Prof Wendy Kilfoil bids UP farewell

Posted on September 20, 2018

In August, UP held a farewell event in tribute to the service of Prof Wendy Kilfoil, Director of the Department for Education Innovation (EI), who’s leaving the department after ten years in the post.

“I’ve enjoyed working in EI thoroughly, as it gave me the opportunity to work with highly qualified, experienced and creative staff,” Prof Kilfoil says. “Teaching was, and remains, my passion. Teaching is a profession that should call only the best and the brightest to be teachers, in order to effect a major turnaround in the quality of teaching in schools.”

As EI Director, she enjoyed building the student support and development model in collaboration with the Vice Principals, increasing the uptake of blended learning, and participating in the building of capacity for learning and learner analytics.

She says her teaching experience has convinced her that working with young people is one of the most stimulating and creative careers one can choose. “Teaching offers constant learning about, from and through one’s students. In turn, teachers must always strive to maintain the balance of keeping both the high achievers and lower performers constructively busy and constantly improving.”

For Prof Kilfoil, going into teaching was never about money, but “about a lifetime of meaningful work”. In her farewell speech, she emphasised that, even though she had changed jobs during her career, teaching was always at the core of whatever she did. Since her first job, teaching English as a second language in an Afrikaans-medium agricultural high school, to her position at UP, she has focused on student success.

She thanked the Directors for their collegiality, saying they’d helped ease her transition to UP. The few who remain from that time are Mr Robert Moropa, Prof Susan Adendorff and Enterprises UP CEO Deon Herbst. Current EI Vice Principal Prof Norman Duncan also addressed the farewell gathering, and read out comments from EI staff in honour of Prof Kilfoil. He summarised all of it as acknowledging her exceptional leadership while at EI. He thanked her for her commitment to UP, her colleagues, students and above all to student success. He concluded by saying, “I consider myself fortunate for having had the opportunity to have worked with someone of your calibre.”

In her parting words, Prof Kilfoil encouraged all at UP to “work hard on meaningful tasks each day, so that your contributions make a difference to the lives of our students and staff.”

- Author Myan Subrayan

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