A regular speaker at conferences on educational leadership, Tom Hamilton is passionate about education and believes in sharing whatever experience and expertise he has gained over the years.
Tom grew up on a small farm in Ireland and came to South Africa on a two-year contract in 1985. He was due to extend that contract for an additional year of service in India, but instead met his future wife Rentia.
Tom’s career in South Africa has been in education throughout. He understands the transformative impact of education for he was the first member of his generation in his family to complete secondary school and attend university. Without a great Principal in his rural primary school and a national scholarship/bursary system that provided avenues for children from poor working class backgrounds to access higher education, Tom’s options wouldn’t have been any different to those of his parents – leave school at the earliest opportunity and enter the workplace.
Over the past thirty years Tom has taught at several prominent independent schools, has coached sports, been a pastoral leader and has been a school administrator in various capacities. From 2001 to 2016, Tom was Headmaster of St Alban’s College, Pretoria, where he led the school through an exciting phase of development and growth. In that role, he was also able to sponsor the establishment of St Augustine’s LEAP School in 2012, a new low-fee school in Ga-Rankuwa that quickly established itself as the premier school in the district.
Tom has served on the boards of Irene Homes, Roedean School (SA), Waterkloof House Prep School, Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng and MaruaPula in Gaborone. He also served for several years on the Editorial Board of Independent Education Magazine. He completed further postgraduate courses at the Wits Business School and Harvard University and has authored three mathematics books, co-authored ‘Derby Day’ – a book on South African schoolboy rugby and was a weekly contributor to the City Press from 1990 to 1995 during our nation’s transition to democracy.
Since 2017, Tom has been Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Bafokeng Institute (RBI), a non-profit company, established by Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi in 2008, to oversee and devise a comprehensive educational strategy that will ensure that the people of the Bafokeng can live dignified and sustainable lives both in the short term and long after the demise of the mining industry. The RBI has a footprint that extends from Early Childhood Development to Public and Independent schools, TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) Campuses in Hospitality, Engineering and Construction, Teacher Training Programmes and Bursaries for higher education. In this role, Tom and the RBI team confront the legacy of Apartheid and the Bantustan system on a daily basis.
And, by the way, he still hasn’t managed to get to India!