Dineo Matomela EDUCATION REPORTER
PORT ELIZABETH‘S Bruce Damons is the best primary school principal in South Africa – and that‘s official.
The dynamic headmaster of Sapphire Road Primary School in Booysen Park scored top marks in the National Teachers‘ Awards, organised by the education department.
At a glittering function in Pretoria on Wednesday night, attended by President Kgalema Motlanthe and Education Minister Naledi Pandor, Damons won the Excellence in Primary School Leadership Award.
Damons has been at Sapphire since 2000. Under his leadership the school has opened a clinic run by volunteers. It has no-fee status and has a food garden as well as offering sewing lessons.
National education spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said the department paid tribute to the role of principals and teachers like Damons.
“He is one of the people we hold in high esteem. We are proud of them and want them to continue the good work they do because they are good examples of what teachers can offer,” he said.
Damons flew to Pretoria on Wednesday and will return today to a congratulatory ceremony organised by his teachers and pupils this morning.
Speaking from Pretoria yesterday, Damons said his success was not an individual one, but a community effort.
“This is not my award, but belongs to the wonderful people I work with like teachers, volunteers, parents and pupils who inspire me to get up every day.
“I dedicate the award to the entire school, to the first group of pupils who died of Aids-related illnesses, and all the people who make the school a success.”
Damons said he was honoured to have met Motlanthe and Pandor. “The highlight of the ceremony was shaking hands with President Motlanthe and being the only teacher representing the Eastern Cape.
“I‘m now more motivated to work harder because I have seen how other schools have made their schools a success.”