Jane Waceke: Colourful Qualities We Picked From The Principal Of The Year

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Jane Waceke: Colourful Qualities We Picked From The Principal Of The Year
Mrs Jane Waceke Photocredit/Courtesy

© Victor Ochieng’ 

In the recent past, we visited Othaya Girls to address students and staff. This extra-county school sits in Nyeri County. It is steered by Mrs. Jane Waceke, the pleasant principal that bagged 2019 Principal of the Year Award (POYA). Again, through work and luck, she scooped African Union Teacher of the Year Award. 

In our recent visit, we charged candidates to run the last lap with great grace. After that, we met teachers, and explored seven forms of teachers’ authority: legitimate, expert, reward, charismatic, moral, spiritual and coercive. 

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While in the area like bacteria, we felt at ease. Albeit, it was the first time to meet and greet that winsome woman, whom as a scribe I describe as Wisecrack Waceke. For while we conferred with her, she created comic reliefs with the witty jokes and clever comments. We took note of colourful qualities, which forms the central plank of this piece penned by Son of the Lake. 

Permit me a little latitude: I may not know key qualifications that goes into the Principal of the Year Award (POYA). On that ambit, I must admit: I am oblivious. It is also difficult to conclude on the conduct of a character just after first encounter. Although, there are features in a person that look like a ripen boil – they cannot hide. Again, panoply of wise men from the east say: First impressions are last impressions. 

Therefore, I have chosen to put pen on paper and write right about this Daughter of Mumbi, whom my good gift of foresight makes me see the infinite spectra of opportunities set ahead of her: for she is a legendary leader who is highly hands-on, humble and hilarious. 

In retrospect, when we arrived at Othaya Girls around sunrise, Forms One to Three were breaking for holiday. The school was a beehive. Bright belles – looking elegant in white blouses and blue skirts – were racing up and down. Teachers, led by the Chief Principal were busy bees guiding good girls to board vehicles that slithered into the compound like the plump Omieri python. Wisecrack Waceke is a meticulous leader. In addition, as a magnanimous mother, she feels it is important to know how students study, eat, travel and sleep. She argues that TSC has employed her to work and not to abscond duty or engage in moonlighting. We met a principal who has a sweet spirit, with penchant for her profession. 

Consequently, she is also altruistic and empathetic. For instance, during dreary days of school stasis caused by Covid-19 pandemic, she came up with charitable initiatives to cushion girls. She once in while drove to far-flung counties like Samburu to meet, greet and assist girls. She rescued some of them from the jaws of Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages. 

Again, she is a down-to-earth administrator, who has strived to pay the price for greatness. She is an excellent example of an administrator who can dine with kings, and eat with commoners alike. Her mien pays homage to the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

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As we travel here and there, we meet some leaders who swell with pride, and use their plum positions to unleash terror on people. Some principals mutate to tin gods. Then, intimidate students and staff. Therefore, Ryan Holiday got it right: the Ego is the enemy.

Meanwhile, Wisecrack Waceke is a different. She is acutely aware, hubris – excess self-confidence and pride – are the lesser evils that sank the Titanic Ship in 1912. Captains were haughty to an extent that when asked whether the ship could sink, they claimed that even God could not sink it. 

Unfortunately, an iceberg toppled the water-borne juggernaut. Why? Because God hates pride. In James 4:6, we read that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. In James 4:10 we are admonished to humble ourselves before the Lord, and He shall surely lift us. Therefore, it is crystal-clear: those who are not humble, stumble. Those who do not practise humility, eventually get humiliated. 

In the whole scheme of things, the wisecrack Waceke is self-effacing and mirrors the brilliant ideas of Robin Sharma presented in the book titled the Leader Who Had No Title. It is in that heroic book where we meet a legendary leader called Tommy Flinn, whose business card simply described him as a human being. The putative author posits that great leaders are HUMAN, which means they are ready to help, understand, mingle, amuse and nurture people. 

Finally, Wisecrack Waceke is able to amaze and amuse. Being around her is full of fun. Unlike other leaders who wear long lugubrious faces like donkeys. 

The writer rolls out talks and training services [email protected]. 0704420232

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