SINGAPORE - The Singapore Sports School (SSP) will welcome a new principal on Dec 15, with Ong Kim Soon to take over the reins from Tan Teck Hock, who will relinquish the post after six years.
Ong, 52, has been an educator for over 25 years, having served as principal of St Hilda's Secondary School from 2005 to 2010. He is currently the director of physical, sports and outdoor education branch at the Ministry of Education (MOE).
He will be the fourth principal to head the SSP after the late Moo Soon Chong, who founded the school and served from 2004 to 2007, former Raffles Girls' School principal Deborah Tan (2007-2013) and Tan Teck Hock.
The latter, who was the founding principal of the Physical Education and Sports Teacher Academy, will return to the MOE and take on a new role as principal of Spectra Secondary School, said the SSP in its press release on Friday evening (Oct 18).
He has been in the education service since 1992 and was previously principal of Yishun Town Secondary (1999-2005) and Serangoon Junior College (2006-2010).
The 55-year-old said on Friday: "I have had a fulfilling stint at Singapore Sports School, where my focus has been the holistic development of every student - be it in sport, education or character development."
He pointed out that SSP's student-athletes won almost 40 per cent of Team Singapore's 84 gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games and that its current and former students accounted for about 31 per cent of the 188 medals won two years later in Kuala Lumpur.
Of the 647 athletes heading to the Nov 30-Dec 11 Games in the Philippines, 100 are from the SSP.
Tan gave his successor his vote of confidence, saying: "I have worked closely with Kim Soon in the Junior Sports Academy and in the review of the Sports School.
"With his capable leadership and experience in the sports field, I believe that he will be able to add value and deliver a high-quality education experience to groom more sport talents for Singapore."
Under his tenure, the SSP expanded its sports education pathways to allow for a customised Diploma in Business Studies with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Extended International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to give students greater flexibility in meeting their academic and sporting competition needs.
Tan Gee Keow, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and SSP chairman credited Tan for his "unwavering commitment to his students, staff, and school".
She added: "Mr Tan does not see excellence in sport and studies as a trade-off. He believes that the Sports School can offer a nurturing and inspiring environment where our young people can thrive in both these endeavours.
"More importantly, Mr Tan believes in instilling in our student-athletes the values and spirit of all great athletes - that of resilience, good character, and service to society."
Since it was officially opened by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in April 2004, the SSP has produced eight Olympians, 16 world champions and 18 Asian champions. It also has two world youth champions and Asian youth winners within its ranks.