a stint teaching in Johannesburg after graduating with a Bachelor of Primary Education. In 2007 she was promoted to Grade 6 Co-ordinator and in 2009 was made a Senior Primary (SP) Senior Teacher and part of the SP Management Team. In 2011 Wendy was again promoted to SP Head of Department (HOD). In the last 6 months of 2016 Wendy was thrust into the role of SP Acting Head which she recounts as the most difficult six months of her career. This was also the tipping-point for her to learn her own strengths and know, in fact that she could be a Senior Primary Head. Wendy believes whole-heartedly that St Mary’s saw something in her that she herself didn’t even know she had! When Executive Principal, Jonathan Manley, asked Wendy to take the reins it was because he believed in her. Wendy feels that Mr Manley has been significant in his role and belief in developing people at St Mary’s and this shows throughout the school; from implementing the Growth Mindset and being more deliberate about teaching Emotional Intelligence, to encouraging more staff members to grow personally by attending more conferences, courses and continually recommending great books. Every staff member is encouraged to grow at St Mary’s.

During Wendy’s time at St Mary’s she was fortunate enough to attend eight ISASA (Independent Schools Association of South Africa) Deputy Heads Conferences, three Global Leadership Summits (world-class leadership training), numerous talks and presentations, school visits, a Varsity College course on Education Mentoring and Leadership, two Aspiring Heads conferences and she is about to start a Harvard Course on Adaptive Leadership.

Wendy still spends time in the classroom in her role as SP HOD and teaches Mathematics to Grade 6 and 7 girls. She loves how the girls have adopted her favourite Growth Mindset saying of “I can do hard things” when they struggle and persevere.

Wendy will continue to teach girls that “practice makes progress” and not “practice makes perfect”. This subtle change in wording is more in line with the schools focus on adopting a Growth Mindset. Wendy, we are thrilled that St Mary’s is a part of your personal journey of growth and progress! All the best for your new role.

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