We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Jannie de Villiers as the next Head of the Diocesan School for Girls, effective from January 2020. Jannie is currently the Executive Head of Oakhill School in Knysna and has been in the position for the past three years.
Jannie completed his undergraduate studies and BA Honours degree through the Northwest University, followed by a Higher Diploma in Education through Stellenbosch University. After two years in his first teaching post at Swellendam High School, he proceeded to Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town where he enjoyed an accomplished nineteen-year career, initially as Afrikaans and Geography teacher and rugby, athletics, rowing and rock-climbing coach, and eventual as senior Boarding House Director.
Jannie served on the senior management team of Bishops and several strategic committees where he played a key role in various major initiatives in student leadership, boarding, pastoral care, educational technology, outdoor education, sustainability, diversity and school discipline. Although his leadership role at Bishops culminated in the pastoral field, Jannie also excelled in the academic domain. His pursuit of best practice in progressive schooling led to a B.Ed Honours (Cum Laude, 2015) from the University of Cape Town. He has presented at several events and institutions, including the Independent Boarding Schools Conference, Stellenbosch University Education Faculty and the Centre for Group Analytical Studies, Cape Town. Jannie thrived in his involvement with the cultural and spiritual programmes at Bishops as producer of numerous house productions and as lay-minister in the Chapel. He also pursued his passion for adventure and nature as master in charge of Bishops Outward Bound and led expeditions of boys and parents to Kilimanjaro, Mt Elbrus and Base Camp Everest.
Jannie took over the reigns as Executive Head of Oakhill School in January 2017, a mere five months before the devastating Knysna fires. This event was an unexpected test of his leadership capacity which he demonstrated by the compassionate way in which he guided the Oakhill community through this traumatic experience. Oakhill has thrived under his leadership over the past three years, during which Jannie drove and supported initiatives in all areas of the school, including academic innovation, EdTech, pastoral care, sports facilities, cultural programme, exchange, outdoor education, scholarship process, campus developments, workplace culture, disciplinary structures, diversity and inclusion, marketing and community initiatives.
Thanks to his various roles and experience, Jannie brings with him a wealth of knowledge that will stand DSG in good stead, in boarding, the operational running of a school, and strategic thinking. In addition, he has also served as an ISASA regional committee member where he gained valuable experience in the greater independent schools context.
As educator, Jannie has a vision for enabling young people to think critically for themselves and care deeply for others and the environment. He puts it as follows: “A progressive school should foster a safe, inclusive learning community that brings forth the best in individuals as they fearlessly explore, risk, question, discover and create. We should send out difference makers into the world with values, character, resilience and competencies to participate in a complex, future of exponential change, global challenges and unlimited opportunity!”
The Council embarked on an extensive process in the selection of a new Head. We were delighted at the strength of applicants received. As an initial process, nine candidates were interviewed via skype. Three individuals were short-listed for face-to-face interviews and further psychometric testing before a final selection was made. The selection committee, whose professionalism and dedication ensured absolute integrity to the process, deserve an enormous thank you.
Jannie is married to Suzanne who is a teacher with 23 years teaching experience, including 17 years at Herschel Girls School and the last two at Oakhill. They have two children, Alida (14) and Jean (11). We are fortunate to have secured Jannie as our new Head and look forward to welcoming him and his family to our school community. We have no doubt that his experience, disposition and abundant energy will continue to move DSG forward, together with staff, parents and girls, in new and exciting ways.
More detail and an introduction to the head will follow on various communication platforms.