Katoke appoints new Head of School, Ken Langford-Smith for KLSS in Tanzania

The Katoke Trust is thrilled to announce the appointment of Ken Langford-Smith as Head of School for the Katoke Lweru Secondary School in Tanzania.

Ken joined Katoke in September 2017, with the goal to empower local education staff to manage and drive the continued success of the school.

Ken Langford-Smith onsite at Katoke

Ken brings to Katoke over 50 years experience in School Education (Primary and Secondary) including 26 years as a Headmaster/Principal. His experience ranges from prestigious Independent Schools in Australia to a remote Aboriginal School in Alice Springs. Amongst Ken’s achievements are his former roles as Founding Principal of the Cathedral School in Grafton, Founder of Bishop Druitt College in Coffs Harbour and Head of the Armidale School. Ken’s achievements have been recognised by students, staff and communities and more formal accolades including a John Laing Professional Development Award 2010, and an Independent School’s Teaching Excellence Award 2013 for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Education’.

Ken’s most recent role was Head of School at the Yiripinya School in Alice Springs, Australia. In his 12 years at Yiripinya, Ken revitalised the school which was listed for closure at the time of his appointment. He not only brought the school back from the brink of closure but managed to raise over $12million (AUD) in funding for education and community projects. In addition, he was able to extend the average staff service term from 6 months to 6 years and champion the increase of indigenous education in the region. Ken’s dedication to Yiripinya attracted the attention of the (then) Federal Minister for Education and Training who said Yiripinya was now an example of a “model school” in Australia.

Ken was born in Tanzania and lived in the Lake Victoria region with his family until he was 6, when they relocated to Australia due to his Father contracting Malaria. Once recovered, Ken’s Father returned his family to East Africa and lived in Nairobi, Kenya. There Ken completed his primary and secondary schooling before returning to Australia to study at Sydney University. Ken settled in New South Wales with his wife, Margaret. He describes himself as a ‘family man’ and proudly counts four sons and seven grandchildren. Since he was able to walk Ken has been an active and outdoor-oriented lad. He was a champion athlete at school and has stayed fit and healthy in adulthood, twice ascending to the summit of Mount Kenya (5,199m) and an impressive three times to the ‘Roof of Africa’ Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m).

After arriving in Katoke, Ken began curiously investigating the history of the site where the school now resides. It turned out that his own father had played an instrumental role in the early stages of the Anglican dioceses educational projects on the same parcel of land.  His Fathers’ work in the region ultimately led to a position of Bishop in Nakuru, Kenya. This link to Ken’s history gives him a unique inspiration to carry on the service of his family in the area beginning nearly a century ago. He can even remember most of his Swahili although does admit it is “a little rusty” as he settles back into the vibrant local lingo.

We are excited to see what the next year will bring as Ken continues to build on the foundation set by his predecessor, Rowena Bragg, from Sydney Australia.

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