Meet Patrick Lewis – School of Hope’s New Principal
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
Instructional and servant-leadership style. I am not a manager, who is task-driven and orientated in that way. Based on the vision I have for School of Hope, it is required of me to lead from the front, to provide guidance and direction, but also to mentor, empower and release individuals to embrace their potential through collaboration and partnerships.
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?
I am a product of the public school system in South Africa. In addition to that, being disenfranchised and marginalised by Apartheid, my late mother had very few choices in terms of my education. I graduated grade 12 as being the first in my family; I had struggles in convincing my mom and siblings to rather go and study instead of seeking employment. After working for one year in the private sector, I made the decision to rather study and to invest in my future. I completed a three-year diploma course at Wesley College, attended UWC, and finally, completed a degree with an American institution. I have been involved in a plethora of functions in education: educator, provincial trainer of trainer, curriculum provider, provincial representative on national, manager of adult education, principal and also had a few businesses.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
What motivates me is the passion and drive I have because of pursuing a purpose-driven life. Coming from an impoverished background, I resolved to never allow my past to shape my future. Therefore, using my background as a catalyst to inspire others is also my passion- to take a journey with those that wish to embrace growth.
WHAT IS YOUR MAIN GOAL FOR THE SCHOOL OF HOPE?
My fundamental goal for School of Hope is to cast a vision for the next three years, and then for a shared vision to help transport that vision in the form of mission statements. When we have collective buy-in from educators, learners and parents, then we are able to make huge strides in unfolding our vision.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
My single-most greatest accomplishment is meeting my better-half in my wife; she has been very instrumental in supporting my goals and plans. Fortunately for me she was in education for 35 years. All other achievements, even though huge, look very small compared to my wife’s support.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
Hopefully, being in retirement? I have been a faithful servant of the greater process of education; served loyally wherever I found myself and also imparted my skills. I so much wish to impart into adults and help see them grow as well.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST STRENGTHS?
My greatest strength is the ability to discipline myself for any task that I pursue; that comes from years of practice and persistent tenacity and resolve. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled the world and that has positioned me to interact with any culture or person.
WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE?
I believe that I am unique in a way that no one has my fingerprint, or remotely looks like me. But my uniqueness lies in the fact that I am an out-of-the-box thinker; superficiality doesn’t sit well with me. I have the ability to look at a situation, process what needs to take place and then implement.
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU WANT SCHOOL OF HOPE TO CONVEY WHEN VISITORS WALK INTO THE BUILDING?
That we should be ambassadors of hope. Whenever any visitor walks through our doors, they must be able to feel a tangible presence of the love and spirit at our school; it must be contagious and palpable.