62 schools, including the School of Science and Technology, will have new principals next year

The School of Science and Technology will be one of 62 schools getting new principals in 2016, under MOE's annual reshuffle exercise.
The School of Science and Technology will be one of 62 schools getting new principals in 2016, under MOE's annual reshuffle exercise. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The School of Science and Technology (SST) in Clementi will get a new principal next year, as its current head Hoe Wee Meng is stepping down after just a year at the helm to join the Prime Minister's Office.

St Joseph's Institution (SJI), the country's oldest Catholic mission school, will also be getting a new principal. Reverend Father Dr Adrian Augustus Danker, 50, who was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2013, will take over from Dr Koh Thiam Seng.

For 18 years the school has had laymen in the role of principal as fewer people devoted their lives to the church.

These are two of the 62 schools to get a new principal next year, under the Ministry of Education's annual reshuffle exercise. Of the 62 schools, 21 will get newly-appointed principals. "The process of systematically appointing and rotating principals allows schools to benefit from the infusion of fresh perspectives and enables experienced principals to share best practices," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

SJI student Neil Bhargava, who is in Secondary 3, said Father Adrian, who is an old boy of SJI, "has shown that he is very personal in his interactions and tries to get to know the students under his charge". 

Former SJI student Gerard Nah, whose son is currently attending the school, said: "This is a significant change... that the school will be led by a member of a religious order again."

He added: "I think SJI can look forward to having a shepherd who is an old boy who understands, in a very visceral way, what it means to be Josephian and whose roots are well entrenched in SJI."

At SST, Mr Hoe will be replaced by Madam Linda Chua Mui Mui, the current principal of Deyi Secondary School in Ang Mo Kio.

Mr Hoe, who took over as the secondary school's principal from Mr Chua Chor Huat late last year, said he was taking on a new portfolio in the newly formed Strategy Group in the Prime Minister's Office.

"As a young school, SST has had a remarkable growth. I am humbled to be given the opportunity to take stock of SST's growth and lay the foundation for the next phase of the school's development, together with my very dedicated team," said the 37-year-old, adding that he was "privileged" to have been the school's principal.

At Greendale Primary School, principal Sabrina James is also stepping down after a year at the helm. 

She will be replaced by Bukit Panjang Primary principal Ng Soh Hua. Unlike SST's Mr Hoe, Mrs James will retire at the end of this year. 

Principals usually stay in a school for more than five years.

Of the first-time principals, the youngest is 35-year-old Ming Antoinette Ramasamy, who is going to Junyuan Primary School. She is the current vice-principal at St. Anthony's Canossian Primary School.

Tampines Secondary's new principal Shane Kwok is the former vice-principal of Innova Junior College. He replaces Mr Balamurugan Krishnasamy, who will move on to Pasir Ris Crest Secondary.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Kwok said his time at the junior college will be useful when advising secondary level students on their post-secondary options.

The 39-year-old also plans to focus on developing students holistically.

"I hope to focus not just on academics, but also on helping the students discover their passion and what they want to do in life," said the alumnus of Nanyang Technological University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.