SINGAPORE - Pasir Ris Crest Secondary vice-principal Ashraf Hyder Yusoff Maniam, 36, did not expect to get the chance to lead a school when he embarked on his teaching career in 2011.
When Mr Ashraf settles into his new role as principal of Ang Mo Kio Secondary next year, he plans to try and emulate teachers who inspired him in school.
The former Temasek Primary and Raffles Institution student said: "I was blessed to have teachers who spent a lot of time to help me grow and mature into a young adult.
"It was through the experiences that I learnt the importance of having a good teacher, which is a role that is very meaningful."
One of his first tasks at his new posting will be to take a close look at what the needs of the school are and start working towards common goals.
He said: "It's crucial to take the time to understand the needs of our people, including our staff and students, and also adopt a spirit of co-creation to tap the ideas and collective wisdom of our people."
Ang Mo Kio Secondary is one of 70 schools getting a new principal next year as part of the annual Ministry of Education (MOE) reshuffle. Twenty-six schools will have first-time principals.
Mr Ashraf, whose father is a retired air traffic controller who now does aviation consultancy, is the youngest of three boys - his two brothers are a lawyer aged 39 and a civil servant aged 43. His mum is a housewife.
Mr Ashraf is married to a teacher, and they have a two-month-old son.
The recipient of an MOE scholarship, Mr Ashraf studied economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science before embarking on a career that included strategic planning and research at the Public Service Division and teaching at Tampines Secondary.
He is the youngest in this year's batch of new principals.
MOE on Thursday said the process of appointing and rotating principals allows schools to benefit from new perspectives, and enables experienced principals to share best practices across schools.
Another first-time principal is Madam Teo Eng Hui, 45, who will move up a rung at Bukit View Primary, where she is now vice-principal.
Madam Teo said she is humbled to be given the chance to lead the school, which is a Centre of Excellence for Aesthetics in the west zone.
"The nurturing of character to prepare students for the future is what I strongly believe in, and aesthetics is a powerful enabler to realise that," she said.
Several popular schools, including National Junior College, Henry Park Primary, Nanyang Girls' High and Nan Chiau High, will get new principals.
Madam Lucy Tay Sui Leng, 51, from MOE headquarters will be the new National Junior College principal, and Xingnan Primary principal Charles Chan Geok Ann, 52, will take over Henry Park Primary.
Nan Chiau High principal Siau Fong Fui will take over the helm at Nanyang Girls’ High, while Nanyang Primary principal Ler Jia Luen will take over at Nan Chiau High. Both are 48.