Sans Souci Girls’ High School teachers and pupils threw a surprise farewell, last week, for acting principal Shirley Humphreys, 63, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Ms Humphreys, of Muizenberg, was born in Durban and grew up in Pretoria. She has 35 years of teaching experience with 15 of those spent at Sans Souci.
She was appointed acting principal in 2016 – after the departure of Charmaine Murray and during a turbulent period of pupil protests – and again in 2022 when Ruschda O Shea moved into a new post at Fairbairn College.
Ms Humphreys said she had wanted to be a teacher from when she was in Standard 8 (Grade 10). “For me, it has always been a love for the children, a love for learning and a love for giving back what I learnt.”
But the job had not always been an easy one, she added. “From the time I started until today, we are teaching in a completely different generation, one has to adapt.”
Her colleagues praised her for being supportive and approachable. “It is quite sad that she is going; it will leave a space behind in the school, and we can only wish her well,” said teacher Allan Carruthers.
“Whenever there were any difficult situations, she was always level-headed, and she knows how to navigate through difficult waters,” said English and history teacher Tanya Jackson.
School governing body member Colin Jooste said: “You have left Sans Souci Girls a better place. Many of the girls will have blossomed under your watch. The girls won’t forget you and you won’t forget them.”
Ms Humphreys said the school had helped her “to see the world in new eyes, to grow as a leader and to evolve in how I interact and manage people”.
For her retirement, she and her husband, Charles Humphreys, are planning on packing up their caravan and exploring the rest of the country.