1997 – 2004

On 1 July 1997, R J de Beer became Principal of Sir John Adamson High School. In the ninety-five years of the school’s existence, she is the first woman to be appointed to this position.

R J de Beer, the youngest of two children, was born in Vereeniging on 1 November 1951. She obtained a High School Teaching Diploma from the Johannesburg Teachers’ College in 1972 and a Further Diploma in Education from CEFT in 1980. She improved her qualifications in 1988 with a B Comm from UNISA and a B Ed in education Management in 1997.

Ms de Beer started her teaching career at Sir John Adamson High School in 1973 and over the course of the last thirty two years has steadily progressed through the ranks to her current position as principal. Throughout her career she has taught Accounting and in 1982 she was appointed Head of Department for Commercial Subjects. She was appointed Deputy Principal in 1993 and assumed duty as Principal in July 1997.

Ms de Beer has always been actively involved in extramural activities, displaying a special interest in hockey, basketball and drum majorettes. From 1974 ro 1992, she coached hockey at Sir John and served as secretary of the Southern Transvaal Hockey Association. In 1977 she managed the Witwatersrand Schools Hockey Team and was coach of the Witwatersrand Schools Team in 1978.

Ms de Beer served as the Chairperson of the Transvaal Schools Basketball Association from 1985 to 1991 and was secretary and treasurer for the South African Schools Basketball Association. She managed the Transvaal Schools Team from 1975 to 1987 and 1989 to 1990 and was instrumental in organising the South African Schools Tournament in Johannesburg in 1991 and was tour leader for the Transvaal Schools Team that participated in the 1992 SA Schools Championships. As manager of the South African Schools Basketball Team she managed the team for three National Basketball Tournaments and on a tour of the United States of America in 1979. From 1993 to 1995, Ms de Beer organised the school’s basketball league; was involved in USSASA negotiations and in 1994 was elected vice-chairperson of the Interim Gauteng Basketball Association.

As a staff member at Sir John Adamson, Ms de Beer has been instrumental in organising numerous international tours: in 1982 to America; in 1984 and 1988 to Europe. Recently she organised a tour to Europe in 2001 and 2003. It is due to her that many of our pupils have been given the opportunity of experiencing the wonders of Europe and America.

Ms de Beer’s tenure as principal has bridged a challenging time in the school’s history: she has assumed responsibility for the formulation of many of the current policies and has guided the school through its transition to a fully multiracial institution. Her constant focus on acceptable morals and values and her firm but fair disciplinary approach has ensured a healthy and happy educational environment. In addition, her astute financial management has allowed for numerous alterations and improvements to the school grounds and buildings, making our school one of the most attractive in the southern suburbs. It was an honour to have Ms de Beer at the helm during our centenary year in 2002.

Miss de Beer resigned at the end of December 2004. She will surely be missed.


“….our school has stood the test of time and is a reflection of its rich past. Over the years, we have been able to nurture and draw upon the traditions of the past as we move into the future….It is the wealth of its past that has carried our school through the last ninety-five years and it is the same richness that will carry our school into the next century.”
(From the Principal’s Desk, 1997)

“Education is not only the teaching of subjects. Educating demands that we look beyond the academic curriculum and include self-development, leadership, discipline, self-discipline, values and social commitment…. The challenge to adapt, to change and to improve is constantly with us. However, in saying this, change must not force us to discard all that is old: our history, tradition and moral principales. We must accept the challenge to integrate the old with the new; to retain that which is good and find a place for that which is new. We must guard against allowing our pupils to make only the new their own; we must guide them to integrate and build on the solid foundation our School provides…”
(From the Principal’s Report, 1998)

“With the rapid growth of knowledge and technology, we must develop methods of coping with the mass of information that has to be mastered to manage living on the verge of the 21st century. Success in the next century will depend on the extent to which we, and our children, develop the appropriate skills.  Learning is not just knowing the answers. It is not just acquiring bits and pieces of general knowledge. Learning is a lifelong journey. It is a never-ending voyage that begins earlier than a child’s first day at school and must continue well beyond a matriculant’s final examination – we should never stop learning and implementing what we learn.”
(From the Principal’s Report, 1999)

“…a school should develop an ethos and standards that see it move confidently from generation to generation; that it should be inhabited by pupils who are predisposed to learning and teachers who accept collective responsibility for pupil development” (From the Principal’s Desk, 2000)

“The success of good schools stems from high levels of expectations from pupils, parents and teachers. High expectation means insistence on the wider purpose of education; the pursuit of truth; a respect for accuracy; the exercise of judgement; a widening of intellectual experience; the transmission of culture; the joy of learning for its own sake and the realisation of the full capacity of the human mind and spirit.”
(From the Principal’s Report, 2000)

Over the years, I have always tried to instil the need to achieve excellence in all that we have done at Sir John Adamson. The school can draw strength from its rich tradition and history; a good foundation has been laid on which Sir John Adamson can only go from strength to strength. As I take leave of the School, I would like to remind all those remaining of how special Sir John Adamson is. It will also hold a special place in my heart.
(From the Principal’s Desk 2004)