Public and Private Sector Leaders Bring Change to MosselBay School

The school principal’s world is one where challenges are a constant presence. The story of Mathemba Lolwana, the dedicated principal of TM Ndanda Primary in Isinyoka, Mosselbay, reaffirms that partnerships between different sectors are indeed transformative.

Facing a host of challenges at his school, Lolwana found solace and support in Leaders for Education (previously Partners of Possibility), a Citizen Leader Lab programme, a platform designed to connect school principals with business leaders to drive positive change in and around schools.

Strong leadership is integral to the success of all schools. Citizen Leader Lab facilitates a collaborative leadership journey between principals from public schools and private sector business leaders. By leveraging the diverse skill sets of both participants, school principals receive the support, management skills and access to social capital to create conducive teaching and learning environments within their schools. The NPO’s 12-month school leadership programme provides world-class workshops, professional coaching and comprehensive learning materials.

Lolwana’s demanding role as the recently appointed principal of TM Ndanda underwent a significant shift when he was paired with Donovan Poole, a Security Training Assessor at 2RM Security. Poole not only shared Lolwana’s passion for education, but also brought a wealth of experience and a genuine desire to make a difference.

‘’Donovan entered the scene, and from the start, it was clear that our collaboration was going to be a success. I thought, here is a man of great leadership,’’ Lolwana reflects.

The magic truly began to unfold when Lolwana and Poole identified the pressing issues facing TM Ndanda.

“Our community is mainly poor, our school grounds were unkept, and the parents of the learners were not involved. But we made a plan for change,’’ Lolwana remarks, highlighting the shared vision that defines their partnership.

Through regular meetings, effective planning and dogged determination, Lolwana and Poole have successfully implemented a project that has enhanced the school environment, mobilised parents and the community and promoted positive perceptions of the school. Their efforts yielded tangible results within three short months.

“By organising a school cleaning day that brought together community members and other stakeholders, we not only revitalised the school, but also sparked a sense of pride and belonging within our school community. More parents started to show interest in the school because they see how clean the school has become,’’ says Lolwana.

Following the success of the school clean up, Lolwana encourages fellow principals to invest in themselves and their communities by embracing the transformative potential of partnerships.

“Networking, open communication, resilience and mutual learning are all important for a successful school – and all this comes with partnering with others,” he advises.

He adds: ‘’At Citizen Leader Lab, we have a culture where principals and business leaders can openly express both their joys and challenges without judgement. Here, we share stories, learning from each other’s experiences without imposing advice. Instead, we offer recommendations, leaving the choice to act upon them with each individual.

We view challenges as opportunities for growth. This approach has not only enhanced my leadership skills at work but has also positively impacted my personal life. I now confront challenges with confidence, knowing that success is just around the corner.

To all newly appointed principals, I recommend joining this programme. It’s an environment where you can develop holistically,’’ he concluded.