Principal dies of heart attack

Phaldie Tregonning

Former deputy principal of Rocklands High School and Strandfontein resident, Phaldie Tregonning, died of a heart attack last week.

Mr Tregonning, who was appointed principal of Windsor High School in Lansdowne in 2017, was in education for 29 years.

Mr Tregonning who first began as a pupil, and then became a teacher and then deputy pricncipal at Rocklands High School, had a good working record there.

Sheila Petersen, who is the secretary at the high school and worked with Mr Tregonning, said that he was an asset to the school.

“He had a good working relationship with the teachers and staff, the pupils respected him and he worked on various water-saving projects at the school and he was the mathematics head of department where he gave extra classes to pupils,” said Ms Petersen.

Mark Kleinschmidt, who is the ward councillor for Ward 60 (Lansdowne, Rondebosch East, Athlone, Crawford, Mowbray and Sybrand Park) and a former Mitchell’s Plain primary school teacher, said the teaching fraternity and his ward mourned Mr Tregonning’s death. “I met Mr Tregonning in Mitchell’s Plain initially, and was pleased with his appointment at Windsor High. He was committed to holistic education, and boasted a 100% pass rate of his 2017 matrics.

“Mr Tregonning was also in the process of upgrading the school buildings and most parts had already been repainted under his auspices,” he said.

However, Mr Tregonning’s teaching career was marred earlier this year when allegations surfaced that he stole money from Windsor High. Following a disciplinary hearing by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) on charges of misconduct a sanction of dismissal was subsequently imposed in May – a decision Mr Tregonning subsequently appealed.

Ruschda O’Shea, president of the Progressive Principals’ Association and former principal of Tafelsig High School, said: “The strain on principals drains them emotionally, and the physical and mental toll becomes unbearable.

“There is inadequate support from the WCED and they need to revisit the inhumane action taken against principals when there are reports of non-compliance.

“There is a lack of training to prepare principals for the rigours and challenges which the position demands.

“Our thoughts are with his wife who is also an educator, his children and his family, especially his two brothers who are also principals.”

The WCED sent its condolences to Mr Tregonning’s family.