Amelia Tan & Jennani Durai
CATHOLIC Junior College (CJC) and Maris Stella High will get their first lay principals in December.
Taking the helm at CJC will be Mrs Christine Anne Kong, 54, a Catholic and an alumna of Marymount Convent School. She is currently a Ministry of Education (MOE) cluster superintendent - a job that sees her guiding the leaders of 13 schools and facilitating collaboration between them to raise their standards.
She has spent her entire career in education, with stints as the head of humanities at her alma mater National Junior College and as the vice-principal of Bendemeer Secondary.
She was the principal of CHIJ St Theresa's Convent for six years before becoming a superintendent last year.
She said she is excited about once again being in a role that will allow her to be in close contact with young people and get to know them well - her favourite aspect of teaching.
Her ties with CJC were formed years ago as many of her students from St Theresa's went on to study there. Her younger son, now 21, was also a student there; he is now studying at The Australian National University.
She has another son, 25, who is a manager of a local business. Her husband is a project officer at a property development company in India.
Mrs Kong said: 'I want to maintain the upward trajectory in the school's progress while focusing on providing a strong values-based education. I would also like CJCians to be ready for the global stage.'
At Maris Stella High School, vice-principal Joseph Lim, 37, will take over the reins from Brother Anthony Tan.
Mr Lim, an alumnus and a Catholic, began his career at Xinmin Secondary School in 1998, teaching history and English literature. He became its vice-principal in 2005, before taking on an administrative role in MOE's Schools Division two years later.
Last year, he left to pursue a master's in education at Columbia University in New York, and returned just last month to Maris Stella.
Having been a student there during Brother Anthony's 25-year tenure as principal, he has fond memories of the man he calls 'my principal and mentor'.
'He embodies the school vision of being a Marist scholar, sportsman and gentleman,' said Mr Lim.
He plans to uphold the school's Marist tradition. 'We'll use this foundation to build character and imbibe values in our students.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.